Kissimmee Condominiums

KISSIMMEEKissimmee Condominiums
Demographics: Median age is 33.5; 26.2 percent white, 12.4 percent black, 58.9 percent Hispanic
Median household income: $37,995
Schools:There are 64 K-12 schools in Kissimmee, including 48 public schools and 16 private schools;Kissimmee public schools belong to the Osceola School District there 37 Kissimmee elementary schools, 27 Kissimmee middle schools, 30 Kissimmee high schools and 44
Entertainment: Old Town attraction, Water Mania, Osceola Heritage Park (concerts) and Silver Spurs Arena (rodeo)

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Though it plays second fiddle to the better-known city of Orlando, Kissimmee in neighboring Osceola County actually plays host to the most tourists in Central Florida, thanks to its huge concentration of hotels, attractions, restaurants shopping centers, entertainment venues and its close proximity to major attractions such as Walt Disney World and SeaWorld.

It’s where vacationers flock when they aren’t on Disney property and its hotels and restaurants are advertised to be more affordable than Disney’s for families on a budget. Located southeast of Walt Disney World Resort, the area is home to several minor attractions such as Gatorland, Old Town, Medieval Times and Arabian Nights dinner theater.

Driving today along Kissimmee’s main thoroughfare, the sign-choked, densely packed US Highway 192, it is hard to imagine that ranching and citrus was an important part of the local economy until the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. Tourism and development quickly replaced cattle ranching. However, some ranches still operate nearby, particularly in the southern part of Osceola County.

Today, Kissimmee seems comfortable being Disney’s doorstep and offering services to families and couples visiting the Sunshine State. Not surprisingly, Disney is a major employer for much of its population of nearly 60,000 people.

There is no definitive source about the origin of the city’s name. Most historians agree that it can be traced either to a tribe of Native Americans called the Jororo; or to Spaniards who established missions near the tribe’s main village. The city was incorporated under its current name in 1883.

Kissimmee’s existence can be credited to Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia, who had a 2 million-acre drainage operation there in the mid-19th century. Contracted with the state of Florida to drain southern lands, Disston’s enterprise led to a small steamboat industry and an extension of the South Florida Railroad to Kissimmee. But the boon was short-lived, giving way to ranching and citrus production until Disney came along.

Today, the city is the county seat of Osceola County and site of the Osceola County Courthouse. Other landmarks include the Osceola Center for the Arts, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center and Osceola County Historical Society & Museum. The Houston Astros conduct spring training at the Osceola County Stadium.

The city still remains tied tightly to its ranching past. The semiannual Silver Spurs Rodeo of Champions, one of the largest and most successful rodeos in the country east of the Mississippi River with a history dating back more than 125 years, is held every year in the summer and winter. Competitors and rough stock (bucking bulls and horses) earn points at the Silver Spurs to get them to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association finals held in Las Vegas every December. The event is held at the Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee and attracts hundreds of competitors from the PRCA, who participate in such traditional events as bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding and barrel racing. The arena and Gaylord Palms are also venues for concerts and special events throughout the year.

Kissimmee is a destination for all types of entertainment, from movies and fairs, to nightclubbing and dining out. Many of the restaurants and bars tend to be national chains that cater to the city’s large influx of visitors.