I have been living in Orlando my entire life. Both my mother and father are Central Florida natives and attended Winter Park High School and Edgewater High School. When I started my journey here 30 years ago my mother, father and I were living in a little house in College Park on Bryn Mar Street. Since then I have lived in Wekiva, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs and now as an adult, I am back in College Park only a few blocks away from where I began my journey. Life in Orlando has changed tremendously in the last three decades and continues to evolve as a great place to work, live and play.
If you live in Central Florida and have ever visited a place outside of the Sunshine State you know that saying you live in Orlando immediately gets some sort of Disney comment. I always feel the need to correct people and inform them that Disney is in fact in Kissimmee not Orlando and then I encourage them to come see the “real” Orlando. Usually people do not listen to this nonsense and continue to ask me if I go to the Magic Kingdom like everyday.
Us “Orlandoians” (yes that’s a word, I just invented it) actually have a pretty sweet deal. We have a huge amount of tourists pouring over to the I-drive area (which they think is Orlando) all year long providing our economic stability while we get to live in the actual Orlando, a big city with a small-town feel. There’s downtown Orlando itself with the hip Thornton Park area, Lake Eola park, Orange Avenue night-life, not to mention all the little pockets of artistic and alternative culture like Virginia Drive/Leu Gardens area, Lake Ivanhoe district and College Park.
Thanks to developers like Craig Ustler not only do we have Thornton Park and the 801 North area, but we are looking forward to welcoming the Creative Village in the near future; a massive live, work, play city within a city that will house people, businesses, higher education facilities and so much more. If you aren’t familiar with the Creative Village concept I urge you to check out their website; as an “Orlandoian” I am very excited about what these ventures are doing for our city.
You know, it’s funny how my whole adult life I have schemed up ways to move somewhere else, yet here I am living in the same area where my life began. Every time I think about moving away something else in my life comes up and makes me realize how much I love this city. I work two miles from my home and I can walk around Lake Eola Park on my lunch break, it really doesn’t get a whole lot better than that. Most larger cities require you to be in a certain income bracket to live so close to the downtown area, here in the City of Orlando you can truly live, work and play while maintaining that small town feel with the benefits of a large city.
Orlando is also home to a small, yet thriving advertising and marketing industry. There are many successful Orlando advertising agencies located throughout the city, employing some very talented people, as well as numerous nationally recognized schools that keep our market alive with top-rated talent. Schools like Valencia College, University of Central Florida, and Full Sail University feature impressive Florida web design programs, in addition to high-tech computer graphics, music production, and design programs.
I am so grateful to be a part of an Orlando marketing agency that pushes me to think BIGGER so as a team we can form long-lasting relationships with our clients just as I have formed with my city.
What do you love about the City of Orlando?
Written by Ashley Ripley
Marketing and Brand Coordinator at BIGEYE Creative
Photography by Micah Ripley