Kissimmee is known for its off-the-beaten-path adventures, endless sunshine and nearness to world-famous amusement parks, a family-oriented destination. Just minutes away from Kissimmee are Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. The parks are sure to create life-long experiences, and with new experiences frequently opening up, there is always something different to see.
In addition to the theme parks, Kissimmee also has a wild side to explore. For outdoor adventures, lush landscapes create the perfect backdrop. There will surely be a thrill for you in Kissimmee, whether it’s zipping through treetops, flying across the headwaters of the Everglades or soaring above it all in a hot air balloon. The natural landscape is transformed into three quaint downtown areas with boutique shopping, local dining and lakeside parks. Premium Outlets, The Florida Mall and The Mall at Millenia provide everything from family favorites to designer shops if brand name shopping is more of your style. Consider staying and playing in Kissimmee when you are visiting Orlando’s theme parks. visitflorida.com – Kissimmee
Local historians have provided many variations on the origin of the name of the city. Most agree that a tribal word is a modern spelling of Kissimmee. Jerald T. Milanich’s book, Florida Indians and the Invasion of Europe, links “Kissimmee” to a village of the Jororo, one of the lesser-known tribes of Florida.
In the late 1600s, the historian John Hann researched Spanish documents on missions set up to convert the Jororo as well as other groups to Christianity. Spanish records show that a mission near the main village of the tribe, also called Jororo, was constructed.
There was another mission called Atissimi. Milanich writes, “Hann suggests that the name Atissimi, sometimes given as Jizimi and Tisimi, may be the source of the modern place name Kissimmee.” The name “Cacema,” which has evolved into Kissimmee’s spelling today, was used in a 1752 Spanish map.
The 1700s brought new individuals to Florida and saw their ancient tribes drift into history. The Africans fleeing the bondage of slavery joined forces with the Creeks of the Southeast. The last villages of the indigenous Floridians were erased by European dominance—first by the Spanish, then by the British, and later by the Americans.
Drifted deep into the Florida interior, seeking sanctuary, the new tribes, who would later include a youthful “Chief” Osceola. A safe haven was provided by the vast pine, cypress and palmetto open ground between the St. John and Kissimmee Rivers. Throughout the 1700s, this mosquito haven remained the Seminoles’ remote homeland.
Originally, the city of Kissimmee was a small trade route on the northern bank of Lake Tohopekaliga, known as the Allendale community. This area was included in the purchase of four million acres of marshland and plains after the Civil War by Hamilton Disston, the owner of Philadelphia’s Disston Saw Company. The land sale price amounted to $1 million at 25 cents an acre!
Reportedly, the infusion of $1 million into the state of Florida rescued the state from a financial disaster. Disston contracted to drain the region and deepen the Kissimmee River in January 1881, so that products could be shipped to the Gulf of Mexico and points beyond. The chain of lakes leading from Kissimmee to the Gulf was navigated by many steamboat captains with cargos of cypress lumber and sugar cane.
In 1920, as a result of the Florida land boom, the populace of Kissimmee increased to more than 2,700 people. The cattle industry started to flourish in the area in the 1930s. As the predominant industry, however, citrus and other crops remained. The development of Kissimmee Airport in the 1940s by the U.S. In order to prepare for the U.S. involvement in World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers caused the population of Kissimmee to increase by 38 per cent to 3,700 residents.
In the 1950s, city leaders wishing to continue the prosperous history of Kissimmee encouraged growth by trying to attract retirees to the area. This effort boosted growth by almost 60 percent. With the development of Walt Disney World and other tourist destinations, the next period of growth came in the 1970s. The City’s population doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 in 1980, since Walt Disney World’s debut in 1971. In the 1980s, the population doubled again, to 30,000. kissimmee.org – History
Kissimmee is ideally located in Central Florida, close to everything visitors come to enjoy on a holiday in Florida: world-famous amusement parks, exciting amusement, dinner destinations, championship caliber golf courses and exciting natural attractions, including zip line adventures on the treetops and alligator spotting on board an airboat. Add to that an impressive range of shopping and dining choices, an easy drive to the beaches of Florida, the Space Coast and other attractions, and the ideal choice for a perfect Whelmed holiday is Kissimmee.
Enjoy the magic of the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, take part in Epcot’s international culture, and set your sights on a range of wildlife at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Ride the Universal Orlando Resort films, featuring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience, as well as many other film-themed rides. Cool stuff down at SeaWorld Orlando, where you can travel and meet a penguin or two in the Antarctic. And the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, LEGOLAND Florida and Busch Gardens are only a short drive away.
Outside the theme parks, there is plenty to enjoy. Families can enjoy a colorful adventure at The Florida Mall’s Crayola Experience, or visit Disney Springs for a few bowling games at the high-energy Splitsville and for a transforming performance at the all-new “Drawn to Life” by Cirque Du Soleil. Additional Kissimmee-based attractions include the Old Town classic car cruise, the pulsating rides of Fun Spot America for thrill seekers, The Wheel at ICON Park or the opportunity to satisfy your senses on the factory adventure tour of Chocolate Kingdom. experiencekissimmee.com – Kissimmee