73 of 100
BACK NEXT
73: Orlando, Fla.
Population: 204,524
Pro: Theme parks help diversified economy thwart downturns
Cons: If gas prices keep rising, tourists may stay away

Entrepreneurial zeal runs strong in Orlando: A "loan day" event last year bringing borrowers and lenders together spawned 39 business loans totaling $750,000. Greater Orlando is relatively insulated from Florida's real-estate crash. It has a broad mix of financial services and manufacturing companies, along with businesses catering to the 40 million tourists a year who throng to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and other area theme-park attractions.

NASA's nearby Kennedy Space Center is a linchpin of the small-biz ecosystem. Other active players in cultivating startups include the University of Central Florida and the Disney Entrepreneur Center, a public-private collaboration offering counseling and other services. Orlando's thriving tourism business brings residents a wealth of local amenities - though it also represents an Achilles' Heel. If gas prices keep skyrocketing and the economy remains shaky, Orlando's economy is likely to suffer from the tremors. -Peter Galuszka

Interactive map: Orlando
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Orlando


NEXT: 74. Columbus, Ind.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
8 must-have travel apps Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More
Secrets to success from Smalltown USA Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More
Commuting is getting easier. Here's why The MobiPrize, conducted by SMART at the University of Michigan, recognizes innovation in global transportation. From microcars to auto rickshaws, these six startups are some of the standouts. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.