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Central Florida

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Encompassing a broad and fertile expanse between the east and west coasts, most of Central Florida was farming and ranching country when vacation-mania first struck the state’s beachside strips. From the 1970s on, this picture of tranquillity was shattered: no section of the state has been affected more dramatically by modern tourism. As a result, the most visited part of Florida can also be one of the ugliest. A clutter of highway interchanges, motels and billboards arch around the sprawling city of Orlando, where a tourist-dollar chase of Gold Rush magnitude was sparked by Walt Disney World, the biggest and cleverest theme-park complex ever created. The rest of central Florida is quiet by comparison, though visitors may wish to take in some of the quietude around Ocala, which is known for its horse ranches.

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