Orlando was my home base for about 6 years, including 4 years of college (UCF). O-town has a bad rep but it also has hidden gems that only the lucky discover.
A few neighborhoods/areas come to mind with fond memories: Winter Park, College Park, Thornton Park and Delaney Park. Lotsa parks. And lakes. Lakes, lakes, lakes. Watch out for alligators. No, seriously.
Above is the backyard of Hillstone Restaurant, the dock is actually a dining option for parties. I have family living in neighboring College Park, many Thanksgiving memories there. Thornton Park is home to a favorite pesto pizza from Anthony's Pizza. And lastly, I spent a few fun years living in Delaney Park, just near Lake Davis (below).
If you find yourself in O-town, be sure to stumble around these areas for a surprising side of central Florida. All have very walkable areas and delightful restaurants.
Next stop: Savannah, Georgia