At Walt Disney World they've got a rocket trip to Mars and a roller coaster ride through the Cosmos, and trucks and tractors are gathering for the construction of an $800 million 21st Century city.
But black leaders here charge that little of the millions transforming this central Florida area into a tourist mecca has reached West Orlando, largely black and, in recent days, torn by violence.
It was the third Florida city to erupt in racial violence in the last few months -- Miami and Tampa suffered disturbances in May, and Miami erupted again last month -- and the reasons cited by Orlando officials are beginning to sound familiar.
There was "a great deal of futility and frustration being voiced out there," said Orange County Sheriff Mel Colman, who was injured Thursday when a rock pulverized his car window as he toured the troubled area.
Friday night the area was "quieter than average" after three nights of arson, vandalism and looting involving more than a hundred persons, city police said.
City officials are stunned by the violence, unlike any ever seen in recent memory in Orlando, a quiet town until Mickey Mouse settled nearby in the early 1970s.
The violence allegedly stemmed from a prostitutes's theft of a white man's money, but that was merely "the straw that broke the camel's back," said a University of Central Florida sociologist, Dr. John Washington, a black who in the late 1970s researched Orlando's prominent blacks. He compared the incident to the civil rights movement that followed Rosa Park's refusal to change seats on an Alabama bus, when "people reach a decision that they're not going to tolerate what they've been tolerating any longer.
"We have . . . one black city commissioner, a school board that's totally white, no black elected officials to my knowledge, a [white] chief of police and sheriff . . . where is the power from the black community? It's kind of a hopeless situation. People react to that," Washington said.
The black community is divided on the underlying cause of the violence. Many blacks, especially ministers, cite police brutality, low economic mobility, decrepit housing, a lack of unions and the nearly all-white leadership in government and law enforcement agencies.
But two top black officials dismiss the rioters as a minority and condemn news coverage of the riots. "The news coverage of the riots. "The news media is the A-number one enemy," snapped Albert Nelson, a black who runs the city's human relations department.
Another black, Paul Snead, third in command at the local state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, said, "I dare say there isn't 150 or 200 people who have participate in this" violence. The city of 130,000 is about 15 percent black.
But at 1 a.m. Thursday, the worst night of violence, restaurant Owner A. J. Klackley scanned a burned-out grocery store and blamed the violence on police indifference to blacks. "White people think they can come down here and do anything they want. But if a black girl snatches a purse, the cops will beat her to death."
Sheriff Colman said he wouldn't tolerate police brutality and expressed sympathy for blacks' complaints, citing inadequate housing, a lack of jobs, especially for young blacks, and inadequate recreation facilities.
Musing on violence, Colman said: "When people get pushed and feel there's futility, they figure 'Why not?'"
Colman has had trouble integrating his own department. Although 8 or 9 percent of all deputy sheriffs are black. "In supervisory positions, I have no lieutenants of captains or majors. I have, I think, about four corrections sergeants, and about eight or nine corporals" who are black.
But, he said, "In the last four or five years only a couple of blacks have taken the examinations. I think a lot of these guys feel the system's stacked against them and aren't even going to try."
Poverty counterbalanced much of the city's skyrocketing wealth during the "boom" of the 1970s, when Disney World attracted millions and spawned numerous imitators in the area.
In family income, the Orlando metropolitan area -- Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties -- ranked 227th among the nation's 300 metropolitan areas in 1978, according to Sales Marketing and Management magazine.
Orlando's estimated per capita income was $4,713 in 1975, far below the $6,986 in adjacent plush Winter Park, and slightly higher than Miami's $4,501, according to the latest available figures in the 1979 University of Florida's statistical abstract.
Although city officials insist jobs are available, the quality of those jobs poses a problem.
Orlando has many service-type jobs in restaurants, hotels and in such tourist attractions as Disney World, Sea World, Circus World and Stars Hall of Fame. Such jobs are not stepping stones to comfortable living in Winter Park.
"Once you learn to make beds in a hotel, you can't do much more than supervise other bed-makers. Disney trains you to hold balloons," said an economic professor, Dr. Frederick Raffa, at nearby UCF.
About 42 to 44 percent of the city's jobs are service-related, he said. They are "low-skill, low-paying jobs without upward mobility."
Mayor Carl Langford acknowledged that unemployment was highabout 25 percent of blacks aged 16 to 25 are unemployed, he said, "You can't lay it all at the doorstep of the city of Orlando. Some blacks don't want to work."
One of the most visible black leaders is the Rev. W. D. Judge, who says more money should be spent improving the black community "instead of so much emphasis being placed on the redevelopment of downtown and the multimillions we're going to spend for tourists attractions out of international Drive."
The Rev. Hartman Stewart of Mount Olive Christian Methodist Church agrees, saying some Orlando blacks live in homes he "wouldn't put a hog in."
"I went out and drove those streets this evening," Stewart said. "I talked to some people, and the vibrations I get tell me it's not over. I pray it doesn't happen again. But the devil has a force, too -- and he's very busy out there."