Nestled between the Sand Lake Chain of Lakes and the Butler Chain of Lakes, on a chunk of unincorporated Orange County land minutes from Universal Studios, is the community of Dr. Phillips. The area, once flush with groves owned by citrus magnate Dr. Philip Phillips, is loved today for its suburban metropolis feel. What started out as acres-upon-acres of citrus groves, thanks to the vision and effort of the Phillips family, became not only Central Florida’s first, but one of it’s finest master-planned communities.
The Dr. Phillips area, while only a small part of what was once a 5000-acre citrus empire, spanning nine Central Florida counties, was acquired by the Phillips family in 1905. It didn’t take long for Phillips to become Orlando’s own citrus baron, at one point growing and selling a hundred million oranges a year while becoming best known for his industry revolutionizing innovations. The Phillips family paved industry paths as not only the first grower to crop dust by plane, but also in orange juice processing and packing by creating and patenting a process called “flash” pasteurization. This Orlando-born process effectively removed the metallic taste out of the juice canning process and allowed the product to become marketed nationally. Granted, jus d’orange has been effectively cast as an ailment panacea since the days early Spaniards sought it as miracle cure for scurvy, however, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Phillips capitalized on this, marketing it on every can produced. Marketing that included not only his personal tag, “Drink Dr. Phillips‘ orange juice because the Doc says it‘s good for you,” but another industry first: The American Medical Association’s Council on Foods seal of approval, a certification secured by Phillips based on research conducted on vitamin C potency in canned citrus products at Massachusetts State College at Amherst.
It wasn’t until the 1950s, after fifty years of steady growth, that the Phillips company opted out of the citrus industry in favor of furthering its philanthropic efforts through investment portfolio management. In 1953, the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation was established. The following year, Dr. Phillips Inc. sold the bulk of its property to Granada Groves, Minute Maid partnership, in what may have been considered the largest citrus business acquisition ever. The land retained from the sale became the site of the Dr. Phillips community and the profits of its investment holdings continue to impact both the Dr. Phillips and Central Florida communities.
Like other Central Florida communities, the Dr. Phillips area experienced explosive growth in the early 60s with the arrival of defense giant, Martin Marietta (currently Lockheed Martin) and again, Walt Disney World in the early 70s. Today’s Dr. Phillips provides a blend of luxurious lakeside estates, upscale gated communities and gorgeous established neighborhoods, boutiques, entertainment, award-winning schools, abundance of parks and bouquet of eateries on ever-popular “Restaurant Row” with each facet uniquely adding to its suburban metropolis essence.
Orlando International Airport: 16 miles
Universal Studios, Florida: 3 miles
Walt Disney World Resort: 6 miles
Downtown Orlando: 10 miles