Safety is key for getting people to come out, but don’t forget—fun is still important, now more than ever. In a way, people’s expectations are higher than ever. Staying in one place is the new normal, so that place must have it all—excellent food, drinks, service, lighting for selfies, AND a great experience—beyond just eating and drinking at your table. Cross-collab is all the rage in Orlando, Florida: imagine picking up a ready-made picnic basket from your local bar or restaurant, complete with a meal, cocktail, flowers and dessert. What lessons can be applied to downtowns from the theme park experience? Theme parks have made it fun and effortless to understand and follow the rules. Before you even get in, you hear audio that orients you to the rules, along with themed, eye-catching signage. They also have friendly customer service reminding you of the rules vs. acting like the “mask police.” Theme parks have skillfully made it fun to follow the rules without making you feel constrained by the rules.
Dominique Greco was the Special Projects Manager for Orlando’s Office of the Nighttime Economy a.k.a. the City of Orlando’s Nighttime Economy Manager. She was hired as one of the country’s first ever “nighttime mayors.” As such, she was tasked with not only representing downtown Orlando’s local hospitality and nightlife industry with a fair and progressive voice, but also helping to pioneer the nighttime management trend as it gains momentum and recognition within local governments all over the world.