• Mary Harrison

Disney World discontinues annual ‘Night of Joy’ concert

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., announced that 2017 marked the resort's last “Night of Joy,” an annual Christian concert held in the parks since 1983. According to a spokeswoman, this change is due to Disney’s quest to “continually [change] our offerings.”

Originating in Magic Kingdom, “Night of Joy” was normally held on one weekend in September. The festival's only other venues were Hollywood Studios (previously Disney-MGM Studios) and ESPN Wide World of Sports, where it relocated for its last two occurrences in 2016 and 2017, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Many renowned Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) artists performed at “Night of Joy” over the course of its 34-year, 35-event run, including Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Newsboys, TobyMac, and MercyMe.

In addition to concerts, the family-friendly event featured an expo, FanFest area, and Family Activities Zone, according to themouseforless.com. Attendees bought a “special ticket” for “Night of Joy” that also granted them access to the park hosting the event beginning at 5 p.m. In 2017, a One Night ticket, gaining admission into either Friday or Saturday night, cost $45, and a Two Night ticket, allowing participation in the whole weekend, cost $69.

Although “Night of Joy” has been canceled, those wishing to rock out to Christian tunes at Disney World needn’t worry: according to the Christian Post, MercyMe and Tauren Wells will be performing for Eat to the Beat during Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year. For a weekend-long experience, one can attend Universal Studios' “Rock the Universe,” an annual Christian music fest at Universal Orlando Resort that began in 1998.

Other changes at Disney World, as reported by AllEars.Net, include a new Star Wars land (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) and Toy Story Land, which are opening at Hollywood Studios in 2019, and June of 2018, respectively, and new futuristic roller coasters TRON Lightcycle Power Run and Guardians of the Galaxy, which are scheduled to open in 2021.