by Fairy Diva
Just after 1:00 a.m., on September 12, I walked toward the exit of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park. I was surrounded by people headed for the same destination, despite the late (I mean, early) hour. As we walked down Main Street U.S.A., the song God’s Not Dead blasted through the sound system of the park. Around me, hundreds of people, some very young, some teens, some older, walked side by side, smiles on their faces, chanting along with the song. This ended my first experience at Disney’s Night of Joy, a two night concert event featuring some of the most popular Christian contemporary artists. I have to admit, leaving the Magic Kingdom after watching several amazing concerts, surrounded by Disney magic, while having Mickey and Minnie wave goodbye was quite special. Can it get any better than that? I am so very glad that I attended Night of Joy, and I am sure I will return as many times as I can.
Night of Joy, a Christian music festival, is usually held in September of each year, and tickets normally go on sale in April. Tickets are available for individuals or large groups. With our advanced purchase of two-night tickets, we also received free admission to either Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, or DisneyQuest. (DisneyQuest will be closing so it will not be an extra offer on next year’s Night of Joy advance ticket purchase.) Be sure to watch for specials that may be available with ticket purchases, as they may change year to year and usually require you to purchase by a certain advance date.
We enjoyed dining, shopping and the wonderful rides of Magic Kingdom, before attending several amazing concerts. Special wristbands are given to those who are attending, so be sure to look for cast members handing them out upon entering the park. During the concert times, many rides, dining and shopping options remained opened for those attending Night of Joy. We did not do any rides during the concerts, but my understanding is that the lines are relatively short.
One tip I would offer is to look at the lineup ahead of time, and arrive at least 45 minutes before concert time to ensure a spot close to stage. Performance times and locations are released about two to four weeks before Night of Joy. The most difficult thing I experienced during Night of Joy, was deciding which artist or group watch! There were so many talented performers, and some overlapped in times. There were three stages open throughout the Magic Kingdom. On the first night, I was able to see concerts by Francesca Battistelli, MercyMe, Josh Wilson, Rend Collective, Colton Dixon, and Big Daddy Weave. So you get to see several concerts, and that was just one night! There were other performers I really hated to miss out on, but these sure were a blessing.
Though the crowds seemed large, there was plenty of room for all at the three stages offered at this year’s event. The Castle Forecourt Stage obviously has a large space for viewers, and the Galaxy Stage and Rockettower Plaza Stage held many as well. While we waited in line (which rounded the Carousel of Progress) to enter the Galaxy Stage, we were able to hear and partially see the performers on the Rockettower Plaza Stage. Both nights of this year’s events were sold out. Diva Tip- Buy your tickets early! It is not uncommon for Night of Joy tickets to sell out. While crowds did seem large, they were very manageable and we never had an issue getting where we needed to be or seeing the performers we wanted to.
Special Night of Joy merchandise was available for purchase at several of the stores and at merchandise booths spread throughout the park.
Following the 2015 Night of Joy, it was announced that next year’s event will be hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports instead of the Magic Kingdom. The concerts will be held both indoors and outdoors. This will allow a larger number of attendees and will help prevent weather delays that have occurred during Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom. This past year, the Saturday night concerts were delayed for almost an hour due to thunderstorms, causing one of the acts to have a 20 minute set, as opposed to the scheduled 50 minutes. Guests attending Night of Joy will still receive admission to the Magic Kingdom, and dedicated transportation will be provided between the two locations. Though the location change saddens me a bit, I am sure Disney will continue to make the event magical!
If you have never attended Night of Joy, I cannot recommend it enough! My greatest regret is that I have missed so many in the past. I look forward to returning to Night of Joy again. It is truly one of the best experiences I have ever had at Walt Disney World, and I am so thankful that Walt Disney World hosts this inspiring and worshipful event.
*Portions of this article previously ran on Mommy, Memories and Mouse Ears.