Walt Disney World Ends “Night Of Joy” After 35 Years

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Walt Disney World has unceremoniously ended Night Of Joy, the Christian-music concert series, after the event’s impressive run of 35 years.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that it received confirmation from a Disney spokeswoman that there would be no 2018 event, that 2017 was the last year of the music festival.

The spokeswoman went on to say that dropping Night Of Joy was in line with the Walt Disney World Resort’s ambition of “continually changing our offerings.”

2017’s event saw its second night of performances cancelled due to the risks posed by Hurricane Irma. However, one could say that the festival was already on shaky ground before the hazards of inclement weather.

Night Of Joy begin in 1983 at the Magic Kingdom theme park, which played host to the sheer bulk of the event’s three and a half decades. There were a couple of years where the event shifted to Disney’s Hollywood Studios but it was the most recent move to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex that, in hindsight, may have signaled that the evenings of contemporary Christian music were numbered. After all, the sports complex is a much more isolated location than any of the resort’s theme parks.

Another contributing factor could have been Night Of Joy’s competitor, Rock The Universe, held at Universal Studios Orlando. The rival two-night event was routinely held on the exact same dates as Night Of Joy and featured many of the same Christian music artists. Some acts liked to flip-flop between the two Christian music festivals, playing Night Of Joy one year, Rock The Universe the next.

While a dedicated Christian music fest is no longer on Walt Disney World’s roster of “hard ticket events”, it is not the end of Christian music being featured at the parks. MercyMe and Tauren Wells were confirmed earlier this year to be part of the Epcot International Food And Wine Festival’s Eat To The Beat concert series. It’s also probably no accident that both acts are slated to appear during early September, the same time Night Of Joy was usually scheduled.

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