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1983: First Night of Joy (Magic Kingdom Park)

Editor’s Note: This post is part 13 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Please welcome to The Window Seat Amanda White, Walt Disney World Moms Panel Guest Author.

In 1983, the first Night of Joy contemporary Christian music festival was held at Magic Kingdom Park. Today, here are some insider secrets to make the most of your NOJ journey.

When I was little, my family only went to Walt Disney World Resort once every four years (I know, the tragedy!). So, when our Disney vacation came around, it was highly anticipated and completely magical. The year I was a senior in high school, it was time for our Disney vacation. That year we decided to couple it with Night of Joy.

As Christian music concert junkies, this was a perfect event for us. We loved almost every single artist who was scheduled to perform and could not wait to see them in our favorite location on earth!

The first night of the concerts, we arrived a little late to Magic Kingdom park and as we entered, I didn’t hear the usual soundtrack of Main Street U.S.A., but strains of “Jesus Freak” by dc Talk (am I dating myself yet?). When that song registered with our brains, my brother and I jetted down Main Street wild with excitement! There is nothing like seeing some of your heroes performing in front of Cinderella Castle! I still get giddy thinking about it.

The rest of the night we wandered around the park stumbling onto concerts here and there—they seemed to be tucked away in every corner of the park! And they weren’t make-shift little set-ups either. I remember getting my eyebrows half-burnt off by the pyrotechnics at one of the shows!

If you’d like to combine your next Christian music concert experience with your love of Walt Disney World, here are my Night of Joy tips:

1. Go with a Group
Concerts are always more fun with a group of people to mosh with (or head-bang or dance or whatever you do). Plus, if you have a group of 10 or more, you get perks like discounted tickets and hotel rooms (that’s how we got to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, our first deluxe resort!), a private group leader lounge and a free ticket for every 10 tickets you buy!

2. Expect Teenagers
With the best and most popular artists in Christian music, Night of Joy attracts church youth groups from all around the country. You’ll be in the midst of thousands of young people having more fun than they’ve ever had before!

3. Count Your Money
Night of Joy is a separately ticketed event (tickets start at around $50). The event doesn’t start until 7:30 p.m., but you can get early entry at 4 p.m.! So you don’t need to buy another park ticket because select attractions at Magic Kingdom are at your fingertips with your Night of Joy ticket.

4. Wear Earplugs
OK, maybe not if you’re under 30. Just know you’ll be around LOUD concerts all night. If you don’t want your ears ringing when you lay your head down that night, pack some earplugs.

As with any party at Walt Disney World Resort (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) you will be immersed in Disney magic from start to finish and at Night of Joy, you’ll have the added bonus of some amazing Christian music artists and probably some new friends! And if you see me running down Main Street, don’t stop me, I’m trying to get to the front of the crowd!


1982: Epcot (The Window Seat)

1981: Construction Continues on Walt Disney World Monorail Extension (The Window Seat)

1980: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom Park) (The Window Seat)


From time to time, the Window Seat publishes articles and blog posts written by guest authors to give you a fresh perspective on the world of travel.

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