MercyMe at Night of Joy

MercyMe, one of 17 artists performing at Night of Joy 2014

If you haven’t ever been to Disney’s Night of Joy at Walt Disney World, you are truly missing out. It’s a Christian music fan’s paradise! For the rookies attending this year’s two-night event at the Magic Kingdom, Sept. 5-6, 2014, here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you pack for your trip! (Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thesoundopinion, because we’ll be tweeting live from this year’s event!)

1. You need a separate ticket.

Night of Joy is actually an event unto itself. The Magic Kingdom closes early on Friday and Saturday to exclusively host Night of Joy. A separate ticket is required. A one-night ticket is priced at $59 + tax, while a two-night ticket costs $108 + tax. The price tag may seem steep, but it’s worth every penny considering you have the opportunity to see 17 different artists across two evenings and have access to Disney rides and attractions. Although the concerts don’t start until 7:30 p.m. each evening, Night of Joy ticket holders gain early access to the park starting at 4 p.m.–allowing plenty of time to grab dinner, take in a few rides and get a good spot close to the Castle Stage for the opening act.

2. Youth leaders get special perks.

Night of Joy should be a trip every youth minister considers (even if you don’t live in Florida). Disney makes sure the youth leaders attending Night of Joy have unique opportunities to learn, meet new people and engage with their students. Youth leaders have special access to the Youth Leader’s Lounge located in Frontierland. Leaders can come in from the elements, cool off, grab a snack, meet other youth workers from around the country and attend exclusive meet and greet sessions with some of this year’s Night of Joy artists. In addition, youth leaders will also receive a special wristband that allows them to enjoy Magic Kingdom rides and attractions with little to no wait. Moreover, groups of 10 or more are eligible for fabulous discounts.

3. Grab a map, and make a plan upon arrival.

First things first, when you arrive at Disney’s Magic Kingdom both nights, be sure and pick up a guide for the evening’s events. Guides are located throughout the park, but they are quickly accessible on both sides of the tunnel that you walk through after initially entering the Magic Kingdom. Guides contain a map of the entire park; point out all of the restaurants, rides and attractions open during Night of Joy and include a full concert schedule. While you’re eating dinner, be sure and make a plan with your friends about which artists you want to see. Prioritize and leave some time between concerts to move from stage to stage. The stages are spread out across the park, and the large crowds often make traveling from place to place arduous. Time slots also overlap, so be sure you don’t miss your favorite artists by scouting out a plan ahead of time. Also, note that there is no seating. Every stage is standing room only. (Bonus Tip: As a general rule, sets average between 50-60 minutes on the Castle stage, 45 minutes on the Galaxy Stage and 30 minutes on the Rockettower Stage.Click here for an early look at the concert schedule for both nights.

4. Get to the Galaxy Stage early.

The Galaxy Stage is located in the back of Tomorrowland, and there’s a limit to how many people they will let in. This is always the first stage to fill up because there’s a maximum occupancy. So, if your favorite artist is playing the Galaxy Stage, you need to get there early to ensure you gain entrance to this stage. A line forms before they even open this area, and for those who can’t get in, they generally play the Galaxy Stage concert on the nearby Rockettower Plaza Stage screen in between acts for the overflow. Here’s a quick glance at who’s playing the Galaxy Stage so you can plan to arrive early for your favorites:

FRIDAY NIGHT

  • 7:30 p.m. – Building 429
  • 8:50 p.m. – Building 429
  • 10:25 p.m. – Mandisa
  • 12:10 a.m. – for KING & COUNTRY

SATURDAY NIGHT

  • 7:30 p.m. – Colton Dixon
  • 8:50 p.m. – Colton Dixon
  • 10:25 p.m. – Britt Nicole
  • 12:10 a.m. – Israel Houghton and New Breed

5. Magic Kingdom rides and attractions are still open during Night of Joy.

Many of the Magic Kingdom rides, attractions and restaurants remain open until Night of Joy ends each day at 1:30 a.m. Favorites like Space Mountain and “It’s A Small World” stay open late, while most of the fast food options and snack kiosks are also available into the wee hours of the morning. However, due to the large crowds that the event attracts, lines are extremely long. Come early so that you can get in some rides before the concerts start and be strategic about your time. Also, note that not all attractions and restaurants are open during Night of Joy, so be sure to consult the evening’s guide upon arrival for a full list of late night eating and attraction options.

6. Pack a poncho.

Inevitably, there’s always some rain that seems to park itself over the Magic Kingdom at some point during Night of Joy. Sometimes, it’s simply a quick shower or a non-threatening drizzle here and there; sometimes it rains in sheets. All of the stages are completely outdoors and uncovered. If it rains, especially if there’s lightning, concerts can be delayed and artists might be asked to shorten their set list by a song or two. In extremely severe weather, there’s a possibility that select concerts will be canceled. However, this is rare. The show must go on…So pack a poncho! It’s Florida… You’re guaranteed to get wet.

7. There are 17 artists on three stages.

One of the best benefits to attending Night of Joy is the amount of artists you get to see over the course of two nights. This year, Building 429 will officially kick off the event at the Galaxy Stage at 7:30 p.m. with the first of their two sets. Moreover, it was announced at last year’s event that Hillsong UNITED would be one of the 2014 headliners. Their highly-anticipated performance will begin at 11:30 p.m. Friday evening at the Castle Stage, the main stage that sits directly in front of Cinderella’s castle. This nostalgic stage will also host full sets from Matthew West, Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Casting Crowns and Skillet over the course of the two nights. The Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland will be the place to find mostly newer acts like 1 Girl Nation and We As Human, in addition to sets from the Rhett Walker Band and Matt Maher. Meanwhile, the always crowded Galaxy Stage nearby will boast names like Britt Nicole, Colton Dixon and Mandisa. Arrive early. Make a strategic plan, and get ready to sing at the top of your lungs!

To purchase tickets and for additional info, visit www.nightofjoy.com.

Are you attending Night of Joy this year? Which artists are you most excited to see perform?