Celebrating 35 years of inspirational music and Disney magic, Walt Disney World Resort will host two nights of Christian music at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for Night of Joy, Sept. 8-9, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Two stages (one indoor, one outdoor) will showcase 15 different artists representing a diverse spectrum of musical styles across two evenings. But before the artists hit the stage, just like attendees, they’ll definitely be hitting up the Disney parks. Here are a few rides and attractions where you’re likely to spot some of this year’s Night of Joy artists and their families.

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Walt Disney World attractions lifestyle shoot. April 2013. Photographer: Cynthia Perez

Matt Maher loves donning his 3D glasses for Toy Story Mania, one of Hollywood Studio’s most beloved rides. The attraction takes Disney lovers inside the Toy Story films as they compete against their seat partner, racking up points with the toy shooter in front of them. Maher will play on the first night of concerts and will surely treat fans to a live version of his latest single, “Your Love Defends Me,” which he co-wrote with newcomer Hannah Kerr.

Festival of the Lion KingFESTIVAL OF THE LION KING
Two years ago, Colton Dixon proposed to his wife, Annie, at the Magic Kingdom during Night of Joy. He’ll return to the Night of Joy stage on Friday night. One of his fondest childhood memories involves Festival of the Lion King, the original stage show featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that shares the story and showcases the music of the classic animated film. Look for Dixon to share new music from his latest project, Identity (Capitol CMG), during his set.

New artist Zach Williams will take the Night of Joy stage for the first time this year, but he’s certainly no stranger to Disney. His favorite attraction is less of a thrill ride and more of an experience. He loves eating around the world at Epcot’s World Showcase. This signature attraction enables visitors to explore countries around the globe all in one day. From France to Italy to China and Mexico, and everything in between, the World Showcase celebrates culture and diversity with a wealth of unique shopping, rides and culinary delights specific to each country.

This high-speed thrill ride is one of Hollywood Studio’s signature rides. Fans fly through a neon-lit track as they cruise around tight curves, dips and loops to an Aerosmith soundtrack. Christian music icon Steven Curtis Chapman has fond memories of the ride, recalling it to be the first upside-down roller coaster his kids ever braved. Chapman will perform alongside his friend Amy Grant on the second evening of the event, marking his eleventh Night of Joy appearance.

Pirates of the CaribbeanPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Jordan Feliz will make his Night of Joy debut in 2017. The hitmaker grew up going to Disneyland where Pirates of the Caribbean became his favorite ride. He’s sure to introduce his young daughter, Jolie, to the popular boat ride this fall. Meanwhile, hitmaker Danny Gokey cites Pirates as his favorite Disney attraction as well. The father of three will perform new songs from Rise (BMG) on Friday night.

Who doesn’t love this classic ride? Both Natalie Grant and Matthew West claim It’s a Small World, one of Disney’s oldest and most beloved attractions, as their favorite. It’s one ride all three of Grant’s young daughters are tall enough to ride. The award-winning vocalist will grace the stage Friday night. Meanwhile, Matthew West will serve as this year’s MC. He’s previously co-hosted the K-LOVE Fan Awards for three years running, so introducing artists at Night of Joy over the course of the two-night event should be a breeze for the songwriter, who’s known for his quick wit. Perhaps he’ll even slide in a song or two of his own in between acts…

A full list of artists performing at Night of Joy 2017 is below. Tickets, featuring packages with park options, are still available and can be purchased for one or both nights here.


Friday, Sept. 8 – MercyMe, TobyMac, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Matt Maher, Colton Dixon, Rend Collective, Zach Williams

Saturday, Sept. 9 – Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Jordan Feliz, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Tye Tribbett

*All photos courtesy of Walt Disney World.