Disney World has announced that they are ending their annual Christian music festival, Night of Joy, after 35 years of holding the event.
The decision is a surprise to many, considering the success the event has had over the years. The festival, which often featured some of the biggest names in the Christian music, was a two-night event which sold out every year, and yet, Disney has continued to marginalize it over the years.
Despite the popularity, the concert was moved from its place at Cinderella’s Castle in the center of the park (shown above) to their Hollywood Studios park, and then to the ESPN Sports Complex, which is not in any of the Disney Parks but is located on Disney property nearby.
Todd Starnes reports.
Why would Disney World stop hosting one of their most popular faith-friendly events?
“Last year was our last event,” a spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel.
The spokesperson went on to say they canceled the Christian show as part of the resort’s philosophy of “continually changing our offerings.”
The event’s Facebook page has already been deleted.
Christian artists will continue to perform at Disney. MercyMe and Tauren Wells will perform at a music event being held at Epcot later this year.
A number of Christian music fans posted the frustration and disappointment at the news on Facebook.
“Seriously, Disney? So wrong on so many levels,” one fan wrote. “For those who love Disney, (this is) sad.”
“This is not the Walt Disney that Walt Disney created,” wrote another critic. “Disney World used to be family oriented (but) not anymore. “Walt is probably rolling over in his grave.
Others wondered by Disney World rolls out the red carpet to certain special interest groups but decided to give the faith-based concert the heave-ho.
Christian music fans looking for an alternative can go over to Disney’s Orlando competitor Universal Studios. That theme park has their own Christian music festival, called Rock the Universe, which is scheduled to be held September 7-8 this year, according to the Orlando Sentinel. TobyMan, Casting Crowns, and Jesus Culture are among the artists who are scheduled to perform.
This video features some of the highlights of Night of Joy in 2016, when it moved to the ESPN Sports Complex.
Disney has provided no comment to the negative feedback over the cancellation of Night of Joy.