“Night of Joy” is an event, held by Walt Disney World at the Magic Kingdom where Believers come together to see their favorite Artists rock it out in the name of our Lord and Savior. Some it is a time for praise and worship, others it is a time of fellowship with other believers, and some are curious as to what it is all about. Whatever you come for, it is worth coming to enjoy all the different artists plus you can explore the Magic Kingdom as well! Here was my experience this year, enjoy!
I decided that I would spend the day at Magic Kingdom, not only sharing the magic with all of you, but I knew it would be a quiet and uncrowded. I got there roughly after 10:30 in the a.m. and enjoyed walking on pretty much everything. I think the only thing I waited for was Winnie-the-Pooh, where I watched a grown woman rub the honey off the honey wall with her hiney. Yes, her rear end. So keep that in mind the next time you are rubbing your hands all over it.
As 4:00 was rolling in, so was a rough storm. I sought cover in Cosmic Ray’s, it’s funny how I actually had to give it some real thought on WHERE to take shelter that would be sufficient for an hour wait or longer. I know there is the Carousel of Progress, Country Bears, Hall of Presidents, but nothing I want to repeat over and over again for an hour. And due to the lightening that was occurring over the Castle, literally, I was betting that any type of ride outside, such as the River Boat or TTA would be out of the question and out of service. So Rays gave a great view of what was going on outside, with it’s huge windows. There were a few times I was a bit nervous at how loud the thunder was honestly how close it came to Ray’s, but I figured it was the safest bet for the time being.
Now for the “NOJ” party, it runs like a “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” in which you can get admission to the Park as early as 4:00 p.m. Now if you are already in the Park, as I was, you can go to the Rose Garden area, or Tortuga Tavern, and pick up your bracelet and guide map for the night. I didn’t see anyone being asked to leave when it was party time, nor did anyone ever ask to see my bracelet. So here lies the question, if you aren’t riding rides and are there strictly for the Concerts, in such a large crowded venue, how are they checking who paid to be there and who didn’t? Interesting since I have seen at MNSSHP in the past them sweeping the Parks and watching for guests who have the bracelets. Who knows.
With bracelet on and map in my pocket, it was time to figure out how and where to stand for the first show which was Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith. It was after 6:00 pm that I started to look for a spot, and saw that a line was forming on both sides of the hub. With a friend, we got in line on the left side facing the Castle and stood in the pouring rain for what seemed like eternity. Due to the rain, they hadn’t had a chance to set up- so they could have no one in the front area until they were done. Handicapped filled in the immediate front on the sidewalk, then they roped it off and allowed the rest of the area for anyone else.
What happens is that you have your rule followers, and your rule breakers. We had now been standing in line for over an hour and a half, when at about 7:30ish they dropped the rope to let both lines fill in the center space. Many cut in line before we even got to that point, many pushed, and it was an all out “Grab a piece of pavement.” It was ridiculous for ANY event, but especially since this was a Christian event.
Then the real fun began. See, it was raining. Sometimes it was pouring, would lighten up, get heavy again. I get it, nobody wants to be wet. I had a poncho on, many did…and then there were the ones with umbrellas. Now, if you want to use an umbrella in a concert situation, or during a show outside, etc.. have the common courtesy to close it when the show begins. Why? Well I will state the obvious- NO ONE behind you can see. You are blocking someone’s view, if not MANY someones, and it’s just rude. I realize you don’t want to be wet, again NO ONE wants to be, but in this setting, if you want or NEED to use an umbrella, stand in the back.
The line cutters, yes them, decided to rush to be in the front row. Then opened up a patio size umbrella, I’m not even talking a small one. The show began, and everyone behind him were asking “Can you put them umbrella down please?” He was in his teens, so was the group he was with, and yes, understood English. I know this because I was right behind him and tapped him on the shoulder to ask him for myself and others, could you please take it down. His response was “No, we will get wet.” I wish I could say he said it kindly, but he didn’t. So I didn’t push, but MANY behind me were yelling at this point “PLEASE PUT THE UMBRELLA DOWN, WE CAN’T SEE.” To which he ignored, over and over again. At one point he put it down to shake the water off, in which everyone cheered, and then put it right back up in the air in which I thought all heck would break loose. But it didn’t because, again, it’s a Christian event and those who were upset, me included, just made the best of things and tried to enjoy what we could see.
Steven and Michael were AWESOME and sang many of my favorite songs including “Friends” and “Dive.” Steven Curtis Chapman had both of his sons playing behind him, and Michael sounded exactly the same. It was a great combination, and although I felt it was cut short because of the delay, it was well worth it to see them together.
Mercy Me was playing after them, but my feet were so sore at this point- they had been wet for hours at this point and were just feeling raw. I decided to get out of the crowd, headed to Caseys for a hot dog and soda, and sat for awhile to dry and give my feet a break. By the time I filled my stomach and dried my feet, the rain had finally stopped long enough for me to buy a shirt, pin, (Shirts cost $23 and Pins cost $10 but for $30 you could have both cheaper) and then head back to the “Partners” Statue to see and listen to Mercy Me.
Now if you plan on watching from any point past Partners, you can catch them on the big screen and that’s about it. After the stress of trying to be up and close the first time, I decided the roomier area was ok since I had seen them up close and personal last year. They were excellent as always and closed with “I Can Only Imagine.” Skillet performed next, heard they were awesome, and ended the night with fireworks (thanks Tim for the pictures!).
Here is my best advice if you are thinking about going to the “Night of Joy” tonight or in the future. One, if you REALLY want to be up close to any of the stages, be prepared to wait for an hour or more in the spot, and for some of the areas, just to get in. If you are at all claustrophobic, stay a good 20 feet back from the stage and you should be ok. Apparently this event gets rained on A LOT, because of course it’s Hurricane season here in Florida. SO with that in mind, bring a poncho, umbrella, and make sure you have something to keep your camera, phone, etc… from getting wet as well. I found it very difficult to take pictures with it raining, but I got a couple of shots. I had to keep wiping it off on my shirt under my poncho, and with wet hands all night, it got to be quite the feat.
Some of my favorite highlights were that THE Jodi Benson, aka “Little Mermaid”, was there IN PERSON and came out between Artists on the Castle stage to promote awareness of the millions of children around the globe who need our help in sponsoring. She sang “Part of Your World” before “Mercy Me” and I was incredibly geeked out at that moment! Also a HUGE THANK YOU to Z88.3 for all the shout outs, retweets, and for following me. I LOVE what you do, what you stand for, and that you are “ok for the little ears” to hear. God bless you!
It is worth the money? My ticket was $60 something and for how many Artists you get to see, it is well worth the value. Keep in mind you also have quite a large number of attractions still open to enjoy, as well as food locations and a dance party at Cosmic Ray’s. I never made it to any of the other stages, but we will see how they are tonight. It was a great day and I felt very blessed to have been able to enjoy it.