For 34 years, Walt Disney World has hosted a “Night of Joy” event that featured Christian music artists; the park has now canceled it.
A spokeswoman for the park reportedly confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that “last year was our last event,” adding that the decision was made in the interest of “continually changing our offerings.” The Facebook page for the “Night of Joy” has also been deleted.
“The resort has hosted the Christian concerts in September since 1983, mostly in Magic Kingdom but with two years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex for its final two years,” reports LifeSiteNews.
Famed Christian musical artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Kirk Franklin, Michael W. Smith, and Debby Boone have performed at the “Night of Joy” over the years.
The signs for its decline began to show last year when Hurricane Irma forced it to cancel after just one night. Despite the cancelation, Disney World’s Epcot Center will still host the annual “Eat to the Beat” concert featuring Christian artists MercyMe and Tauren Wells.
The park’s West Coast twin, Disneyland, has surprisingly continued a Christian tradition since the 1950s. Whatever the reason for its mainstay, once a year Disneyland actually holds the “Candlelight Ceremony,” where choirs sing classic Christmas carols and someone reads the Nativity story from Luke’s gospel.
This past year’s “Candlelight Ceremony” featured “Thor” actor Chris Hemsworth reading the gospel. Past narrators include Darth Vader’s voice James Earl Jones, Dick Van Dyke and Ginnifer Goodwin, whose vocal talents could be heard in “Zootopia.”