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Robert Niles

Tournament, round one: Night of Joy vs. Rock the Universe

Published: March 18, 2011 at 9:15 AM

You might not know this, but Night of Joy at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom was one of the earliest regularly scheduled "hard-ticket" theme park special events, starting in 1983. I worked the event as a cast member back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and many of us considered the event's name ironic. This wasn't the normal, joyful operation we were used to. It was like working a rock concert, with an intensity in the crowd that many of us weren't use to managing.

Disney's annual night of Christian rock music inspired others around the country, most notably Rock the Universe at Universal Studios Florida. Both events run against each other this year, on Sept. 9-10, 2011. I suspect that many church groups book a two-day trip, and go to one event one night and the other the next. Or, at least, many fans wish that they could. I know I'm always looking for an excuse to spend more days at a theme park. (You can follow the links for this year's tentative artist line-ups.)

And yet, only one of these events can move on to the next round of the 2011 Theme Park Insider Tournament: America's Best Theme Park Event. Which will it be?

As always, trip reports and opinions about these events are welcomed in the comments. We'll be back with second-round match-ups in the tournament on Monday.

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