For 25 years, the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, has hosted the southeast’s premier Christian music event – Night of Joy.

Over those years, more than one million attendees have experienced a weekend of uplifting music and heart-pounding thrill rides – including Mercy Me frontman Bart Milliard.

“Back in the ’90’s, I was a youth minister at a church in Lakeland (Florida),” says Milliard. “I’d bring the youth group out to Night of Joy. For us to be playing in front of the Castle is like a dream come true.”

dcTalk was one of the acts Milliard and his youth group would watch perform. Now, Milliard and MercyMe share the line-up with dcTalk member tobyMac.

But Cinderella’s Castle won’t be the backdrop for this year’s MercyMe performance. Night of Joy is moving to a new home at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

“The Studios”, as it is nicknamed, claims the most concert and show venues in the Florida Disney World empire and is home to the popular thrill rides Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and The Twilight Zone(TM) Tower of Terror. The only major new ride to open this year at Walt Disney World, Toy Story Midway Mania, should also be in operation.

Concerts will take place at three stage locations – Lights, Motors, Action Theater, Premier Theater, and an event stage erected at the Sorcerer’s Hat.

Here’s the line-up:

Sept. 5Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Rebecca St. James, BarlowGirl, Matthew West, Rush of Fools, Brandon Heath and Britt Nicole.

Sept. 6Casting Crowns, tobyMac, Fred Hammond, Marcos Witt, Mandisa, Aaron Shust, RED and Pure NRG.

The 2008 acts represent a continuation of Night of Joy’s historic blend of musical talents — from Christian pop and rock to contemporary Gospel, Urban and hip-hop to Praise and Worship. They include the reigning Gospel Music Association‘s artist of the year (Tomlin), group of the year (Casting Crowns) and new artist of the year (Shust).

One-night tickets purchased in advance are $44.95 ($49.94 at the gate, if available). Advance two-night tickets are available for $75.95. Individual tickets can be purchased by calling 407/W-DISNEY or by visiting www.disneyworld.com/nightofjoy. Youth groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets by visiting www.nightofjoy.com/2008 or by calling 877/648-3569. Recent years have witnessed sell-outs so guests are encouraged to buy tickets early.

Information courtesy of Rock the Cross