Orlando is every family’s favorite vacation destination. There is Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Orlando Resort. The Orlando area is home to other great places of interest including the Citrus Bowl and Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee. Whether visiting Mickey Mouse and company, strolling around Universal’s City Walk, or baring it all, Orlando has it all. Time and again, the famous question is asked. The question is, “Where can we go to church?”. Without hesitation, Orlando visitors can consider the question answered. Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is where all Orlando area residents and visitors come together. Basilica of The National Shine of Mary, Queen of The Universe, is the church where all Orlando area visitors feel at home.
The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is located at 8300 Vineland Avenue, in Orlando, Florida. Located near the intersection of Route 535 and Interstate 4, it is the most gorgeous church building any Florida vacationer can experience. The church has an impressive history. The story behind it is the most inspiring. It all started in 1975. Walt Disney World was already four years old. Walt Disney World vacationers were arriving by the millions, roughly thirty million each year. To meet the spiritual needs of the growing crowds, the Diocese of Orlando arranged for masses to be held in area hotels. Area hotels included Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and other hotels in the nearby Disney Village (now Disney Springs). It was referred to as a “tourist ministry”. To head this ministry, the Diocese of Orlando named Fr. F. Joseph Harte the pastor of Orlando’s Holy Family Parish. The dream was underway. The first phase of construction began on December 8, 1984, the Feast of The Immaculate Conception. The first phase was completed in 1986.
Today, the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is one of the most beautiful churches in all of Florida. Millions continue to visit Orlando every year. Thousands upon thousands are turning to the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe to attend mass. In May 2007, Mary, Queen of The Universe was officially named a National Shrine. Orlando area residents and visitors were witnesses to history. More so, they were witnesses to history in the making. The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is still continuing to grow, giving credit to local residents and Orlando area visitors for their generous donations. Very soon, a permanent pipe organ will be added to the church’s ever so breathtaking sanctuary.
Without a doubt, Orlando area vacationers ask the question “How do we get there?”. Getting to the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is very easy. The key is not to make such an easy drive so difficult. The church indeed draws quite a crowd and most definitely quite the traffic jam leading up to mass. This can be easily avoided. Walt Disney World guests need to take Epcot Center Drive as they are exiting the Disney property. Having left the Disney property, Epcot Center Drive becomes World Center Drive. Guests are to bare left for International Drive. International Drive will snake its way for approximately ten minutes until turning onto Vineland Avenue. Vineland Avenue will be on the left. The key landmark is the Hilton Grand Vacations at Tuscany Village.
From Interstate 4, church goers should follow the exit for Walt Disney World. Disney Springs and the Disney Casting Center will be on the right. Church goers must head toward Epcot Center Drive and then proceed toward World Center Drive. Once on World Center Drive, they should proceed ten minutes to International Drive. Once on International Drive, it is a five minute drive until Vineland Avenue appears on the left. Five minutes later, church goers will arrive at the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe on the left, avoiding the traffic jam completely. When it comes to God and worship, it is a necessity to avoid all gridlock.
Since opening on January 31st, 1993, the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe has been the center of Orlando’s Catholic community. Not only has it welcomed millions from around the country, but from around the world. It all started in 1975 with a dream. In the shadows of Walt Disney World, the Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe too stands as a model for churches around the world. The Orlando area cannot be more proud of such an accomplished church. It has clearly inspired the lives of millions. The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Queen of The Universe is truthfully and undeniably, Orlando’s saving grace.