Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe
Although raised Catholic, I don’t practice it anymore. But my Mom and Step-Dad are faithful Cathloics, so when they come to visit I always take them over to the “Mary, Queen of the Universe” church located in the heart of the Theme Parks area. Enjoy this bit of information and tips that can help you out when you visit this beautiful place, enjoy!
I first visited this Basilica in the Fall of 2011. Located off of Highway 4, you can’t miss this Shrine that lives right next to the Premium Outlets across from the Crossroads area which is in the Downtown Disney vacinity. It isn’t difficult to get there, but it can be tricky if you have never been there before. When you are coming off 4, it is Exit 68. When you are coming EAST, just stay in the straight lane on the exit because it will lead you right across 535 onto VINELAND road. Stay in the LEFT lane, it has two lanes, but the right lane WILL MERGE and it is a pain when the traffic is bumper to bumper to try and move over. Once you go maybe half a mile, you will see it on your right. There are TWO entrances to get in from Vineland, one before it and one after you pass it. I will tell you from experience the one AFTER you pass it is ALWAYS busier than the first. You can also park in the shopping center parking garage behind the Basilica, as well as businesses on that same road, but with how insane it is to get OUT of this area after service is what you have to take into consideration.
Staying on the parking topic, this church is so busy that they have Police directing traffic after each service. Why? Well it is a popular place for not only believers, but for those who truly visit it as a tourist spot. Adding to the fact the Outlet Malls are right on the other side of it, you have traffic coming to that area, the Basilica, AND all of the businesses that reside on Vineland. Add to the fact that the majority of the road is one lane, it causes several headaches to try and travel here. My advice? Go to the 7 or 9 am services because the Outlets aren’t open yet and you can park with no problem. And if you plan on heading to it for Christmas or like today, Easter, plan on getting there an hour early. And leaving? Well, that’s way more of a chore! If you want to turn left, which I did, I was helped out by a Police officer, but he made me turn right, then I had to U-TURN it in front of the Outlets, at the first traffic light you come across. Once you u-turn, stay in the LEFT LANE because it merges the two lanes again, then back to two lanes where you want to be in the RIGHT if you are turning onto 535 towards DTD or Interstate 4. Going WEST? Get in the far LEFT lane RIGHT AWAY because there is only one lane to get on 4 EAST, and like today, it was backed up to VINELAND and it was incredibly congested. I know we all have “GPS’s” but it won’t tell you how bad the traffic is, and in this area, look out!
**Side Note- if you want to shop at the Outlets after you have gone to Service, you are ok to leave your car in the lot and walk over and shop. We have done this several times, and made sure it was ok- they said anyone can do this. I have been told there is a back way to get out that takes you around Vineland, but I have not tried it yet.
Service was at 9:30 a.m. today and we left at about 8:15, and after parking were in a pew at 8:45. Yeah, it’s a while to sit and wait for Mass, but it was so packed for the one before us that we sat down right away. Everyone wears everything I have noticed. Easter I feel you should at least attempt to dress up for, but most Sundays everyone comes in shorts, shirts, and sandals. So basically use common sense, it is a holy place you want to respect with what you are wearing. Service lasts an hour, and on non-holidays they have free donuts with coffee/juice in the fellowship hall on the right. They also have a Gift Shop, a Rosary Garden, a small Chapel, and Museum. Why is it called “Mary, Queen of the Universe?” They wanted to name it something that stood out above all of the “Worlds (Disney, Sea, etc..)” that surround it.
I didn’t see any type of Day Care in the building, but there was a room in the ladies restroom with a couch for breastfeeding or just a quiet spot to sit with the little one. If you don’t think your child will make it, please do take them to the lobby area or outside. Nothing is more distracting than a screaming child while Mass is going on (I know, sometimes you can’t calm them down, but please just take them out of the service then).
Although I don’t practice Catholicsm, and honestly have some strong opinions on it now, I am respectful of this place and that is a place of worship for many. It is a beautiful place to come and see and spend some time in prayer. I hope this helps anyone wanting to visit or go to a Mass here. For more information visit http://www.maryqueenoftheuniverse.org/index.html .
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!