…a magical, beautiful, peaceful land where dreams did once come true for tens of thousands of people…children and grown-ups alike
DIEU ET MON DROIT
“MICHAEL JACKSON BELIEVED IF ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD COULD BE MADE TO BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY, THERE WOULD BE NO MORE WARS. GANDHI SAID, “IF WE ARE TO TEACH REAL PEACE IN THIS WORLD, AND IF WE ARE TO CARRY ON A REAL WAR AGAINST WAR, WE SHALL HAVE TO BEGIN WITH THE CHILDREN.” MICHAEL JACKSON MADE THIS HIS LIFE’S WORK.” An Angel Among Us We Called Him Michael Jackson Elizabeth Michelle Billeaudeaux
“He is honesty personified, painfully honest and vulnerable to the point of pain. He is so giving of himself that at times he leaves very little to protect that beautiful core that is the essence of him. That is the thing that I love so much about him and that makes the world identify with him the way it does.” Elizabeth Taylor
Neverland was a metaphor for living to Michael. He loved and respected the beauty of nature and often wrote about it. He believed in the magic, mystery and wonder of childhood. He appreciated the power and inspiration of play. “He’s not afraid to look into the worst suffering and find the smallest part that’s positive and beautiful.” Frank Dileo. Michael wanted to rescue children, provide healing and give them experiences of wonderment. He also wanted to help adults rediscover their childhood. Michael was a peaceful person. He heard music in everything. He saw art in everything. He adored fantasy. In creating Neverland Valley Ranch and Animal Sanctuary, he invested as much creative vision and energy as he did in every aspect of his art. Gloria Rhoads Berlin gives a wonderful glimpse into the adventure of finding the property with Michael in her book, IN SEARCH OF NEVERLAND. “When I think of Michael, I know he is looking down from heaven, where he is forever dancing and singing on God’s rainbows. His intentions were for Neverland to become a paradise for all the children of the world and his spirit will live there forever.”
“WONDERMENT AND MAGIC ARE THINGS I’VE JUST NEVER GROWN OUT OF.” MJ
When I gave serious thought to Michael’s words about Neverland and to all that I have learned in my journey the last almost four years, I decided to try and put together a list of what the totality of Michael might look like. THE TOTALITY OF MICHAEL JACKSON: love, magic, mystery, imagination, music, children, innocence, art, dance, nature, planet earth, fun, lyrics, peace, beauty, hope, voice, vision, learning, creation, hospitality, family, healing, play, humanity, friends, fans, work, bravery, charity, performance, giving, learning, inspiration, escapism, adventure, laughter, storytelling, faith, generosity, humility, gratitude, responsibility, charity. “My greatest inspiration comes from children, animals, nature and play…and, the Fans. Fun inspires me. Out of bliss comes magic, wonderment and creativity. I love rides and things like that. It brings out the child that lives in everybody.” MJ
“MICHAEL WISELY CREATED HIS OWN WORLD IN WHICH TO PRESERVE THE MOST HONEST PARTS OF HIS IDENTITY.” Steven Spielberg
“The scenery was quite breath-taking…never before had I seen land and property so beautiful. The lakes, the bridges all set amongst the sweetest flower gardens from which classical music rose out into the summer air.” Adrian Grant (first journalist to visit Neverland 1990)
“MICHAEL JACKSON NOT ONLY GAVE HIS MONEY TO HELP SUPPORT SICK CHILDREN, HE GAVE HIS HEART, TIME AND ATTENTION.” OneRose4MJJ
While traveling with Michael Jackson to view properties, Gloria Rhoads Berlin experienced a peek into Michael’s creative genius. His mind was seeing an amusement park complete with all manner of rides. He wanted to have horses for children to ride. A Huntington Style train similar to the one at Disneyland would be available, especially needed by children too ill to walk. Neverland was to be a child’s paradise, a place that they would otherwise not be able to experience in their lives. Michael had a plan long before he acquired the Sycamore Valley Ranch property. It was a time in his life when his social consciousness was kicking up several notches.
In his 1992 ninety-minute interview special, Oprah talked about her visit the month before to shoot a commercial teaser for the event. She said one of the many things that impressed her was seeing the built in rooms inside the walls of Michael’s cinema equipped with beds for sick children. “And what I realized when I saw this is you have to be a person who really cares about children to build it into your architecture.” Michael answered, “Yes, yes. We have children that come who are intravenously, they are very sick, bedridden. They can’t sit up and these are hospital beds. You push a button to go up or down and they are able to watch. We have magic shows and current films. There’s cartoons so they escape to that world of magic that they don’t have a chance to experience. We often have a hundred bald-headed children, they all have cancer and they’re running around and enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that I was able to do this for them.”
Michael created a magical fantasy world for children to escape into for a time and he gave hundreds of millions of dollars to change the reality children knew while raising public awareness. He often said he had been blessed with so much it gave him an opportunity to do what few others can.
Let’s take a peek into this magical world. What would you visit first? NEVERLAND VALLEY RANCH AND ANIMAL SANCTUARY GUIDE: VALLET, WELCOME CENTER, NEVERLAND GATES, ELECTRIC TRAIN STATION, FIVE-ACRE LAKE NEVERLAND, NEVERLAND GARDENS, MAIN TRAIN STATION, RESIDENCE, GAMEROOM, POOL AND RESTROOMS, TEEPEE VILLAGE, FLAMINGO ISLAND TRAIN STATION, DINING AREA, GAMES AND PRIZES, NATURE PRESERVE, NESTLE LOUNGE TENT, RED BULL LOUNGE TENT, BRITTO ART EXHIBIT, LOUNGE CLUB KISS, MICHAEL JACKSON MUSEUM, MOVIE THEATRE, ZIP LINE, BASKETBALL COURT, CARNIVAL ALLEY, CAROUSEL, BUMPER CARS, SEA DRAGON, SWINGS, FERRISWHEEL, ZIPPER, NEVERLAND AMPHITHEATRE, PETTING ZOO, SERPENTARIUM, CROCODILE, NEVERLAND AVIARY, ZOO TRAIN STATION, ELEPHANTS, GIRAFFES, ORANGUTANGS, TIGERS, BEAR, DEER, GIRAFFES, ZEBRAS, LLAMAS, LIONS, CHIMPS, MESSAGE THERAPY CENTER, GOURMET COFFEE AND ICE CREAMS, CONCESSIONS, ARCADE, CHARITY BOOTH, BEAUTIFUL STATUARY OF CHILDREN AND DISNEY CHARACTERS,WATER BALLOON FIGHT AREA, DEBUSSY, TCHAIKOVSKY MUSIC PLAYING. Meals were provided by several chefs. Michael employed 100 people to help run the ranch from administrative help to housekeepers, chefs, a nutritionist, security,and 200 people to care for the animals. “It’s not so wild to think about having animals for healing or creating a sanctuary for animals, and a beautiful place for children who are unhealthy or otherwise would never have the privilege of being in such a place.” MJ The only currency accepted at Neverland was a smile. “What’s fascinating to me about you is that obviously you have this childlike aura about you and I see children with you and they play with you like you are one of them. BUT A CHILD DID NOT DO THIS! A CHILD DID NOT PUT THIS TOGETHER…THIS IS MAGNIFICENT. These are no Grandma rides!” Oprah. Michael offered this paradise to his fans as well. Many accounts of fan experiences are detailed in It’s All About L.O.V.E. Time and time again, the Neverland gates would open to fans who had gathered to catch a glimpse of Michael or leave gifts and posters and signs. They would be treated to a magicial afternoon or evening. I loved reading the detailed accounts. Michael truly loved his fans. “I couldn’t be me without you. You provide strength for my soul.” MJ. Michael consistently made himself accessible to his fans. His instructions to all security staff were always TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY FANS.
From a real estate point of view: SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, THREE MILE DRIVE TO THE MAIN HOUSE, 50,000 OAK TREES AND A PROFUSION OF SYCAMORE TREES, ADJOINING LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST, 32- ACRE HOME SITE AND MAIN HOUSE, CASTLE-LIKE HOME BUILT BY FORMER OWNER, ENGLISH TUDOR 2- STORY HOME 14,000 SQUARE FEET, MAIN HOUSE NO Two CEILINGS ALIKE, NO TWO FLOORS ALIKE, GARDENS, BUILT BY BUILDER OF THE DECADE 1988, 2700 ACRES, 61/2 ACRE MAN-MADE LAKE IN FRONT OF HOME, FACISIMILE OF LONDON BRIDGE, 30 ROOMS, 7 BEDROOMS WITH BATHS, 5 RESIDENTS…STAFF QUARTERS, ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDINGS, 10 GARAGES ALL FINISHED TO ENABLE ENTERTAINMENT, 180 FOOT SWIMMING POOL, 110′ WATERSLIDE, TENNIS COURTS, PRIVATE GOLF COURSE, 10,000 SQUARE FOOT RECREATON HOUSE, SPECIAL RUNWAY FOR SMALL PLANES AND HELICOPTERS, GURGLING CREEKS, ROCKS, MASTER BEDROOM SUITE WITH MANTLEPIECE FROM ROME, GARDENS PLANTED FOR ALL FOUR SEASONS, WATERFALLS, RUNNING SPRINGS, PROPERTY SET IN ROLLING HILLS AND FARMLAND AREA…architect and former owner Bill Bone. That is a description of the property when Michael purchased it. Property acquired by Michael Jackson February 28, 1988, amount paid $17,000,000. The description of the property was provided by Gloria Rhoads Berlin in her book In Search of Neverland 2010 In 2013 the Michael Jackson Estate owns 87.5%of Neverland and 100% of all property use. Neverland’s future is in the hands of the Jackson children.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQzvgWkJ978
RYAN WHITE TOLD HIS MOTHER THAT HE THOUGHT NEVERLAND WAS A PLACE HALFWAY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. “HE DIDN’T CARE WHAT RACE YOU WERE, WHAT COLOR YOU WERE, WHAT WAS YOUR HANDICAP, WHAT WAS YOUR DISEASE, MICHAEL JUST LOVED ALL CHLDREN.” Ryan White’s mother, Jeanne. Ryan and his mother spent many holidays at Neverland Ranch before he died.
“Michael is the only celebrity client that really knew exactly what he wanted: where, when, how. When Michael Jackson wanted something he really went after it as he was disciplined early in life to stay focussed on his goals. The search for Neverland was like going on the world’s largest treasure hunt.” Gloria Rhoads Berlin IN SEARCH OF NEVERLAND 2010
Michael’s coat of arms which hung over the golden entrance gate said, DIEU ET MON DROIT…GOD AND MY WILL. This is taken from the UK Coat of Arms and is a monarch motto for New Zealand Order of the Garter and the Princess of Wales Coat of Arms. It hangs in Britain’s courtrooms and on Royal Britannia.
At yearly “speech-level singing schools” given at Neverland, Michael’s voice coach, Seth Riggs, was often asked by parents where he had taken them. He answered, ” This is Neverland. Peter Pan lives here.”
“I WILL ALWAYS BE PETER PAN IN MY HEART.” MJ
“…we remembered one of the signs on the way out of Neverland. On this sign were three little children angels looking down from a cloud and under them the words ‘Good-bye for now!’ ” IT’S ALL ABOUT L.O.V.E.
I think of the hope in that for all the little children who came to Neverland, all the terminally-ill children who may have been experiencing the last magical moments of their young lives, for all the guests who hoped for another chance to visit this paradise. Michael often sent guests on their way with these words, “COME BACK SOON!”
A huge tree stood on the property at Neverland. Michael called it his GIVING TREE. He said he loved trees and the changing of leaves. Michael composed HEAL THE WORLD, BLACK OR WHITE AND WILL YOU BE THERE while sitting atop his GIVING TREE. An image of this tree is used as the centerpiece for Michael Jackson’s Cirque du Solieu Global Immortal Tour