Reliving the Magic of Neverland Ranch

Neverland

One of the most unforgettable childhood memories I have was visiting Neverland Ranch when I was 13. When Michael Jackson passed away, I reflected back on that magical day and it brought a smile to my face. It’s been many years since I was there, but it stills feels like yesterday.

Neverland

I was invited to the King of Pop’s kingdom to celebrate the birthday of one of his nieces. We traveled from the Jacksons’ Encino home in an unmarked car with tinted windows. Security made sure no one was following us as we drove up the coast to Santa Barbara County. I wish I had my own photos to share, but no cameras were allowed.

The Neverland I remember was far different from what you may have seen on TV in the subsequent days after Michael’s death. It was full of life, color, and warmth. The happiness was palpable. You could feel it from the moment you set foot on the property. The sun was shining over the hills, there was music coming out of trees (literally), and birds were chirping.

Neverland

We pulled into the majestic gates and saw lakes and bronze statues of fairy-tale characters. I kept wondering if Michael was there at the time, but there was no sight of him. What I did see was the closest thing to being in a dream. There was an amusement park, zoo, video arcade, train station, and so much more. Imagine Disneyland, except everything is free and there are no lines.

First, we were taken to the movie theater to watch the short film for “Ghosts” from the King of Pop’s Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix album, which the public had not yet seen at the time. In the lobby of the theater was a concession stand where you could consume as many sodas and king-size candy bars as you wished. The only thing holding you back was self-control.

After the screening, we headed to the zoo to check out the reptile house and farm animals. There was a menagerie of animals, including monkeys, goats, pigs, snakes, frogs, ponies, llamas, lions, and kangaroos. The day we were there, one of the giraffes gave birth.

Neverland

After the zoo, we had a BBQ lunch in a tent nearby the theater. I don’t recall the food being extraordinary, but I wasn’t there to eat. I made up for it by getting my hands on as much cotton candy as I could. There were candy carts all around the property.

Neverland

Next up was the amusement park, the highlight of the day. We rode the bumper cars, ferris wheel, carousel, swing ride, and my favorite, the Eyerly Spider, which had arms like an octopus that spun you up and down. I must have ridden it over ten times!

Photo credit: AP

Photo credit: AP

From there, we were off to the train station where hot chocolate, desserts, and a wall full of TV screens with Nintendo 64, awaited us. The train, named after Michael’s mother Katherine, pulled into the station. We boarded and were taken to the two-story video arcade nearby the residence. I played Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, tested a flight simulator, and bounced on a trampoline until it was time to go home.

I left with one souvenir, a lollipop with the Neverland logo of a child sitting in a moon. The lollipop disintegrated over the years, but the memory will last a lifetime.

Devin Lazerine
Editor-in-Chief of Rap-Up



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14 Comments

  1. @cnicoleprgirl

    Amazing! You have a memory that most people would love to say they’ve had.

    [Reply]

  2. lauren smith

    WOW i would of loved to go their im sure it was an amazing oppurtuneity ( sorry about spelling) everyone would of dreamed of!! well done

    [Reply]

  3. dimplz

    wow, he had grace upon his life……michael jackson is and angel,leader,fairy-tale,role model,achiever, and he will live one through our memories and music.

    [Reply]

  4. Giselle

    Lucky you!

    [Reply]

  5. gillian

    lucky you,i wish i had that opportunity.Micheal rest in peace

    [Reply]

  6. monroe

    CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS HOUSE I MEAN ESTATE IT’S BEAUTIFUL IF I HAD THE MONEY 2 PURCHASE THIS HOUSE I WOULD BUY IT. R.I.P MICHAEL I LOVE YOU.

    [Reply]

  7. Jaylinn

    WOW! all these pictures must mean alot to you,and meeting micheal jackson must of been amazing too,when i found out that he died i was very shocked,,and was a very good role model,,,R.I.P MICHEAL JACKSON. WE ALL WILL LOVE YOU AND NEVER FORGET YOU AND YOUR MUSIC.

    [Reply]

  8. Jaelani

    Devin, that’s amazing. I would have loved a chance to meet Michael and go to Neverland. You got a once-a-lifetime chance that you should hold on to forever. RIP Michael Jackson, love you and miss you.

    [Reply]

  9. DJ Triumph

    sad day. great story rap-up.

    [Reply]

  10. nikehead

    Its a great feeling when u have good memories from your childhood to look back on. I had many flashback memories just from seeing this post even though i have never had the chance to go to neverland ranch. Thanks for posting this!

    [Reply]

  11. Catie

    Wow, i never knew Neverland Ranch was so detailed like that. Thanks for sharing that story!

    [Reply]

  12. sosiccwitswagga

    ☆{{ エ }}☆ LOVE AND MISS YOU MICHAEL U R THE ONLY MAN DAT ☆{{ エ }}☆ THNK IS SUPER SEXY… DAMN ☆{{ エ }}☆ WISH ☆{{ エ }}☆ CLDVE HAD THE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT THE NEVERLAND RANCH… ☆{{ エ }}☆ LOVE U MICHAEL U R KING OF POP/ THE KING OF MUSIC…

    [Reply]

  13. Kentuckypeg2004

    I grew up watching Michael Jackson,and his brothers and followed his career! When I heard about this ranch, I could not believe it,it is so
    wonderful and beautiful! You are a very lucky person to get to visit this place. It was great Michel Jackson,was a child at heart,that is a good quality to have!

    [Reply]

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