“What inspired me [to create Neverland]? It was so easy, because it was me being myself, creating things that I love. And what I love, kids happen to love, or the child that lives inside the adult happens to love…you know? It is so easy, because I’m just creating behind the gate what I never got to do when I was a kid. […] Somewhat [I have regrets on how my life has been]. […] When I was really little, you know, 11 or 12, I was in the contract with Motown and I would have to go to the recording studio, I had to go… and make these albums… Because the summer tour was right around the corner, and right across the street from the recording studio was a ball park. And I could hear the kids, you know, the roar of the crowd and playing and catching ball and having fun and playing tennis. And some of those times I so passionately wanted to just go over there and just play a little bit, and not go to the recording studio and sing. Just to, you know, have some fun with the kids… And I couldn’t… […] People say, ‘Why is he always with children?’ Well, you know, I was raised in a world with adults. When kids were playing and [were] in bed asleep, I was doing clubs. […] We worked, we worked, we worked, there was no Christmas, there’d be no birthdays… So, I’m compensating, nature made, made sure that I compensate for the loss. So, when you come behind my gates, you’ll see an amusement park, you’ll see animals, you’ll see everything that I’ve never got to do, there’s candy everywhere… It’s fun.”
Michael Jackson in “Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See”, 2002
"Everything that I love is behind those gates. We have elephants, and giraffes, and crocodiles, and every kind of tigers and lions. And - and we have bus loads of kids, who don't get to see those things. They come up sick children, and enjoy it."
"I wanted to have a place that I could create everything that I never had as a child. So, you see rides. You see animals. There's a movie theater."
"I wanted to have a place that I could create everything that I never had as a child. So, you see rides. You see animals. There's a movie theater. I was always on tour, traveling. You know? And I never got a chance to do those things. So, I compensated for the loss..... I can't go into a park. I can't go to Disneyland, as myself. I can't go out and walk down the street. There's crowds, and bumper to bumper cars. And so, I create my world behind my gates. Everything that I love is behind those gates. We have elephants, and giraffes, and crocodiles, and every kind of tigers and lions. And we have bus loads of kids, who don't get to see those things. They come up sick children, and enjoy it. They enjoy it in a pure, loving, fun way. […]" "So my heart go out to those children; I feel their pain."
Michael Jackson, 60 Minutes TV Interview with Ed Bradley, 2003
"I don't (get to have fun outside of my property). I go off property sometimes, but not all the time. I create my own world behind the gates because I can't go to the local movie theatre down the street or the local park down the street or go pick up ice cream at the market down at the corner store. So you want to create that world behind the gates. That's what I like to do. It's not just for me. I can share with my family or friends or whoever I do. […] I created Neverland as a home for myself and my children and it was created simply, it was almost like it was done subconsciously […] For me and sharing with others. It gave me a chance to do what I couldn’t do when I was little. We couldn’t go to movie theaters. (…) We couldn’t do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard. And we did enjoy it. But this allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world I love is there. […] I’ve traveled the world over 8 times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it’s not covered (by the press). That’s not why I do it, for coverage. I do it because it’s from my heart. And there are so many children in the city who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama, never seen them, so if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say ‘Thank you, God.’ I feel I’ve won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people."
Michael Jackson in interview with Geraldo Rivera, 2005
“When you come to my house, you'll see I have rides, I have a movie theatre, I have animals. I love animals - elephants and giraffes and lions and tigers and bears, all kinds of snakes. I get to do all those wonderful things that I didn't get to do when I was little, because we didn't have those things. We didn't have Christmas. We didn't have sleepovers. We didn't have school, we had private school when we were touring. I didn't go to a state school. We tried it for two weeks and it didn't work. It was very difficult.“
Michael Jackson in “Gold” magazine interview, 2002
"(I created it) for myself and the children. Every three weeks we have terminally ill children that come to… [the house, from charitable organizations such as Make A Wish Foundation, Dream Street, Starlight etc]. […], And these are sick children, children with cancer. And I entertain them. And they come here to enjoy themselves. […] It brings out the child that lives in everybody. […] I love rides and things like that and I share it with the children. […] And we'll have like a hundred bald headed children, they all have cancer, and they're all running around. And they are enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that I was able to do this for them, you know. (It) makes me so pleased inside. […] We have children that come who are fed intravenously...they are very sick, bedridden. They can't sit up and these beds, they are hospital beds, you push a button, you go up or you go down and they are able to watch. We have a magic show, we show the current films, there's cartoons, anything so that they can escape to that world of magic that they don't have a chance to experience, the world I was deprived of when I was little. […] The animals are everywhere [here in Neverland].They’re in their habitats. They’re all over the ranch. And they come out in the day time and they play and jump around, they have their own playground and area. I find in animals the same thing I find so wonderful in children. That purity, that honesty, where they don't judge you, they just want to be your friend. I think that is so sweet.”
Michael Jackson in interview with Oprah Winfrey, 1993
“If you’re wondering why I love super-soakers so much, it’s because if you come to Neverland, it’s a rule that you are bound to get wet. Either be thrown in the pool, or you have a water balloon fight or a super-soaker fight. And I love all of the above. […] My favorite thing to play, if you call it a sport, it’s a sport, is a water balloon fight. I love the way they splatter when they hit! I’ve never lost a water balloon fight. I’m the Michael Jordan of water balloon fights. […] Neverland appeals to the child inside every man, woman and child. It’s a place where I feel like you can return to your childhood. You find grown-ups, you know, doing things they hadn’t done since they were like 10 years old. And it’s a – just a fun, wonderful place to be; it’s so much to do [here], I’ve always wanted to have a place where you’re just busy all day and there is just unlimited space to go on quads and mountains and horse-back and all kind of fun things. So, it’s a… it’s just a fun place. I love it. And I will always love it. And I will never ever sell Neverland. Neverland is me… you know? It’s – it represents the totality of who I am. It really does… I love Neverland.”
Michael Jackson in “Private Home Movies” 2003
"It's just a serene and tranquil place to just relax and enjoy yourself and leave your troubled mind and things that iritate you in your heart, behind. Once you enter the gates,, you're just in a very wonderful, quiet, loving place. There's lakes, rolling hills and grass and trees and rides and trains and a movie theatre. It's 3,000 acres.
I get to compensate for the loss in my childhood that I never got to enjoy childlike things, but it's for everybody and we have handicapped, kids with cancer, leukemia kids, Make A Wish Foundation, Dream Street...We've been doing this for, 9, 10, 11 years. I did it before at my Mother's house in Encino. We never wave a flag, we never try to get press for it. I do it quietly. By the busloads they come. We don't allow cameras or video. I do it quietly because real charity is from the heart, you know? Not to say, 'look at me, look what I'm doing.' I do it quietly. I do it from the heart. I've done this for many, many, many years."
Michael Jackson in radio interview with Steve Harvey, 2002
"It´s just a place to make families, to bring them together, to bring people together through love and playful spirit and nature. It makes families closer, Neverland. It´s healing.
Micahel Jackson in MJ Tapes
"There are grown-ups who come to Neverland and they say to me: ´You know, I haven´t done the thing I have done here in years... you can let your guard down and be a child again.´ I say: ´That´s what Neverland is for. To return to your innocence. To have fun.´
"The first time I took my father to the ranch, he was cranky. He's borderline diabetic and all we brought up were sweets, so he was complaining. We were in the arcade and it was blaring loud in there from the jukebox. Now im deaf, so if it was loud for me, it had to be mind numbing for everyone else. So i left and sat w/ my feet in the pool. My dad followed but then said he was going to go and get some water. After a half an hour, he still wasn't back and when i went back to the arcade, there he was, playing a video game with a big cheesy grin on his face. "pow, i got u! POW POW" omg it was hilarious.
Then we went to the train station. It was full of pastries and candy. My father, the 'diabetic', went to the Good Humor chests (they had them all over the ranch) and got two ice cream bars for each hand, stuffed some candy in his pockets and waited for the train. After we ate dinner, we went to watch a movie. Instead of using the popcorn bucket for...popcorn (LOL) he filled it up w/ sweets and went to go sit down.
William B. Van Valin II MD