Four years ago, Neverland lay in ruins after Michael Jackson’s death. The fairground rides were rusting away, all the staff had been dismissed and the grounds were left abandoned and destroyed.
But, thanks to the efforts of Michael’s children, the huge 3,000-acre site is now well on the road to recovery.
According to sources close to the estate in Los Olivos, California, the rest of the family have taken very little interest in Neverland and not one person has visited it since the king of pop died in 2009 – apart from the kids Prince, 16, Paris, 15, and Blanket, 12.
Paris spoke out earlier this month about her heartbreaking visit to Neverland two years ago to find it in ruins.
She is determined to rebuild it to its former glory so that underprivileged children can enjoy it.
The pictures prove that the children have won the battle of wills with the Jackson family, who all appear to have shown a complete disregard for Neverland and the wishes of Michael.
When we visited Neverland last week, we were told by household staff and security that Jacko’s siblings or parents have never bothered to visit the ranch since his death.
But they only had words of praise for the children, with one security guard saying: ‘Neverland has been completely revitalised. There’s a full set of staff and people in charge who care about the place.’
The photographs tell the real story of the ranch’s rejuvenation. The bright yellow flowers spelling Neverland have been restored next to the main house, but this time flowers-shaped in a butterfly have been added to one bed.
There’s also a new section in the gardens of an image of a boy in a moon, similar to Peter Pan – Michael Jackson and his children’s favourite fairytale character.
According to the wishes of the children, the bustling fairground has been replaced with a tranquil ‘Zen Garden’.
The Ferris wheel swings and other fairground rides have been removed, and expert h orticulturists have replaced them with a calm seating area surrounded by lush topiary carved into animal shapes, weeping willow, oak and fir trees, perennial shrubbery and manicured gardens.
Once again, red tail kites, brown eagles and turkey buzzards are nesting in the grounds and grassland, which are irrigated and mowed daily.
The fountains and pool has been filled with water again and the tennis and basketball courts are restored to their previous states.
Our source says: ‘Neverland has never looked better. More staff have been employed – they’ve got full-time gardeners, household staff, proper security and people are now looking after the house like it should have always been when Michael was alive.
‘We’re lucky that the children are level-headed and want it to be a fitting tribute to their dad and also do some good in the world.’ Prince, Paris and Blanket still have a substantial investment in Neverland, which is co-owned by the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company, who paid off nearly $25 million of Michael’s mortgage debt in 2008.
Colony Capital, who own Sycamore Valley Ranch company, refused to comment when asked the revamp of Neverland.