tiramisucake2221 karma2012-04-23 14:16:59 UTC
I'm surprised no other alumni of a school in Los Olivos wrote in (or maybe no one else from there is on Reddit). I went to a small, ~80 person boarding school (high school) almost directly across the street from Neverland. Once a year, the whole school (including faculty, to my knowledge) was invited for a day at Neverland. So after breakfast, we'd all troupe out the driveway of the school, down the road a couple hundred yards, and walk the loooooonnnng driveway into Neverland. When we were there, MJ wasn't on the ranch (this is in 2000, so I don't know what was going on in his life at that time). His PR spokeswoman met us, welcomed us, and told us what was planned for the day. We piled on to the tram, which took us over to the movie theater/amusement park area. They served as a big, catered BBQ lunch (the regular offerings, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, coleslaw, potato salad, etc.). Afterwards, I watched the movie Blue Streak (with Martin Lawrence) in the movie theater. That movie theater was sick. Instead of cramming yourself into uncomfortable lumpy chairs with shared arm rests, everyone got this plush velvety red Barcalounger-type chair. Complete with cupholders. In the lobby of the movie theater, they had a concession stand, just like in a regular theater. Instead, you just went up, asked for what you wanted ("I'd like a small popcorn, a Coke, and a package of Skittles"), and it was handed to you. It sort of boggled my 14-year old mind that it was just handed to me. For free. Anyway, post-movie, we went to the amusement park (some of the kids went to the zoo, but I chose the rides). We horsed around on the rides, especially the bumper cars, for a couple hours. I loved that big swing device (it's round, turns, and has lots of those little seats on long ropes that swings you outwards). Then we walked back across the grounds, on the lawn, past the main house, and then back to school.
One thing to note about the grounds, and more generally to the whole experience. It was like a kid designed them in some way. Seriously, ask any 5 year old to tell you what they want at their dream house, and it would go something like: "I want a zoo! And I want a movie theater with free candy! And a train that goes choo-choo. And my own amusement park". It was JUST LIKE THAT. Besides that, though, the one thing that stuck out in my mind about the grounds were the statues. You'd think that someone with a boatload of money would buy, if they wanted statues, a variety. Nope. Not MJ. The lawn statuary was all bronze figures of children at play. This one about kids skipping a rock across a pond, this over here was kids skipping along a long, another of two kids fishing in a pond, this one of kids playing hopscotch. It was like whoever designed this only wanted to see children's happiness and playtime. It was rather odd.
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