5 Times Neverland Was Brought to Life

21 May, 2018

Can you believe it? The poignant tale of Peter Pan along with his eternal youth has being inspiring big-screen blockbusters and Broadway musicals for over 100 years! Here, we’re taking a look back at some of the most iconic and memorable moments when Neverland was brought into real life!

The Original Play by J.M. Barrie (1904)

Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, or Peter and Wendy premiered at Duke of York’s Theatre in London on Boxing Day in 1904. Both the play and the novel that followed in 1911 told the story of Peter Pan, an innocent yet mischievous boy who can fly, and has many adventures on the island of Neverland, which is inhabited by mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, and pirates.

The First Film Adaptation (1924)

After years of film studios pursuing his property, Barrie authorised a silent-film adaptation by Paramount Pictures – the first time the play was reenacted on the big screen. It was directed by Herbert Brenon and starred Betty Bronson as the title role, while Tinker Bell was played alternately by actress Virginia Brown Faire and… a light on a fishing line, which (certainly may not seem like it now, but ) was an innovative use of special effects at the time!

The First Musical Incarnation on Broadway (1950)

Peter Pan’s first musical incarnation opened on Broadway on 24 April 1950, featuring one of Leonard Bernstein’s lesser-known scores and starring English actor Boris Karloff as Captain Hook.

The production was initially intended to be a full-blown musical, with Bernstein composing a complete score for it, but was staged with only five songs in order to accommodate the limited vocal ranges of the principals. Bernstein’s complete score would later be released on CD in 2005, which included the songs “Flight to Neverland” and “Neverland”.

The Disney Animated Film (1953)

Feather-in-cap, Disney’s animated adaptation of Peter Pan arrived!

You may think you know the story of Disney’s Peter Pan inside-out, but we bet you didn’t know that Walt Disney actually explored the idea of opening the film in Neverland, with Peter Pan coming to Wendy’s house to kidnap her as a mother for the Lost Boys? Eventually, Disney decided that the concept of “kidnapping” might have been too aggressive (and he was right!) and reverted to the original opening where Peter comes to get his shadow and Wendy appears eager to see Neverland.

Explore Neverland (Present Day)

This way to Neverland! Did you know that we have a Neverland-themed area, where you can be transported into the beloved childhood tale of adventure and see your fairy-tale dreams come true? You can begin your journey to Neverland in Kensington Gardens, before travelling to the island where you can find Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, fairies, and, of course, Captain Hook!

All the rides in this attraction are suitable for children aged between two and eight (when accompanied by an adult) – it’s fun for the whole family! Take a look at our Explore Neverland page for more information on the rides and opening times.