The Second ‘Star’ to the Right
An interesting fact about Peter Pan is that the phrase “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” never appears in the original play or novel. In fact, it never appears in anything J.M. Barrie wrote. The phrase was “Second to the right and straight on till morning”. It wasn’t until the Disney adaptation in 1953 (about 50 years after the original premiered) that the famous line was added. Now almost every adaptation uses it and it is often misquoted to Barrie. Even the Finding Neverland musical about Barrie writing Peter Pan uses that phrase (which makes zero sense, but whatevs).
The reason why this distinction is so important, however, is that in the novel Peter is stated to have made the directions up on the spot to impress Wendy. He doesn’t know how to get to Neverland - he just flies around for three days until he gets there. The closest adaption that has come to capturing this was P.J. Hogan’s 2003 Peter Pan. Peter is a child - children hardly ever pay attention to directions. It’s stated that they only found the island because the island was looking for them
But other than that, it also supports the idea that Neverland is not a real place - it’s not a destination one can plot on a map - it’s an ideal, a concept. It exists in the minds of the children who visit it. It’s not something people or animals can just go to, not without Peter, not without a reason to find it. It’s stated in the novel that all the children recognize it immediately when they get there and all of the children see it differently. John saw “a lagoon with flamingos flying over it” while Michael saw “a flamingo with lagoons flying over it”. Neverland is meant to be the inside of a child’s mind, a place of fantasy and freedom. Putting specific directions to it, no matter how fantastical those directions may be, puts it in reality and provides a clarity to both Peter and the island that was never originally intended.