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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Dreamy Willy Wonka Glasgow fan experience turns into nightmare for guests

Turns out "Willy's Chocolate Experience" had no connection to Willy Wonka or any other Roald Dahl property

By Web Desk
February 28, 2024
A still from the movie Wonka shows actor Timothee Chalamet dressed as chocolatier Willy Wonka. — TBR News Media via Warner Bros.
A still from the movie "Wonka" shows actor Timothee Chalamet dressed as chocolatier Willy Wonka. — TBR News Media via Warner Bros.

Pure imagination turned into a total nightmare when disappointed guests at a Glasgow fan experience discovered that "Willy's Chocolate Experience" had no connection to Willy Wonka or any other Roald Dahl property, Entertainment Weekly reported.

The website for the event, featuring eye-catching visuals presumably generated by artificial intelligence (AI), promised visitors a journey beginning in an "enchanted garden, with giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious looking sculptures, and magical surprises that add an extra layer of wonder to your Chocolatey Experience!"

At first glance, the event sounds fun.

However, if visitors had looked closely, they would have noticed a tiny text at the bottom of the website that read: "This experience is in no way related to the Wonka franchise, which is owned by the Warner Bros. company."

What happened in reality?

The event, held in a warehouse in Whiteinch, lacked any unique attractions like chocolate waterfalls or fizzy lifting drinks.

Instead, it featured cheap decorations, an inflatable bouncy castle, AI-generated backdrops for photo ops, and one Ompa Loompa.

A hired actress dressed as an Oompa Loompa. — Facebook
A hired actress dressed as an Oompa Loompa. — Facebook

Visitors paid £35 for the event's ticket — organised by a business called House of Illuminati — but it garnered such a negative response that organisers cancelled midway, according to The Guardian.

Things escalated to such an extent that Scottish police were called to the scene.

The organisation behind the event has only existed since November 2023, according to United Kingdom records.

What do people have to say?

In a Facebook group set up for targets of "the house of illuminati scam", Paul Connell, who says he worked at the event, said that the employees "were also conned by the event" and its organiser.

Attendee Mark Sinclair, who drove two hours to take his kids to the event, told The New York Times: "There was maybe 20 chairs, a couple of tables and a half-inflated bouncy castle. The children got two jelly beans each…and then they got a half a cup of lemonade."

House of Illuminati offered an apology on its Facebook page that has since been deleted. "We fully apologize for what has happened and will be giving full refunds to each and every person that purchased tickets," the statement read.