People Paid Way Too Much for This ‘Nightmare’ Wonka Experience

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Mar 17, 2024

An unlicensed Willy Wonka experience in the heart of a Scottish city promised to provide children with a memorable day out and “create lasting memories” for everyone in attendance. 

Yet, it quickly turned into a horror show, which left children in tears and parents angered due to the event’s bleak setup and a terrifying and unfamiliar evil character. 

Willy Chocolate Experience in Glasgow

Parents in the Scottish city of Glasgow were delighted when they heard a “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” themed event would be taking place in their city. 

A young child pictured eating a bar of chocolate

Source: Freepik

While advertisements of the event proclaimed “a day filled with laughter, joy, and the irresistible allure of chocolate,” it was anything but for the children in attendance. 

A Celebration of Chocolate

The event was held by an organization known as the “House of Illuminati” based in London. Tickets to the once-in-a-lifetime event cost £35, or around $45. 

A rainbow arch pictured at the Willy Wonka Experience in Glasgow

Source: @erinmhk/X

The organization enticed people from across the United Kingdom by stating that their Willy Wonka experience would be “a celebration of chocolate in all its delightful forms,” with “whimsical performances” and “surprises at every turn.”

Problems Begin to Arise at Willy's Chocolate Experience

As guests arrived at the event on Sunday, they quickly noticed it didn’t appear at all like how the organization advertised it. 

One bleak section of the Willy Wonka Experience in Glasgow

Source: @erinmhk/X

Parents and their children entered a large, sparsely decorated warehouse, which provided little to no excitement for the children. The lack of entertainment at the event even brought some children to tears, per People.

Actors Vent Their Frustration with Event

Several local actors, including Paul Connell, were hired to take part in the event. When he arrived at work, he said his “heart sank” due to the apparent lack of enthusiasm that went into decorating the warehouse for children. 

An actor is pictured putting on makeup before attending the movie set

Source: Freepik

“I just felt sad because I was aware of how many kids were going to be coming through,” he told The Guardian.

Parents Unhappy with Willy Wonka Experience

While parents were told it would take around an hour to explore the warehouse, most said it took around five minutes, leaving many angry.

Two parents pictured introducing their children to one another during an event

Source: Freepik

But the bleak setup didn’t even come close to the worst aspect of the entire event.


Mysterious Villain Scares Children

Billy Coull, the event director, later admitted they had used AI to organize and promote the event parts of the event.

Photograph of the evil chocolatier taken at the Willy Wonka Experience

Source: @Jojorobertson7/TikTok

The AI program even went as far as to create a sinister character known as The Unknown, an evil chocolatier who terrified children walking around the warehouse. 


The Evil Chocolatier

According to the events script, The Unknown was supposed to represent a character “cloaked in mystery and malice.”

The Unknown emerges from behind a mirror at the Willy Wonka Experience

Source: The Independent/YouTube

The script suggests visitors would be met with a “gasp” as they encountered the evil chocolatier as it spoke, “with a voice both smooth and sinister.” However, its presence was the final straw for the already angered parents. 


Willy's Chocolate Experience Canceled

The entire event was canceled less than halfway through due to the outcry from British parents. 

A mother and father are pictured holding the hands of their young child as they leave an event

Source: Freepik

Many labeled the entire experience a farce and demanded a refund.


The Crowds Start to Get Angry

In the wake of the event’s cancellation, the House of Illuminati failed to inform later customers of the news, which led to further drama for the organization. 

An angry man pictured at an event in sunglasses and a grey shirt

Source: Freepik

Speaking with the BBC, per People, Yulia Burns said, “The crowd became angrier” as they began to realize the event was not what they expected. She said they “never had a chance to get inside.”


House of Illuminati Issues Apology

The organization later issued an apology on Facebook that has since been deleted. According to their post, the London-based group was “let down in many areas of our event” at the last minute “and tried our best to continue on and push through” (via People).

A reporter dressed in a white coat is pictured writing in a small white notebook

Source: Freepik

They continued, “We planned a fabulous event, and it just did not take shape as planned,” House of Illuminati said, “and for that, we are truly sorry we are devastated at how this has turned out,” per People.


Organizers Set to Issue Refunds

The House of Illuminati says they have already begun issuing refunds to all parents who were unhappy with the event. Whether or not this is true is yet to be confirmed. 

A man dressed in a yellow sweater is pictured handing over a cheque to a female

Source: Freepik

One customer claims she is “not very hopeful” about a refund, saying she’s heard “absolutely nothing” from the organizers.