Every Thing You Need To Know In Order To Mercilessly Mock The Catastrophic ‘Willy’s Chocolate Experience’

A Willy Wonka-inspired (definitely not officially affiliated!) “immersive” exhibit hosted in a warehouse in Glasgow, Scotland last weekend went horribly wrong, left children in tears, and ended with cops called in to quell a riot of angry parents demanding a refund. By now you must’ve seen some of the photos floating around online, and you’re dying for context.

We feel that. The execution of this exhibit was so thoroughly botched that, naturally, it has fascinated the internet.

I’m not sure what’s more intriguing, the poor set design and abandoned warehouse setting, that lady who played the world’s most depressed Oompa Loompa, the terrifying made-up villain who goes by the name “The Unknown,” or the insane obviously-AI designed website that advertised the event and created the world’s largest chasm between expectations and reality. Forget the f*ckable Dune popcorn bucket, this is the feel-good story of 2024!

So what happened exactly? We’re here to make sense of all the madness.

The Event That Was Promised

So no judgment to the parents who thought this event sounded like a good idea, but right off the bat, the website advertising Willy’s Chocolate Experience is full of red flags. I was originally just going to provide one screenshot, but honestly, they’re all too good (and by “good” I mean bad) not to include, so I invite you to embark on this brief visual journey.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience promises a “chocolate fantasy like never before” and a whimsical world where “chocolate dreams become reality.” According to the website, your journey will begin in “an enchanted garden, with giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious looking sculptures and magical surprises.”


From there you’ll enter the Imagination Lab, complete with “mind-expanding projections, optical marvels, and exhibits that transport you into a realm of creativity.”


And who could forget the Twilight Tunnel? A “dimly lit passage adorned with captivating projectors, enigmatic sounds, and surprising turns… It’s a heart-pounding experience you’ve never experienced before!”


But folks, that’s not all, Willy’s Chocolate Experience also promises to have “charming characters singing original catchy tunes.” There will be “extraordinary props, oversized lollipops, and a paradise of sweet treats.”

Sounds pretty cool right? Only, none of that happened. The actual Willy’s Chocolate Experience failed to deliver anything that it promised. Like I said before, no judgment towards the parents, but if you spend more than a second looking at the photos advertising the event, you’ll see that this thing is an absolute mess.

The promotional pictures have that disturbing ultra-clean surrealism typical of AI imagery (complete with an inability to reproduce human hands), and it’s littered with misspellings, weird distortions, and made-up words. I’m sorry but if you’re a parent and you saw even one of these pictures, and you didn’t see anything wrong here, you’re just not paying attention.



As you can see, this photo features “catgacating – live performances – carthy tuns, exarserdray lollipops, a pasadise of sweet teats.”

It’s so nonsensical that reading it over and over again is enough to drive you insane. I started to think there was something wrong with my brain the more I looked over these images and tried to make sense of the words. But, let’s give the parents the benefit of the doubt here. We get it, parents are tired, they’re just looking for a way to entertain their kids for a few hours.

An immersive experience themed after a beloved literary character — how bad can it be right? Worse than anyone ever imagined.

The Event They Got

We don’t even know where to begin here. Instead of an immersive experience in a fantastical candy-themed wonderland, Willy’s Chocolate Experience delivered a sparsely decorated warehouse, a cast of hired actors who were trying their best to make the best out of a bad situation, and a half a cup of lemonade and two jelly beans per guest.

Ironically, there wasn’t any chocolate to be found.

According to NBC News, the exhibit, which was organized by the House of Illuminati, cost about $44.40 per ticket and was shut down by the afternoon of the first day of its two-day run after local police were called to the scene after several visitors of the exhibit demanded refunds.

Two performers at the event told NBC News they knew something was wrong as soon as they were given the script which was full of gibberish wording. The performers were also given little time to rehearse and were eventually told to just improvise.

One performer, Michael Archibald, told NBC News that when he arrived to rehearse on the Friday night before the event, the warehouse looked even more barebones than the day of the event.

“I thought, this is where dreams go to die… I already could feel the embarrassment… I knew the script was AI-generated as well. I was like, ‘This isn’t normal human writing.’”

Another performer at the event, Paul Connell who was cast as Willy Wonka, posted an extensive multi-part TikTok breaking down the fiasco,


“The first red flag for me was when I was cast as Willy Wonka. Anyone who looks at me and thinks ‘Willy Wonka’ and not ‘Oompa Loompa’ is out of their mind.”

Speaking of Oompa Loompas, we can’t talk about Willy’s Chocolate Experience without talking about Kirsty Paterson, the woman cast to play an Oompa Loompa who is undoubtedly the breakout character of this whole story. If you don’t know anything about this event, you’ve at least seen her photo floating around the internet in the last few days. She looks understandably disheveled and exhausted, and her expression and look have birthed fan art tributes and made her an instant meme.

Speaking to Vulture about the event and the now-viral image of her sitting at a makeshift candy lab, Paterson says,

“This has been quite a lot for me. I find it funny and I can make a humorous joke about it, but the flip side of this is that this is embarrassing for what I do, and I hope this doesn’t tarnish that… people were commenting on it and saying I look ugly or like a meth head. I found the negative comments really hard, but I do see the funny side of it.”

It’s a bummer that Paterson will likely be tied to this event for the foreseeable future, especially because it’s not her fault this event didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. The good news is most of what we see now regarding Paterson’s portrayal is largely positive. She’s kind of become the folk hero of this whole situation.

“I’m laughing about it now, but I was so angry for the kids and the parents. I know people spent a lot of money coming here.”

We commend Paterson for sticking it out and trying to entertain the kids during a truly disastrous event, we can’t even imagine the pressure. Expect to see a whole lot of Paterson’s Oompa Loompa costumes come Halloween 2024.

On the bright side, it looks like the situation is being remedied. Financially, at least. The horrifying images will probably stick with these kids forever. In a statement posted to the House Of Illuminati Facebook page — now deleted — House of Illuminati writes:

Today has been a very stressful and frustrating day for many and for that we are truly sorry. Unfortunately last minute we were let down in many areas of our event and tried our best to continue on and push through and now realize we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead… we fully apologize for what has happened and will be giving full refunds to each and every person that purchased tickets.

The event organizer, Billy Coull, also issued an apology, telling STV News. “I’m really shocked that the event had fallen short of the expectations of people on paper… My vision of the artistic rendition of a well-known book didn’t come to fruition. For that, I am absolutely truly and utterly sorry.”

Meanwhile, Wonka himself is doing interviews, as the public fascination has not died down.

House of Illuminati may not have been able to capture the magic of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but they certainly captured the disturbing imagery of the 1971 movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Enjoy some more photos from the event below.