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Scottish Children Fed Meager Servings Of Jelly Beans, Large Helpings Of Disappointment At Willy’s Chocolate Experience

An AI-generated image from the Willy's Chocolate Experience website promising "Encherining Entertainment"
Willy's Chocolate Experience

Think of the worst event you've ever been to. Here's mine: when I first moved to New York City a friend invited me to an outdoor movie screening on a pier on the Hudson River. Our group arrived a little late, which meant that the cement pier was already packed with people, and so the four of us (or maybe it was five?) had to scoot around the very edge of the pier and cram ourselves into a two-person-sized spot right up against the railing. I was placed right behind a lamp post, which bisected my view of the screen. The movie we watched, Tell No One, is a French film. I sat there on the hard cement, my legs scrunched up into my chest, for a little over two hours while constantly bobbing my head from one side of the lamp post to the other, so that I could read the subtitles.

For as uncomfortable as that experience was (I remember liking the movie well enough), it wasn't really anyone's fault but my own. The screening was a free event, too, which meant there was no recourse to be taken. It wouldn't have made any sense for me to, for example, demand a refund or call the police. This means that for as much as my legs, neck, ass, and brain ached when I finally dragged myself off that pier, I still had a better time than the attendees of Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, Scotland had this past weekend. That event was so bad that someone did indeed call the cops.

Seemingly meant to capitalize on the recent release of Wonka, Willy’s Chocolate Experience—now there's a name that screams No copyright infringement to see here!—was put on this past weekend in an event space in Glasgow. It was billed as "a place where chocolate dreams become reality," on the event's official website, and tickets cost £35. The site promised attendees "captivating entertainment" and experiences such as the Imagination Lab, the Enchanted Garden, and the Twilight Tunnel. Let's take a look at some photos from the event. See if you can spot the Enchanted Garden, Imagination Lab, or Twilight Tunnel in any of them.


Two posters of a whimsical candy land propped up against the blank walls of a warehouse space
Alison Hill/Facebook

Oh dear.

No! No!!!

These photos were all taken by angry attendees, who spun up a Facebook group over the weekend to share their awful experiences. The disastrous event has since been covered by news outlets across the world, with each story adding more harrowing detail to Willy’s Chocolate Experience. The New York Times confirmed that the police were called to the event after it was abruptly canceled on Saturday afternoon, but that the cops ultimately determined "they were not needed." STV scored an interview with Paul Connell, a local actor who was hired to portray Willy Wonka. He told the station that "his heart sank" when he arrived at the event and saw how awful it was.

"We were told to hand the kids, like, a couple of jelly beans and a quarter cup of lemonade at the end," Connell said. The actor also said that the script he was given by the event coordinators called for various special effects, and that when he asked them what he was supposed to do without access to those effects, they told him to "do whatever you want."

Connell also posted a video on his TikTok page, in which he shared some of the worst lines from the script, which he described as "AI-generated gibberish." One of those lines was a description of another character who was supposed to be some kind of villain: "There is a man who lives here, his name is not known. So we call him The Unknown. The Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls." Here's how The Unknown played in front of an audience:

Jenny Fogarty, another actor who says she was hired to play an Oompa Loompa at the event, told The Scotsman that she was given the 15-page script the night before and a "sexy" version of an Oompa Loompa costume when she arrived on Saturday morning.

"I noticed that the costumes we were given - all of them were female, and we were given the sexy version as opposed to the traditional ones.

"Some people had T-shirts underneath to give it a bit more modesty. I just had a lacy shirt underneath.

"The wigs were very cheap. We were just handed an Amazon box that probably arrived that morning."

The Scotsman

I don't want to victim-blame here—and I won't! It's hard having kids. You constantly have to find crap to do with them on the weekends—but anyone who closely inspected the Willy’s Chocolate Experience website prior to the event would have been tipped off to its quality. The website features several obviously AI-generated images, and whoever created them made the mistake of asking whatever AI bot they used to include words on the images, which AI famously cannot do. So that's how you end up with a website full of soulless images scrawled over by what appears to be the ravings of a post-nuclear holocaust mutant society.

An AI-generated image of the Twilight Tunnel
Willy's Chocolate Experience

Do you dare face the Dippractions and Dodjections of the Twilight Tunnel?

An AI-generated image of the "Imagnation" Lab
Willy's Chocolate Experience

Enter the Imagnation Lab, where the weak shall be culled by the all-seeing eye!

The company that put on this event is called House of Illuminati, and they have responded to the public outcry by issuing refunds to everyone who bought a ticket to Willy’s Chocolate Experience. "We fully apologize for what has happened," said the company in a statement that was released on its since-deleted Facebook page.

We are still left with many unanswered questions, but none more urgent than this: Where is The Unknown, and when will he be brought to justice?

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