Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow Turned Sour

AI visual of candy-covered landscape for Willy's Chocolate Experience in Glasgow; created by the House of Illuminati.

Glasgow, Scotland – home to bagpipes, haggis, and now, a spectacle that left attendees more sour than a bowl of expired lemon drops. In what was promised as a Willy Wonka wonderland, families were tantalized by the prospect of stepping into a world of pure imagination. Hosted by the enigmatic House of Illuminati, the event billed as the Willy’s Chocolate Experience, hyped with fantastical imagery generated by artificial intelligence, painted a picture of candy-coated dreams and whimsical adventures. All for the bargain price of “just” £35!

For a free adventure to Wonkaland, check out our AI-generated world of chocolate

From fantasy to fiasco

Imagine the excitement of families as they eagerly made their way to the Box Hub Warehouse, lured by promises of enchanted gardens, vibrant blooms, twilight tunnels, and, of course, an abundance of chocolate delights. The choco-wonderland akin to a psychedelic daydream was fueling imagination with “mind-expanding projections” and “wondrous creations”.

Actress Kirsty Paterson performing as Oompa Loompa character at Willy's Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, a fiasco event where some commenters compared her candy station to a meth lab; source: Facebook.
The viral photograph of the actress Kirsty Paterson portraying Oompa Loompa – some compared her candy station to a meth lab

However, what attendees found upon arrival was more reminiscent of a hastily thrown-together school play or even a budget horror film set than a magical chocolate factory. Instead of the surreal landscapes depicted in the AI-generated visuals, they were greeted by a sparsely decorated warehouse that would make even the thriftiest of garage sales blush. A handful of plastic props scattered like forgotten candy wrappers, and a lone deflated bouncy castle slumped in the corner – a sad sight indeed.

Adding to the disappointment, the promised enchanting experiences and abundant treats turned out to be as elusive as the golden ticket itself. Children, expecting rivers of chocolate and mountains of sweets, were left with nothing more than a single jellybean each and a lemonade cup so tiny it could barely quench a fruit fly’s thirst.

Photograph of a poor display at Willy's Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, where children didn't get the magical Wonka's wonderland they were expecting; photo by Jack Proctor.
The Willy’s Chocolate Experience with ™ symbol (lol) smartly never mentioned copyright-protected word ‘Wonka’. So families could have gotten even an encounter of chocolate and a killer whale. As Jack Proctor’s photograph exposes, the spectacularly poor display was not far from looking for marine mammals

As Jack Proctor, one of the parents put it for STV News, “We stepped inside to find a disorganized mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lackluster candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears.”


Truly, the only thing that seemed missing was a sign reading: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

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The wonky Willy Wonka

Performers seemed to be more lost than Hansel and Gretel in the woods. Paul Connell, tasked with embodying the eccentric Willy Wonka himself, was disillusioned as soon as he arrived on the scene. He was thrust into the role with little more than an AI-generated gibberish script and an instruction “do whatever you want”.

He revealed to the Independent a part of his synopsis, obviously created by AI: “I had to say, ‘There is a man we don’t know his name. We know him as the Unknown. This Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.’ (…) At the end of my monologue, I was supposed to suck up the Unknown Man with a vacuum cleaner. I asked them if they had a vacuum cleaner and they said, ‘Yeah, we haven’t really got there yet, so just improvise’.”


Of course, when the event unfolded, Connell and his fellow Oompa Loompas faced a swarm of disappointed families and enraged parents. Tensions mounted like an overheating chocolate fountain, and even police were summoned to the chaotic scene. Willy’s Chocolate Experience was unceremoniously shut down faster than a kid unwrapping a chocolate bar if only there were any to be found.

These days, one should be truly careful when approaching content available online as fraudsters are capable of exploiting all our weak spots. Learn how lost luggage scams operate on Facebook!
One of the AI visuals for Willy's Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, a fiasco event that didn't deliver, with AI gibberish wording thrown around a colorful candy visual ("encherining entertainment", "cartchy tuns", "exarserdray lollipops", "pasadise of sweet teats"); created by the House of Illuminati.
One of the actual visuals promoting the Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow – all of them were in the format 1024×1024 px, default dimensions of the free version of AI image generation tools such as Dall-e

Willy’s Chocolate Experience, in your AI dreams

The website promoting this appalling event didn’t even try to photoshop the AI’s struggles with letters. Visuals were promising “encherining entertainment” with “vivue sounds”, “ukxepcted twits”, “cartchy tuns”, “exarserday lollipops”, and even, wait for it… A “pasadise of sweet teats”!

Hundreds of adults who brought their children to the experience definitely chose not to pay attention to the fine print of the event charging $44 per ticket. It was a truly golden ticket to disappointment.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience was promising “a chocolate fantasy like never before”, and they surely delivered!

As for the actors in this wonderland reminiscent of Fyre Festival, the fraudulent music festival in the Bahamas, their contracts were labeled as “coontracts”. Some revealed that they signed them with an erasable ink!

The director of the House of Illuminati Billy Coull, channeling his inner Billy McFarland, blamed “technological issues” for the event’s failure: “We had ordered a holographic paper that didn’t arrive on time. The holographic technology in itself is absolutely fabulous technology and unfortunately there was a delay in postage.”

House of Illuminati issued a statement of apology for the debacle, but some suspect this was also written by ChatGPT. They promised full refunds to disgruntled ticket holders, though the website states that “tickets are not refundable”. Attendees should not expect to be compensated for the emotional trauma.

In the end, what was meant to be a sweet escape into the world of Willy Wonka turned out to be a bitter reminder that sometimes reality can be crueler than fiction. The organizers announced “a chocolate fantasy like never before”, and they surely delivered!

In a world where AI-generated images can promise the impossible, Glasgow attendees who found themselves caught in this sticky situation will likely think twice before trusting ads again. May their next adventure be a little less “exarserday” and a lot more “cartchy tun” – whatever that means.

What do you think about Willy’s Chocolate Experience without chocolate?
Leave your comment below and pin this article for later!

Willy's Chocolate Experience in Glasgow was promising a Wonka-inspired universe of sweets, but visitors got a children's version of a Fyre Festival. Read how a fantasy event used AI to draw the crowds to a spectacularly poor display of plastic props, half-inflated bouncing castle and candy stations that were giving away one jelly bean per child.

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    1. Absolutely! That was a wild ride for all the attendees at the ‘Willy’s Chocolate Experience’.
      No Willy, no chocolate, only the experience. But a bad one!

    1. I hear you, Kristin!
      Willy Wonka is indeed a bit on the eerie side, but this event took it to a whole new level of bizarre.
      It’s like Wonka’s nightmares came to life!

  1. Wow…I would NOT have been happy (but sounds like this was the consensus). I’m not an overly big fan of Willy Wonka but if I had been going expecting to see all of the colorful, insta-worthy sites or at least have a chocolate tasting and this happened…just, nope!

    1. Heather, you’re absolutely right!
      The disappointment was palpable, to say the least.
      It’s like expecting a chocolate fountain and finding a wilted cabbage instead.
      That was miles away from the golden ticket, an epic fail!

  2. Wow!! I heard about this on the news, but I now that I see some of the photos, just wow!! I usually look up reviews about a place before I go, but this was new, so I am not sure how these visitors could have avoided this. I wonder if they will actually get their refunds!!???

    1. Yes, the expectations and the reality didn’t quite meet here.
      People ordered a gourmet meal, and got a cold hot dog instead.
      As for refunds, I think they can keep fingers crossed, but I’d be truly surprised if that happens.

    1. Absolutely, Alexa!
      It’s heartbreaking to see the excitement turn into disappointment.
      Seeing your kid’s face lighten up with tears instead of joy is not how one imagines a great family time.
      Hopefully, everyone found some consolation in local cake shops!

  3. Read many posts and saw many YouTube videos discussing this incident, but this is by far the best I’ve read. Thanks for all of the extra details. As a creative person with a lot of enthusiastic imagination, I’m glad I know that my human creativity could have done a better job.

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind words!
      I hope this event will not remain a symptom of the times in which people start to believe that AI can be a substitute for human creativity.
      Because it clearly needs a guidance of a thinking, creative hand!
      This was a 3D disaster of what we usually see only as low-quality web articles or lame generated images overflowing social media pretending to be photographs.
      Hopefully, it’s a part of the learning curve for everyone involved.

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