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The student news site of St. Dominic High School

Crusader Nation

The student news site of St. Dominic High School

Crusader Nation

Willy Wonka Glasgow Experience Explained

The Independent
An actor playing an Oompa Loompa works the “Imagination Station”

Rohl Dahl’s iconic novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has been beloved by children for generations. In Glasgow, Scotland, an immersive Wonka-inspired experience, provided by entertainment company House of Illuminati, promised a journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn. In reality, all that awaited the families who showed up to the event, was a disappointing, surreal nightmare, that became an instant social media classic. 

Willy’s Chocolate Experience was advertised as an hour-long expedition through complex and whimsical set pieces, including an enchanted garden, an imagination lab, and a twilight tunnel. These attractions were depicted with very obvious AI-generated imagery on the official website for the experience. The descriptions of the colorful wonders people would enjoy at the event were full of misspellings, and strange grammatical errors. In hindsight, the sham seems obvious, but even still, hundreds of unassuming families bought $44 tickets to what they believed would be a magical experience for their young children. 

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with the barren exterior of an abandoned warehouse. Though this was concerning from the start, the true extent of the horrors would not reveal themselves until the families entered the chocolate factory. The ‘immersive experience’ turned out to be nothing more than a mostly empty room, sparsely decorated with cheap candy props, small AI-generated posters pinned against the walls, and a partially-inflated bouncy house at the far end. The ‘twilight tunnel’ was fashioned from cardboard and checkered paper, the ‘enchanted garden’ did not seem to exist at all, and the ‘imagination lab’ was a folding table displaying mismatched chemistry equipment, and manned by one disgruntled looking oompa-loompa — in a less than family friendly costume.

“We were sold a dream and delivered a nightmare,” One anonymous attendee said online.

“It was pathetic. It took a minute to walk through, and some kids were crying,” Another said on

Actors hired to play characters at Willy’s Chocolate experience have since released statements about their own experiences working for the event. All of them claim that they were blindsided by the shoddy quality, just as much as the families. Paul Connel, who played Willy Wonka himself, has spoken with multiple news outlets to share his hilarious side of the story. 

“I got a phone call on Thursday saying, ‘Congratulations, you are going to play Willy Wonka, we will send you over the script and dress rehearsal is tomorrow.’ The script was 15 pages of AI-generated gibberish of me monologuing mad things,” Connel said. 

One bizarre consequence of House of Illuminati choosing to generate the script with AI, was that it conceived a completely original character called ‘The Unknown’, a villainous rival chocolate maker that lives in the walls, according to the script. Felicia, the 16-year-old actress cast to play the horrifying, masked figure of The Unknown, has joined her co-stars in retelling the event from her perspective.

“It was so ridiculous, it was actually funny. I was just sitting behind the mirror trying to act creepy because that was the only direction I was given,” Felicia said to BBC Scotland News.

Images and videos from Willy’s Chocolate Experience gained instant fame on social media. The disgraced House of Illuminati has promised to grant refunds to all families who bought tickets, but so far, no attendees have received any contact from the company. There is no doubt that this event will live on in hilarity and infamy forever, and it has brought the whole world together in laughter and utter bewilderment. If you think about it, a nightmarish experience where parents and children leave angry and traumatized is a perfect adaptation of the original Rohl Dahl tale. 


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