“Immersive” Willy Wonka Exhibit Somehow Worse for Kids Than Original Chocolate Factory

Oompa, Loompa, doompa-dee-dand, an “immersive” Willy Wonka experience got out of hand. Oompa Loompa, doompa-dee-deece, kids started crying, parents called the police.

The event in Glasgow, Scotland, was meant to be a celebration of Wonka, last year’s Timothée Chalamet-starring prequel, complete with chocolates, dancing Ooompa-Loompas, and special audio and visual effects. Produced by organizers House of Illuminati, the event was billed as a “journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn,” though the main surprise turned out to be that generic movie spon-c0n became more unsettling than the factory in Roald Dahl’s book.

Attendees arrived at a small, sparsely-filled warehouse in an industrial section of Glasgow to find plastic decorations, a small bouncy castle, and a surprising lack of confections. Tickets for the event cost up to £35, and many purchasers reported traveling long distances and being barred from entry upon arrival.

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One attendee, Eve Stewart, told BBC that she saw children in tears. “It was basically advertised as this big massive Willy Wonka experience with optical illusions and big chocolate fountains and sweets,” she said. “But when we got there, it was practically an abandoned, empty warehouse, with hardly anything in it.”


The BBC confirmed that Police Scotland dispatched officers to the event and “advice was given.”

According to “house of illuminati scam,” a Facebook group set up by disappointed attendees, both the event itself and the behind-the-scenes production were cause for concern. An actor hired by the company posted that the event was a “complete last minute shitshow” and mentioned that everyone’s contracts were signed in “erasable ink.” Another actor shared the scripts she was hired to learn, but claimed that she was told to “improvise” on the day of and alleged that the scripts were “AI generated.” An attendee lamented the lackluster production, saying “When [I] went in there [were] [no] lollies, chocolate fountains… House of illumshite”

Dozens of attendees noted crying children, a lack of communication regarding refunds, and a crowd of people at the venue’s entrance being denied entry. A spokesperson for House of Illuminati wrote on Facebook that “Today has been a very stressful and frustrating day for many and for that we are truly sorry. Unfortunately, at the last minute we were let down in many areas of our event and tried our best to continue on and push through and now realise we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead.” They’ve also pledged to provide “full refunds to each and every person that purchased tickets.” However, House of Illuminati have since deleted their post, instead sharing a screenshot with refunds in process.

Meanwhile, members of the Facebook group have identified Billy Coull, the director of House of Illuminati, as the primary culprit for the shambolic event. The Daily Mail reports that Coull is a self-published author who used AI to generate the event’s imagery, and came under fire a few years ago after he cancelled a “Santa’s Grotto” event in Glasgow once toys and gifts had already been donated. Some Facebook users have openly described Coull as a con artist, while others allege that he’s maybe just a terrible businessman.