Willy Wonka Glasgow: Police called to “shambles” of event.

A Wonka-inspired experience in Scotland was abruptly shut down after children left in tears and furious families felt scammed by the “absolute shambles of an event”.

Police were called to Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow, which cost $68 (£35) per person, on Saturday, after receiving complaints.

The event promised a “delightful entertainment experience” and a “paradise of sweet treats”.

However, children were brought to tears as they were greeted by a scarce warehouse with a printed AI background, a sad bouncy castle, lacklustre props — and virtually no candy.

Parents complained that they waited for more than an hour for an experience, co-ordinated by an organisation named House of Illuminati, which was less than 10 minutes long and did not include the advertised chocolate fountains, decor or handcrafted candy drinks.

The advertising claimed the space would have an “enchanted garden,” “imagination lab” and “twilight tunnel”.

“Underwhelming was an understatement. Embarrassing doesn’t even cut it. I paid for Willy Wonka and got Billy Bonkers,” one person wrote on social media.

“Took two minutes to get through to then see a queue of people surrounding the guy running it complaining. The kids received two jelly babies and a quarter of a can of barrs limeade.”

Paula Graham, who attended the event with her husband, eight-year-old daughter and the girl’s friend, said she felt cheated by the AI-generated advertising.

“Their page and their advertising looked very professional. They made out as if it was going to be this really special experience — a one-off,” Ms Graham said, according to The Sun.

“In my eyes, I thought it was going to be some kind of light show with actors.

“You couldn’t even call it an event — it was terrible.”

“It was shocking for the money you paid,” she added. “There were kids coming away crying.”

Some families complained that there was no communication that the event was cancelled until they arrived and were only informed by a cardboard sign outside. They felt like the lack of communication justified a refund and travel costs since many drove or took trains for well over two hours.

“They put out a bit of cardboard saying ‘event cancelled’,” said Ms Graham.

“It was as if the chocolate factory had been shut down,” another attendee told the publication.

Worker told to improvise

Worker Jenny Fogarty was hired to portray a “Wonkidoodle,” the event’s version of an Oompa Loompa, and was shocked when she was given an inappropriate costume from an Amazon box that only arrived an hour before the event opened.

“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,” FM Fogarty wrote on Facebook group House of Illuminati Scam.

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

Ms Fogarty also claimed that she was given a 15-page script one day before the event but was told to improvise instead since the actors had no rehearsal time. She added that she has yet to be paid for her work.

“It was shocking. It was embarrassing, to be pretty honest. We were trying our best, all the actors, to make it work, but we were given just 12 hours to learn our script and told to just improvise. It’s not easy to improvise a whole show,” she said.

“When we went back to get to our cars, that’s when we saw the police had showed up,” Ms Fogarty added about the eventual shutdown.

Paul Connell, another worker hired to perform at the event, said his “heart sank” when he arrived at the warehouse, which contained none of the promised props.

“I just felt sad because I was aware of how many kids were going to be coming through,” he told STV News.

“We were told to hand the kids a couple of jelly beans and a quarter cup of lemonade at the end.”

Some online pointed out how unhappy one of the workers appeared during the event.

While the experience has copped widespread criticism online, one person pointed out one of the images used to advertise the event.

“Not removing the blame on the event company for the £35 Willy Wonka experience but this was literally the advert on the site you saw before choosing to book,” they wrote.

House of Illuminati has apologised in a statement in which it acknowledged that its “fabulous event” failed to meet expectations and had devolved into a “stressful and frustrating day.”

“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 realise we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead,” the statement said.

Billy Coull, director of House of Illuminati, blamed the disaster on “holographic technology” not arriving on time, bizarrely claiming that the event would have looked as promoted with the tech.

“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,” he said.

“There was every intention to hold the event, from the pictures, despite not being in the best light; hopefully you’ll be able to see that there was every intention to hold the event.”

with the New York Post

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