Parents and actors left with 'bad taste' after 'Willy Wonka' experience

Full refunds have been issued to families who attended Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow at the weekend.

Furious parents have said they have been “ripped off” and left with a “bad taste” after paying hundreds of pounds for a Willy Wonka-inspired “immersive experience” in Glasgow.

Frustrated visitors to Willy’s Chocolate Experience, held at the Box Hub Warehouse in Whiteinch, branded the House of Illuminati event “a farce” and said their children were left upset by the quality of the event.

Organisers cancelled the experience only hours into it opening after they were met with a furious reaction by customers, and police confirmed officers had been called to the venue.

According to the Willy’s Chocolate Experience website, families were set to go an “enchanting” day out with “giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious-looking sculptures, and magical surprises” where “dreams come to life”.


However, father Jack Proctor said that he and his family was instead confronted with a “mini-maze of random props, a candy station that dispersed one jelly bean, and a terrifying character that scared kids to tears”.

He said: “With two young children who are devoted Wonka fans, we were eager to experience the whimsical adventure promised by the widely-shared event on social media.

“Despite initial doubts about its legitimacy, reassurances from the company’s MD persuaded us to attend, promising a spectacle to rival the West End.

“However, upon arrival, our hopes quickly soured as we witnessed disheartened families exiting the venue. The sight of a makeshift golden gate marked ‘factory’ only heightened our scepticism.


“Our fears were confirmed as we stepped inside to find a disorganised mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lacklustre candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears.

“The actors did their best to salvage the unsalvageable event, but we swiftly departed as security announced the event’s cancellation to a queuing crowd of irate families.”

Customer Kyle Marnion said the event left a “bad taste” and likened the event to “frozen food going straight in the oven then reheated again and again”.

The event was described as Supplied

He told STV News: “The best way to describe is that it is something you would see at a birthday party, rather than a big extravaganza.

“Obviously the props were far too spaced out and everything seemed a bit off and it kind of just triggered a red flag in my head.

“It was very barren in this very empty warehouse. It just seemed a bit off. The more you saw it, the more it just didn’t seem right. We were only in there ten to fifteen minutes maximum because we thought, is that it?

“Definitely we’ve been ripped off. If you want to put this playfully, bamboozled by the idea that we could have enjoyed something that a lot of people would have enjoyed.

Willy's Chocolate ExperienceSupplied

“Definitely left a bad taste. This isn’t some divine chocolate, this is more like frozen food going straight into the oven, then reheated again and again in a microwave. Honestly its a shambles.”

Paul Connell, who was an actor in the event, said he confronted the organisers after reading the script – but was told to do “whatever he wanted”.

He said: “My heart sank. It was – it wasn’t even like fear. I just felt sad because I was aware of how many kids were going to be coming through. And like, just looking around the place and just being like, ‘this is… this is terrible.’ Like, you know, we were told to hand the kids like, a couple of jelly beans and a quarter cup of lemonade at the end.

“I went up to the people running it as well and I had asked about like, I was like, ‘what do you want me to do with this script?’ Because none of the things, like the special effects and things like that, none of that’s there, ‘what do you want me to do?’ And I was just told, do whatever I want.”

Box Hub said House of Illuminati was responsible for the “incredibly underwhelming” event “in its entirety”.

In a statement, House of Illuminati apologised to customers and said it should have cancelled the event as it was “let down last minute” by suppliers, adding the event “did not take shape as planned”.

The company confirmed that full refunds would be given to customers, which could take up to ten days.

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