A Willy Wonka-esque 'Chocolate Experience' advertised with AI-style images turned out to be an 'absolute shambles'

  • Police were called to a Willy Wonka-style event after families were left underwhelmed.

  • Customers criticized the event, saying it failed to deliver its advertised features.

  • The organizers apologized and promised full refunds to ticket holders.

A "Willy's Chocolate Experience" last weekend turned out to be a whole lot less satisfying than people had hoped.

The event was staged by the House of Illuminati in Glasgow, Scotland. It was advertised as a "place where chocolate dreams become reality" with an enchanted garden, an "Imagination Lab" that promised "mind-expanding projections and optical marvels," and a "Twilight Tunnel."

A disclaimer at the very end of its website said: "This experience is in no way related to the Wonka franchise, which is owned by the Warner Bros. company."

People quickly realized it was far from what organizers had promised.

Stuart Sinclair, who said he took his children to the event, called it an "absolute shambles."

In a Facebook post, Sinclair said the event had been described as a "great day out for the kids," but shortly after arriving, he noticed a line of people waiting to complain.

Police were even called and "advice was given," a Police Scotland representative said, according to Sky News.

X users speculated that the images the organizers used online were generated by artificial intelligence. Several of the images featured on the website have telltale signs of AI art, and Business Insider was able to create very similar images using AI.

The House of Illuminati did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the use of AI in marketing photos.

Sinclair said in his Facebook post the company was "nothing more than an absolute con."

After promises of chocolate fountains, Sinclair said his kids received two jelly babies and a small drink. He added that the tickets for the event cost him £35, or about $44, a person.

Willy Wonka Chocolate experience
Stuart Sinclair called the event an "absolute shambles." Stuart Sinclair

The House of Illuminati said in a Facebook post on Saturday night: "Today has been a very stressful and frustrating day for many and for that we are truly sorry.

"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 canceled first thing this morning instead.

"We fully apologize for what has happened and will be giving full refunds to each and every person that purchased tickets."

February 28, 2024 — This story's headline was updated to clarify that the method used to create the promotional images has not been confirmed. 

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