Kids left in tears and police called over 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event after parents forked out £35 per ticket

26 February 2024, 22:35 | Updated: 26 February 2024, 22:38

Parents demanded refunds after the event.
Parents demanded refunds after the event. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper

By Jenny Medlicott

Parents have been left furious after forking out for a 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event for their kids.

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The £35-a-ticket event promised a “chocolate fantasy like never before” and a day where “dreams come to life” - but the reality was more like a nightmare.

Organiser House of Illuminati put together the event at the Box Hub in Glasgow and saw hundreds of families purchase tickets.

But many who had expected a sweet Roald Dahl-inspired event were left furious, describing the experience as a “waste of money”.

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Children were left devastated after the let-down event.
Children were left devastated after the let-down event. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper

Stuart Sinclair, 29, who travelled two hours from Dundee with his three children to the event described it as “an absolute shambles of an event”.

He told the Courier newspaper: “There was a guy wandering around apparently dressed as Willy Wonka but he didn’t seem interested. You then got inside and there were a couple of props and a plastic chocolate thing.

“In the next room, they had test tubes with jelly babies. I said to the kids at least they would get a bag of sweets but they gave them one single sweet each.”

One parent wrote on Facebook: “My wee girls 8 she was devastated. Said it was the worst day ever in her life and she had a wee cry as we made our way to the nearest bus stop to travel back into the city centre.”

The organiser has said it will issue full refunds.
The organiser has said it will issue full refunds. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper

While another said: “Absolutely shocking. Especially after standing for 30 mins to get in. Chocolate experience with no chocolate in the building.”

The event website, Willy's Chocolate Experience, boasted of an enchanted garden full of "giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious-looking sculptures, and magical surprises".

It also promised live performances and an “immersive adventure” for attendees, including a “twilight tunnel” and “imagination lab” where "the boundaries between reality and fantasy harmoniously merge".

House of Illuminati cancelled the event on its first day and has since promised to issue full refunds to customers.

Police Scotland were even called to the event on Saturday, where they said “advice was given”.

The experience was described as an empty warehouse by some.
The experience was described as an empty warehouse by some. Picture: Facebook/Fiona Hughes

The organiser said in a post to Facebook 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 cancelled first thing this morning instead.

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

The Box Hub said it had only rented out the space and was not responsible for the experience.

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