A bizarre Willy Wonka-themed children’s event became a viral disaster. Here’s everything that went wrong.

The event did not live up to anyone’s expectations.Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images; Stuart Sinclair
A disastrous Willy Wonka-themed children’s event went viral for all the wrong reasons.The chaotic scenes drew comparisons with the similarly ill-fated Fyre Festival.Here’s a closer look at the event’s biggest failures.It was meant to be a fun-filled day out for children who would be treated to an immersive experience in a fantastical environment filled with captivating characters.
Adverts that promised an enchanted garden, Imagination Lab with "mind-expanding projections and optical marvels," and a "Twilight Tunnel," made the event sound futuristic and innovative.
It would truly be a place where "chocolate dreams become reality," said the House of Illuminati, which staged the event.

Instead, the bizarre Willy Wonka-themed event in Glasgow, Scotland, featured a sparse warehouse filled with low-budget props and drew comparisons with the similarly ill-fated Fyre Festival.
Kids were left in tears and actors were scarred. Underwhelming images of the scenery began circulating online, resulting in a viral nightmare for organizers.

The House of Illuminati did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Organizers have since promised to issue refunds, but the internet can’t seem to look away from the car crash.
Pictures of the disappointing warehouse and strange cast of characters have been widely shared, and actors have come out of the woodwork to share their side of the story.
Here’s how things played out:
A mob of angry parentsIt didn’t take long for families to realize the event was far from what the organizers promised.
One attendee who said he took his children called it an "absolute shambles." In a Facebook post, Stuart Sinclair said shortly after arriving, he noticed a line of people waiting to complain.
Videos of customers confronting event organizers have since been shared on social media. Parents can be heard accusing the company of scamming kids, withholding information, and photoshopping images.
Children were reportedly left crying during the shambolic event. After promises of chocolate fountains, the kids received two jelly babies and a quarter of a can of limeade, Sinclair said.
The event was quickly shut down, with the organizers issuing a public apology.
AI-style marketingAI is suspected to have played a major role in the bizarre event.
The website for the event appeared to play host to several AI-style images depicting wonderful scenes that were a million miles away from reality.
In one video shared online, the event organizer appears to tell a crowd of angry parents that the pictures advertising the event were generated with AI.
The script was also so strange and full of odd cues that several actors said they suspected it had been AI-generated.
One AI detector classified a section of the script that was published by The Daily Mail as AI-generated overall but noted it was "uncertain" about the results.
AI is difficult to detect and it’s hard to definitively say what role the tech played in creating the art or script.
Creepy charactersThe creative direction was perhaps the strangest part of the whole ordeal.
One actor hired to play Willy Wonka at the event said he had such a bad time at the gig that he felt like he was losing his mind.
"I ended up playing Willy Wonka for three and a half hours straight," Paul Connell told The Independent. "I didn’t know where I ended and Wonka began. I was losing my mind by that point."
Connell also complained the script was "15 pages of AI-generated gibberish," featuring "mad things" and bizarre monologues.
The internet’s fixation, however, appears to have centered on a character called "The Unknown."
Described as an "evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls," the creepy yet-to-be-unmasked character has been the subject of intense online attention.
One video posted on TikTok and X shows the character emerging from behind a mirror with a silver mask and black hair. Children can be heard crying in the background of the videos.

One parent who attended the event with her children told BI’s Katie Notopoulos that some kids were indeed "scared and crying."
Organizers have since apologized for the chaotic event and promised to issue refunds, but the internet is showing no signs of moving on from its new obsession.
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