Viral Willy Wonka Experience Actor Speaks Out Adding Fuel To Chaotic Dumpster Fire

This story is a gift that keeps on giving.
Paul Connell Comedian

It’s a great time to be a citizen of the Internet.

If you have been, I don’t know, having a life in the real world these past few days, you perhaps missed out on the Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow that led to people phoning the police. Yes. Really.

Let me give you a quick lowdown of what we know so far in what is definitely one of the first Big Moments Online in 2024.

What was originally advertised was an ‘immersive’ Willy Wonka experience, ideal for fans of the original Roald Dahl novel or any one of the movie adaptations.

The website promised that attendees could, “indulge in a chocolate fantasy like never before”. Then stating that the journey begins in an enchanted garden, with giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious-looking sculptures, and magical surprises that, “add an extra layer of wonder to your Chocolatey Experience!”

Now, is the website filled with blatantly AI-generated imagery? Sure. Is a lot of the text barely legible as it’s also been AI-generated? Absolutely. But, for the small price of £35, parents were promised an afternoon of whimsical fun for their children and who can turn that down?

What Willy’s Chocolate Experience actually was

Imagine the devastation when instead of seeing the promised whimsical delights, patrons actually arrived to... a pretty tragic warehouse. No enchanted garden, no oversized blooms, no joy, really.

Speaking to the Daily Record, dad Stuart Sinclair said: “I travelled two hours with three kids, and paid £35 per ticket to attend the event in Glasgow. It was then closed down while we were there.

“It was described as a full Wonka Experience with chocolate fountains, but the kids received two jelly babies and a quarter of a can of Barrs Limeade.”

The event, perhaps unsurprisingly, closed down midway through the first day of opening, despite another day being planned. The business is offering refunds to those who paid to attend. Yikes.

Now, Paul Connell, the actor and comedian hired to play Willy Wonka has revealed his side of the story in a series of TikToks.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience actor speaks out

In his videos, Connell explained that, in disappointing-but-not-surprising news, he was given the ‘role’ of the chocolatier on Thursday evening — two days before the event was due to start.

Connell said: “The script was 15 pages of AI-generated gibberish of me just monologuing these mad things.”

“The bit that got me was where I had to say ’There is a man we don’t know his name. We know him as the Unknown. This Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.”

“It was terrifying for the kids. Is he an evil man who makes chocolate or is the chocolate itself evil?”

He confessed that while he thought the script was a little nonsensical, he expected it to make more sense once he was actually at the venue and could see all of the technology promised.

Instead, he was met with the cursed little warehouse and management that didn’t seem to fully understand what was happening or what the actors should do. Connell admitted that he did have to take some creative liberties saying: “At the end of my monologue I was supposed to suck up the Unknown Man with a vacuum cleaner. I asked them if they had a vacuum cleaner and they said ‘yeah we haven’t really got there yet so just improvise’. So I started to cut things out.”

While so many of us would be giving this a polite swerve and skip the job all together, Connell said that the cast really didn’t want to disappoint the kids hoping to attend: “All the actors, lovely people, we gathered together in the morning and said ‘we’re probably not going to get paid for this but kids are still going to come up. Let’s make this as magic as possible for them’.”

Then, the big day came.

Opening day.

Instead of getting the 15 minute breaks he was promised, Connell played the part of Willy for three and a half hours straight. He shared: “I didn’t know where I ended and Wonka began. I was losing my mind by that point.”

And the children, his entire driving force for continuing with the job, weren’t even prioritised by the organisers, according to the actor. He claims: “The organiser came up to me saying ‘You’re spending too much time with the kids we need to get them through as quickly as possible’.”

Finally, though, he did get his lunch break. He alleges spent it alone in his car, avoiding the faces of disappointed children and angry adults. Having a small moment to himself.

Then, he returned to carnage.

According to Connell, there was an angry mob at the door, demanding answers for why the event had turned out the way it had, which Connell had to ‘wedge’ his way through.

“People were shouting, people who put on the event were crying. There were arguments, people running around everywhere - the set had been trashed.”

Eventually, tragically, the actors decided to leave. Connell said the whole experience was really upsetting for him, especially seeing as there were children in ‘better costumes’ than the cast themselves looking gutted.

Organiser Billy Coull, the director of immersive events company House of Illuminati, told STV News: “I’m really shocked that the event had fallen short of the expectations of people on paper.

“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.”

One Redditor did see this coming, though

Posting on the /r/Glasgow subreddit, user Prestigious_Try4610 raised concerns about the event two and a half weeks ago saying: “Has anyone else been getting FB ads for “Willys Chocolate Experience”?

“Every image is AI generated along with all the gibberish text it try’s to create. Not 1 single picture giving people an idea of what they are shelling out money for and yet people are buying up tickets.”

At the end of the day, at least we have the memes

Of course, social media has been having a whale of a time with this story and if we take nothing else from it, let’s just be happy for the first Event That United The Internet of 2024.