Wonka-inspired chocolate experience in LA that mimics Glasgow event attracts dozens

By John Mercury April 30, 2024

A Willy Wonka-inspired experience in Glasgow that reduced children to tears and prompted calls to the police has inspired a similar event in Los Angeles, drawing dozens of curious fans.

The original £35-a-ticket “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” in Scotland made headlines and sparked dozens of memes after images emerged showing its near-empty warehouse location decorated with only a handful of props and a bouncy castle.

Families had been promised a “chocolate fantasy like never before” – but parents had described it as “shambolic” and “terrible”, with many demanding a refund.

Willy's Chocolate Experience. Pic: Stuart Sinclair
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Willy’s Chocolate Experience Glasgow . Pic: Stuart Sinclair

Willy's Chocolate Experience. Pic: Stuart Sinclair
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Willy’s Chocolate Experience Glasgow. Pic: Stuart Sinclair

Promoters have now created a Californian version attempting to mirror the underwhelming decor and lacklustre stalls of Glasgow, complete with AI-generated artwork.

The one-night-only pop-up event was held in a similarly uninspiring warehouse, with a few candy cane props lining the ruffled green carpet entrance.

Attendees were invited to “step into a world of pure imagination at Willy’s Chocolate Experience Los Angeles as chocolate memes come to life”, and were given two free jelly beans per $44 (£35) ticket.

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Actress and yoga teacher Kirsty Paterson, 29, who became a viral hit after pictures emerged of her as a sad Oompa Loompa at the Glasgow event, was also one of the main attractions at the Californian version.

Willy Wonka LA experience. Pic: Angela Yang / NBC News
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Kirsty Paterson was a key part of the experience. Pic: Angela Yang / NBC News

Also present was a local actor playing “The Unknown” – a villain of the Glasgow set who famously and creepily emerged from behind a mirror scaring the children who attended.

wonka fail
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‘The Unknown’ went viral after spooking children

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Wonka actor reveals behind-the-scenes ‘bonkers’ experience

Sky News’s US partner NBC News attended the event, which was described as not intended for children as Golden Ticket holders were offered THC-infused cotton candy and Oompa Loompa-themed cocktails and were treated to more explicit stage performances.

LA Willy Wonka Experience. Pic: Angela Yang / NBC News
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Pic: Angela Yang / NBC News

It also included local food stalls, musicians and actors from the Los Angeles area plus a tiny cinema trailer where guests could watch silent films.

Event organisers said they intend to donate the proceeds from Sunday’s experience to US charity the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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