Candytopia is a weird and wonderful candy wonderland

Story by Labanya Maitra, Daryl Brown CNN VISION Video, Photography by Daryl Brown CNN VISIONUpdated 9th March 2019
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Atlanta (CNN) — Want to hang out with Cardi B? How about the legendary Marilyn Monroe or the famous Mona Lisa (the painting, that is)?
Imagine being in the same room as all three!
And imagine if that room was adjacent to a giant aquarium and a larger-than-life garden with exotic wildlife. With Narnia-like doors of wonder that lead into rainbow tunnels heading up to the clouds where unicorn-pigs fart confetti. The distant roar of cannon fire sounds in the background, except in this wacky world, the cannonballs are marshmallows, and everything and everyone is made of candy.
Welcome to Candytopia.
Jackie Sorkin, co-founder and co-creator of Candytopia, calls the sweet creation "an incredible candy wonderland."

Where everything runs on candy

Hundred of hours (approximately 317) and 7,800 pieces of candy later, the sphinx looms large at Candytopia.
Daryl Brown
Candytopia, an immersive experience, thinks of itself as a mini theme park, "a place where you come to escape the world, Sorkin says. "It's really just this magical place that runs on sugar and candy, and you lose your mind here. It's just a place to have fun!"
The inspiration for Candytopia comes from -- surprise, surprise -- Willy Wonka, and the different rooms house a variety of experiences.
There's a Garden of Eden-esque interactive space containing giant flowers squirting unique candy-themed smells, a tiger and a Komodo dragon made entirely of jelly beans and a cacophony of sounds coming from the four sound installations.
The mini-theme park pays homage to "Game of Thrones," Marilyn Monroe, Cardi B, Mona Lisa and, of course, Willy Wonka. Other famous celebrities are featured as well.
The twist, however, is that they're all made from hundreds of grams of candy and sugar, including the intricate and ornate centerpiece -- a sphinx.

An Instagram dream

The life-size deep sea diver was hand-crafted from gummy bears, licorice, jelly beans and gumdrops.
Daryl Brown
Hundreds of thousands pieces of candy are used to create the 3-D models, explains Sorkin. Licorice, jellybeans, gummy bears gumdrops — these are all manipulated to create the pop-up's art. "We look at candy in a completely different way. It's art to us," says Sorkin.
The sweet experience includes illusions of tunnels, green screens that serve as a backdrop for photos, and a candy aquarium with sharks, fish and a life-size diver.
Every room is an Instagrammable sugary sweet experience and a candy-coated photo opportunity for kids (and adults) of all ages.
"You know, I started creating my candy art pregnant and broke, out of my garage," said Sorkin. "I mean it can't be more cliché than that ... the principles of the [Willy Wonka] movie, you know, the dream-big mentality, never give up, have crazy ideas, let people think you're nuts, and keep going anyway. That really struck a chord with me when I was a kid."

A rainbow vortex

The Rainbow Vortex is one of several rooms set up as an AR (augmented reality) interactive photo station.
Daryl Brown
The chord has led to a full-fledged symphony of vibrant rainbow colors and candy on display at Candytopia. During its four-month run, the pop up, currently in Atlanta, has wowed visitors in San Francisco, New York and Minnesota's Mall of America. Check the website for location information.

Covered in confetti

The confetti "surprise" required close to 7,000 pieces of candy.
Daryl Brown
If you go, have your smart phone ready and your sweet tooth primed. Oh, and make sure to watch out for the not-so-discreet confetti attacks around the unicorn-farm pigs, and try not to get caught in the crossfire of the marshmallow cannonballs!
If it sounds bizarre, that's ok. It's sort of the whole idea. "It's just so weird," said Sorkin. "And it makes everyone smile."