* Prices may differ from that shown
Over the years I have visited Coral Island amusements many times because it is often somewhere that my friend and I will take the children when we go over to Blackpool for a day out. This is my review of the amusement arcade. ==Where is Coral Island?== Coral Island is situated on the main promenade in Blackpool and is down by the tower and so you are unlikely to miss it. From the outside it certainly looks the best of the amusement arcades in Blackpool as it has a large pirate style ship sitting above the front entrance to it and it looks to be quite well presented in a town where you do expect the bulk of the places to be quite tacky for want of a better word. There is a car park very near to Coral Island which you do pay for but it is an excellent place to park and is handy for visiting the beach, the sea life centre, the tower and of course Coral Island. You can find Coral Island itself at the following address Promenade, Blackpool FY1 5DW but I would just be mindful that there are a lot of one way systems in Blackpool and so your sat nav may lead you all around the houses! ==Inside Coral Island== Coral Island is probably the biggest of the amusement arcades in Blackpool and as such I do think most people seem to congregate in this one for the most part. It has certainly always been busy when we have visited and when we visited this last weekend it was actually uncomfortable in there because of the sheer amount of people that were in there. There is various change machines dotted around the arcade but there are also a couple of manned change counters too. I can honestly say that every single time I have asked for a note changing to pound coins in one of these counters the staff haven't smiled or spoken and have generally looked fed up to be there. Whilst I realise they are dealing with a lot of people throughout the day I still think customer service with a smile should be present! As you enter Coral Island through the main doors there are various small rides which you can pay to pop your children on. These usually cost 50p to £1 and can often be found being subjected to having adults sitting on them as they pose for hen party photographs or something! Further inside the amusement arcade there are some larger rides which are quite popular with smaller children but my son and my friend's daughter don't often ask to go on those ones. There is a small track ride which our children do quite like and you need to purchase tokens for this one. From memory I think you get a couple of tokens for two pounds so it isn't too bad value really. There are lots of different cranes in Coral Island which can be used to win soft toys for the most part. These cost around 25p a go but it is more usual to pop a pound in and have four goes. I have never won a teddy in Coral Island through use of a crane but you do see some people carrying them around so they can't all be useless! We do often find though that the cranes just don't shut properly around the toy or large toys have been placed inside a crane with a tiny grabber so it just can't cope with the weight of the toy! This fact of course doesn't stop people trying their luck and so they are often very busy as you walk around the arcade. As you enter the main part of Coral Island there is a Kentucky derby area which does seem quite popular to play as there are rarely seats available to sit down and play! I suppose people like this as your odds of winning a soft toy are around 12/1 and you are able to upgrade your prize for larger ones should you win more than one game. This isn't something we often play as there are never enough seats for the four of us to sit down and play. There are plenty of two pence and ten pence machines dotted around for those people who like those machines and there is also an over eighteens zone where people can play what I would class as "pub" machines to try and win larger amounts of money. The main area where we spend our time is actually around the machines which allow you to win tickets as prizes as my son and my friend's daughter love collecting tickets which can then be exchanged for prizes. The range of machines in this area is good really and so you have things such as ten pence slot machines where we often win lots of tickets, deal or no deal, bejewelled blitz, ball drop games and other similar things. Depending on your luck on the day and how much other people have put in the machines before you (!) you can often win a decent amount of tickets in this area but the issue with being in this area is you can often spend up to twenty pounds in a short space of time as you just don't realise it is all going to be honest. On Saturday my son and I spent ten pounds and for this amount we won 475 tickets. Around the main area of the machines that give tickets there are around eight machines in which you feed your tickets to and then print a voucher out saying how many you have and take that to the shop where all the prizes are. I would say that as a general rule of thumb at least half of these machines are always blocked and so there are often long queues to exchange tickets! On Saturday my son and I waited fifteen minutes before we could get to a machine as a couple had literally bags of tickets to put in to the machine. There don't seem to be all that many staff working on maintaining the machines to say it is such a large area and you can often be left looking for a member of staff to replace the ticket roll in your machine or deal with something that has gone wrong which is frustrating because the arcade must be making a fortune with tourists frequenting it! There is generally a queue for when you want to exchange your tickets for prizes at the shop too and so I would advise you take a quick look before you get in the queue and see what you want before you start queuing as it seems to make the whole experience easier, especially with children about. Once more the staffs in this area are looking fed up, busy and hot and so they don't really come across as having great customer service skills. This is something we are used to now but as a tourist I would be really disappointed I think. On this occasion my son exchanged his 475 tickets for a small angry birds basketball, a blue plastic water gun and some sweets. They do have a good range of me to you gifts in which aren't too many tickets and so there is usually something for everyone but I would say that you can probably just buy the item you win for less money than you spend getting tickets but that isn't as fun is it?! ==Toilets== The toilets in Coral Island are located right in the middle of the arcade. There are male and female toilets and a baby changing area as well. I have never seen any staff around the toilets and despite there being around eight cubicles in the ladies toilets there is more often than not a queue to get in. The toilets aren't always the best in here to be honest as people don't seem to care about if they are weeing on the seat or dropping things on the floor and so we don't like going in to the toilets much but on some occasions we have to just make do. ==Overall== I do think that Coral Island is the best amusement arcade in Blackpool for the sheer amount of different options available to you when you go in there. There is really something for all the family to do. The issue with being the best in the area is simply that the amount of people that pile in to Coral Island can make it ridiculously hot and uncomfortable and they don't have enough staff to cope with the demands of the people in there either. I would say that I recommend going to Coral Island but just be prepared that as always in an amusement arcade your money will not get you very far and it may not be the most comfortable of experiences for the time you are in there. My son and my friend's daughter love it in there which is probably why we do return and will continue to do so but there is a lot of improvements that could and should be made to this site. Thank you for reading my review!
Coral Island is just one of the amusement arcades on Blackpools promenade. ~Location~ Coral Island is situated on the promenade between the North and Central Pier. It is a short distance from attractions such as the Blackpool Tower, Louis Tussauds and the Sea Life Centre. It is also nearby the main shopping area. The arcade can be accessed through many entrances with the main entrance being just off the promenade and featuring a huge skull design. The full contact address for the arcade is : Coral Island Promenade Blackpool FY1 5DW 01253 293133 I cannot locate the opening times though I do believe Coral Island is opened til around 11ish at night and is open 7days a week. ~Facilities~ The main focus is on amusements within this arcade. There is something for every age and budget. *Ride - a monorail runs around the arcade *Prize bingo - cheap tickets with potential to win various prizes through collecting tokens (adults only can play) *Food - there is an attatched fish and chip shop, a cafe and a restaurant serving various, dishes to suit all tastes *Toilets - a few located around the arcade *Over 18s - various sections for adults only with big money machines (water machines dotted around) *Other amusements - more fruit machines from 2p, grabber machines with prizes, teddy machines, small roundabout type rides, donkey derby, coin push machines and more *Interactive - open simulators, dancing games, guitar hero etc The arcade is wheelchair accessible from every entrance and buggy friendly. ~My Opinion~ We went to Blackpool once a year when I was a child and I always looked forward to visiting Coral Island. I love the amusements and to me, Blackpool is a haven. My latest trip was in June for an overnight with my sister and I was adamant we had to visit Coral Island. We visited at night time and it was buzzing. It looked every bit as cool as I remember and very clean throughout. Unfortuantely the bingo was closed when we were there (on a Friday night) which seemed a little odd. Anyway, I love the atmosphere in Coral Island and was amazed when I went in. Even as an adult, I still get excited by those typical amusement noises and could hear them before we even entered! During our visit we didn't eat in the arcade but previous experience and friends have confirmed the meals are affordable, decent enough and filling. The staff are friendly enough and can be approached for help, tea, coffee or you can visit the booths for change (or the change machines). ~Fun Fun Fun!~ There is something for everyone at Coral Island. As we didn't have the children with us, we stuck to the more adult amusements. The childrens amusements are spread throughout and reasonably cheap in comparrison to some arcades. There is lots of fun little rides to entertain even the youngest of children and I look forward to taking my son there as he will love it. Everything is so bright and spaced well out. The inside is much bigger than you would expect! The over 18s area is ok if you have plenty of money as some of the machines are 30-50p a play. The prize money is better though and with the opportunity to get up on prize boards to win more, it is worth a shot. I had to set myself a limit though as it is easy to get engrossed and overspend! I won a few times on some machines as did my sister but I left with the same amount I went in with to be honest! I like the variation of machines as there are more complex ones and then traditional OXO and fruit machines. The other amusement area with machines is for those who don't wish to gamble as much with 2p, 5p and 10p machines. I had a flutter and although the prize money is less (£1-£5.00), your credits last longer and it is fun! We ventured over to the interactive area where my sister thrashed out some tunes on guitar hero and then we had a shot on a simulator for £1.00 which is perfectly acceptable and some giggle! ~Conclusion~ I recommend Coral Island to anyone wanting some exciting fun. I didn't spend too much but it would be easy to go overboard. The bright lights and fun tunes are very tempting and pull you in. I do feel the little rides and the amusements are affordable but if you have quite a few children with you, it will cost you a fortune! The location and facilities are good and when we next go to Blackpool, we will be visiting to pass some time. Thanks for reading :) *Update - the popular trams stop on the promenade in front of Coral Island and there are bus stops and a taxi rank at the rear entrance (I don't live in Blackpool so cannot comment on bus numbers etc). As far as I could see the cafe was shut when we visited in June hence the reason I didn't get to sample the food there. Like I said, I have had friends and family who have been at times and stated the food was tasty, plenty of choice and well priced. *
Blackpool is one of my favourite places (if not my fave) to go and manage to go several times a year. One of the attractions there is Coral Island, which is Britains largest amusement arcade - it is said that it attracts an unbelievable 4 million people per year!! Over recent years Coral Island has seen major investment and it was totally revamped and refitted in 1999, and is now one of the most modern and exciting arcades that caters for all ages. As you approach Coral Island, the first thing you see is a huge skull and pirate ship with CORAL ISLAND above in flashing lights. This may frighten young children initially as a pirate skull can appear a little scary. There are several entrances to the arcade and in each entrance you will find some small rides for the little ones, most of these are 50 pence each. Also there are several cranes, full of some lovely teddies. Now we get into the main arcade - it is absolutely huge!!! There is literally something for everybody in here. There is a parrot monorail ride that goes all the way round the arcade and as the children (as well as big kids!) go round there is a sort of laser quest game to play. Along with the ride there are many many games that young children can play and in the lower end of the arcade there is an area that is some rides and a ticket collecting area. The ticket collecting is great fun for children (and some of us big kids too - i love it!) there are many ways of winning tickets, from "slot machines" like Aladdin and Snakes and Adders, to ball games, coin games and much more. Each machine pays out tickets rather than money and the idea is to save up the tickets and there is a large kiosk in which you can trade them in for a huge range of things - from small things like keyrings to mega things like a Sony PSP or mountain bike. I think this is great as you are actually getting something for your money, however it can take a while to save up a good amount for something decent and there isn't really much for young children to get, i would say from about the age of 4 is best for toys. There's the usual arcade games, racing games, cranes, slot machines and a decent sized area dedicated to guitar hero. I recently had my first experience of this and to say it was embarrassing is a bit of an understatement!! I was useless - in my defence it was my first ever go (mental note to have a practice at home on my brothers before trying again!!). There are some huge cranes with massive teddies in, some with Me To You Bears (that retail at £50.00!!) so if you are lucky you can win one for just a pound! Some of the other big bears are Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, they even had huge Gremlins!! In the centre of the arcade is a very large area for the over 18's with a good range of different slot machines so again there is something for everyone, from the standard XOX machines to new games like Rainbow Riches and even Deal or No Deal! A good range of coin games (2p and 10p) machines can be found in this arcade for those 2p game addicts like my mum!! There is always little prizes to be won in them, mainly keyrings or badges but you can win tokens for a free cuddly toy also which you need to go and collect from the Bingo area. We must have a huge range of keyrings from there by now!! Located at the far end of Coral Island is the Prize Bingo area. Its 20p a go for 2 cards or if you want the extra option of the gold card its an extra 10p - the gold card has special deals on and if you win on the lucky line (for example the red line) you may win up to 100 tokens. There are some decent prizes to be had, but again i don't think it caters enough for children which i appreciate can't play but it would be nice to be able to choose something for them. As you are playing bingo, the friendly staff come round and offer drinks and biscuits which i think is a lovely touch. There is a very large cafe in the arcade, its very popular. They do the usual tea, coffee, cold drinks, and several meals. I've only ever tried the chips but they were ok, and i have heard from others that a great meal can be had for a fiver and that the portions are very generous. Also they sell baby food in jars which i think is really good. As well as the cafe there is a fish and chip shop attached which i think is really good. All in all i think Coral Island is brilliant. The only downside to it really is that it is always so so busy but this is testament to how good it is and how much effort has been spent in making it into the attraction it is today. You can easily spend a couple of hours in here if not more as there is so much to do - the only problem is its so easy to spend a huge amount of money here!!! When me and my friend take our children we always come in Coral Island and have a go and saving tokens up so the kids have something fun to take home. One thing i managed to get was a novelty Hello Kitty phone which i have since seen for sale for almost £50! In a nutshell i think its great, and would say to anyone who is visiting Blackpool to definately have a look in here!
Blackpool is often said to be the North of England's Las Vegas and it is true that it can be brash with loads of flashing lights and slot machines everywhere you turn. Coral Island is Britain's largest amusement arcade and attracts a staggering 4 million visitors through it's doors each year. It means that it is the biggest and brashest amusement arcade out there but as well as being tacky it can also be a lot of fun. Coral Island is on Blackpool promenade near to the tower and between central and south piers. You can't miss the building as the outside is decorated in the shape of a pirate ship with an enormous skull and bright green fish complementing this theme. The arcade has several entrances, each has notices trying to lure you inside whether they offer free use of the toilets, cheap meal deals in the family café or simply tell you to walk through as a shortcut as they are hoping that you will end up spending a couple of pounds once you are through the doors. Coral Island is largely a family friendly amusement arcade, there is a section with the big prize machines roped off for over 18s only but on the whole they are trying to get families through the doors. The main attractions are a ghost train and a monorail train which rides high around the room and there are smaller coin operated rides for small children. They have a donkey derby where you roll the balls along a chute to try and score points and make your animal win the race which is 50p a shot and always good fun, winners can choose from a selection of prizes to take home. There are plenty of machines which are suitable for kids, 2p push machines with small trinkets as extra prizes are especially popular and I know many adults love them too as they get to play without losing too much money in the process. They also have grab machines and dozens of games machines where you can win tickets to swap for gifts from the shop. The teenagers will enjoy playing classic arcade games or dancing on the dance mats and the whole family will enjoy the likes of a roulette or horse racing machine. The 2p machines seem to be set so that you can get a fairly long play for £1 worth of coins, you will lose your stake eventually but will enjoy several wins with a bag of 2 pence pieces. The more serious gambler will enjoy the traditional slot machines which generally take 10p for a roll of the reels or play the drop machines with 10p stakes. I never visited the over 18's section as I am not a serious gambler by any means and prefer to stick to playing for a 2p stake! I ended up playing Bingo in the hall at the back of the arcade, you simply turn up and have a seat and it is 20p a go. Luckily the machine detects when you win as someone who is new to the game like me will not be able to keep track of the numbers as they are called out pretty quickly and I also had trouble understanding the broad Lancashire accent. I was really surprised when I went and sat in the bingo section to be brought over a free cup of coffee and sandwiches, I suppose they want to get you settled into a seat so you keep feeding money into the game. Each win at bingo gives you half a ticket which you can swap for the likes of a tea towel or save for bigger ticket items. Coral Island is loud and brash and a bit tacky, you are highly unlikely to win any great prizes and it would be very easy to spend a fortune in here but it is still great fun! The great thing about it is that it is all indoors so you can hide here if there is bad weather and the choice of machines means that there is something that will appeal to everyone in here. Of course you need to be responsible about how much you spend, set yourself a limit and as long as you don't have the expectation that you will win big prizes you will enjoy yourself.