Friday, 16 August 2019

Coral Island Blackpool - review


#GIFTED

Blackpool holds a special place in our hearts. It was the place where Lee and I had our first holiday together when we first started dating back when we were in a long distance relationship. Fast forward nearly 10 years, 2 kids and a 3rd on the way and we recently returned to Blackpool for a family holiday.


We enjoyed a few days at Blackpool, exploring the sights and attractions it has to offer to families. Walks along the famous promenade, eating ice cream on the pier, riding the trams which the kids thought was really cool and visiting the iconic Blackpool tower.


We also had a wonderful family day out at Coral Island Blackpool.

Coral Island
Coral Island is a pirate-themed family friendly indoor fun park filled with arcade games, slots, rides and so much more. With views of Blackpool’s beautiful beach it sits in the heart of Blackpool famous golden mile at the center of the promenade. 


Located near the central pier, close to the iconic Blackpool tower and a short walk to the SeaLife centre and Madame Tussauds, Coral Island is Blackpool's largest indoor free admission family friendly attraction. 

Standing out from the crowd, Coral Island has a signature style that is eye-catching and impossible to miss. The pirate-themed attraction features a spectacular skull and crossbones above the door looking out at the promenade. The striking adornment of all things pirate not only looks amazingly distinctive in the day but at night it is even more incredible with lights illuminating the Coral Island sign and dramatic skull.


As well as the main entrance on the promenade, there are numerous other entrances located around the building. To help navigate the piratey arcade haven there are also numerous maps located at Coral Island highlighting key places. Coral Island was spacious and easy to get around with the majority of the attraction accessible to those with limited mobility.


Thanks to its central location next to popular Blackpool attractions and prominence on the promenade you can easily get to Coral Island on the trams with a tram stop close by. Parking close to Coral Island can be found at Bonny Street car park.


Coral Island is not just a standard arcade amusement arcade. Accommodating the whole family it boasts arcade machines, games, rides, bingo, camel racing, prize grabbers and an over 18’s gaming area. 

Slot machines
With arcade game lights flashing all around the boys had a thrilling time playing on the 2p slot machines.


There were numerous 2p slot machines scattered around the place some of which were themed such as a Justice League 2p slot machine. There were also 10p slot machines too but we stuck with the 2p ones.

The boys loved putting in 2p’s in the hope of pushing lots of 2p’s down to be collected from the silver tray to put in their money pot. 


They were also on the edge of their seats hoping to win one of the many 50 ticket prize cards or keyrings in the machines. Much to their delight they won a 50 ticket prize card each. 


Most of the 2p slot machines also gave out Coral Island prize tickets when users managed to win 2p’s from the machines.


Both of the boys found lots of pleasure playing on the 2p slot machines, spending a great deal of time yet very little money playing on them. They were engrossed by the flashing lights, sounds and excitement of the 2p slot machines.


Camel Derby
Not long after we arrived at Coral Island the Camel Derby game caught the kid’s attention and they were keen to have a go. Having never played Camel Derby before (we’ve not got many, if any arcades where we live in Wales!) none of us knew how to play but quickly grasped what to do from watching the other players.


With prizes galore surrounding the game and lots of people playing it was a very enticing game. The fact that there is a winner with every Camel Derby race was also very appealing. Winners can trade their winning ticket for a small prize or save winning tickets up to cash in for the bigger prizes.


Camel Derby is an interactive game where for £1 you race your camel to try and reach the finish line before any of the other camels. To get your camel moving you roll three balls as fast as you can into a series of holes. The different holes influence how quick your camel runs with red being gallop, blue is canter and yellow a gentle trot.


The Camel Derby was a very busy game with people of all ages playing. All of us really enjoyed the game and I can see why it was so popular as it was lots of fun! Much to the boys’ delight I won a couple of times and they both got to pick a soft toy as a prize. Since we visited the boys have cherished the prizes, taking their soft toys to bed with them but there has been a little conflict as H is experiencing ‘buyers regret’ as he now wishes he had the fluffy tiger that T picked.


Prize Bingo
Offering fun for the whole family Coral Island has Prize Bingo where families are welcome. Blending traditional bingo with a modern twist their Prize Bingo has a traditional bingo caller combined with digital screens. As the numbers were called quickly we were all thankful that the bingo terminals auto-marked the cards if we simply touched the screen after each number was called.


We all had a few games and got caught up in the excitement of bingo especially when T and Lee both won a game each. Prize points for the games varied with each game with the bingo caller declaring the prize point amount before each round. I was pleasantly surprised that play cost 30p for 3 cards and impressed with the modern, clean bingo hall plus the fact that free refreshments were available as you played.


In my naivety I assumed the bingo prize points could also be redeemed in the main prize shop so we kept them to add to our collection of tickets but when we went to pick our prizes we were told they could only be used in the prize bingo hall which was unfortunately closed as we waited until close of day to get the prizes redeemed. As we were leaving early the next morning we never did manage to pick prizes for our bingo wins which was a shame but a lesson learnt.


Ghost Train
One of the rides available at Coral Island was a Pirates Quest Ghost Train. Located near Peggy’s Snack Bar the Ghost Train stood out from the blinking lights of the surrounding arcade thanks to its ghoulish sign.


T was very keen to go on it to see if it was scarier than those he has ridden at fairgrounds and theme parks. Facing his fears and wanting to be a ‘big boy’ like his older brother H insisted on going on the Ghost Train too. 

T loved the Ghost Train even though he admitted there were a few jump scares. H clung onto the cart for dear life around the track and found it scary but as soon as he was off he was full of smiles and wanted to go again. 


Unbeknownst to us on our first ride on the Ghost Train, the Coral Crusader Galleon that we rode in had a buzzer that we had to hit every time we saw a ruby in the dark depths of the ride. The kids thought this was great fun and it made the ride less scary for H, I only wish I had realised the aim of the Pirates Quest was to spot the hidden rubies the first time round.

The Pirates Quest Ghost Train cost riders £2 for a single rider or £3 for 2 riders. Tickets for the ride were available at the bottom of the stairs to the ride.


Pirate Flyer
Another family friendly ride at Coral Island is the Pirate Flyer. As the name suggests the ride is a pirate galleon that ‘flies’ around above the bustling, flashing lights of the arcade below. Cleverly designed the Pirate Flyer is a monorail located high above the arcade that takes pirates on a gentle voyage around Coral Island, even travelling through a pirates cove.


The colourful galleons seated up to four riders and features a safety bar to keep pirates safe as went on their exciting voyage. At the time we visited it cost £2 per rider or £3 for 2 riders. Tickets for the ride were available from the machines located at the entrance for the ride.


The kids loved the view of Coral Island and spotted a number of games they wanted to try from their mini pirate ship. They loved it so much that I lost count of the number of times they rode on the Pirate Flyer, with both of them declaring it their favourite ride at Coral Island, hence so many photos of them on it over both days we visited. 


They  especially loved using the pretend pirate guns to shoot at the targets in the pirate cove they travelled through and to shoot at me as they soared above me stood in the arcade. It was a fun-filled ride that made them feel like little pirates.


Arcade games
Throughout Coral Island was a wide variety of games to play on. From mini bowling to racing to shooters, there really was a game for everyone.


Being mad about racing they both loved the car and bike racing games.


They also had lots of fun playing shoot ‘em up style games such as Jurassic Park and the watertastic Ice Man.


The boys' favourite arcade game was Typhoon 4D where they could experience high speed racing and a haunted mine.


Mini bowling was also a huge hit, with the kids getting super excited when they hit a strike.


Kids ride
Being a huge fan of ride-ons H couldn’t resist a go on the Circus Ride where he opted to drive a jeep around the mini coaster track.


VR game
Being mad about gaming and technology the boys couldn’t resist a go on Coral Island’s VR game.


The VR game cost £3 per person which was more expensive than the majority of other games however considering the technology used and the unique experience I think it was very reasonable.

They loved putting on the VR goggles and entering the wacky world of Virtual Rabbids. It was great fun watching them get engrossed in the thrills and spills, turning their heads to keep up with the 360 ̊ views. They both declared it was an incredible experience.


Over 18’s area
Offering something for everyone of all ages, Coral Island also has an over 18’s area. The adult gaming area provided a child free place for adults to enjoy gambling machines and the Coral Island casino.

Whilst we did not go into the area and concentrated on family fun I was impressed that the area was cleared marked as being only suitable for over 18’s and there were friendly staff at each entrance ensuring only those over 18 entered.

Tickets and prizes
Many of the games and slot machines offered the chance to win tickets which could be redeemed for prizes.


To redeem the tickets won on games and machines you simply went to the dedicated redeem ticket area where you fed the tickets into a machine which automatically counted all of the tickets before printing out a receipt with the number you have won.


To claim a prize you then take your ticket receipt to the prize shop and select a prize/s that cost the number on your ticket receipt. The range of prizes to choose from was huge, with something for everyone. Prizes ranged from small ticket items such as sweets, bubbles and toy cars to large ticket items such as tech items and expensive toys.


We saved our tickets up to divide between the boys and wrongly assuming I could cash out the prize bingo tickets at the same prize shop we thought the boys had 400 tickets each. However once we got to the prize shop the member of staff kindly explained we could not use the bingo prize tickets so we only had 400 tickets to share between the boys. Being a lovely, kind big brother T let H have all of them which H used to pick a toy fire engine truck.

Food and drink at Coral Island
Coral Island boasts 5 family friendly restaurants plus a takeaway chippy. 
* The Buccaneer - set onboard Captain Jack’s pirate galleon with pirate portraits on the walls and treasure hidden in the floorboards The Buccaneer is the perfect pirate haven for enjoying tasty delights. It serves generous portions of family favourites such as lasagne and pirates platter of chicken tikka with rice plus they offer a three meat Sunday carvery every Sunday.
* Captain Jack’s Bar and Grill - offering food hot off the grill Captain Jack’s bar and grill is the perfect places for pirate to enjoy stacked burgers, ribs and sharing desserts.
* Peggy’s Snack Bar - served at the counter Peggy’s Snack Bar offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Opening from 9.30am till late thanks to the kids eat free promotion a family of 4 can eat for under £10.
* Big Fish Trading Co. - serving award winning fish and chips with premium Icelandic fish sourced from sustainable sources. Customers can dine in at takeaway prices.
* Traditional Chippy - offers traditional fish and chip favourites including fish and chips with mushy peas to sausage and chips. Their premium fish is sourced from sustainable stock and customers can dine in at takeaway prices.
* Prom Chippy - situated on Blackpool’s promenade the Prom Chippy offers a condensed fish and chip menu for takeaway.

Kids Eat Free
Coral Island offer an amazing kids eat free promotion. Available all day, everyday at all of the Coral Island restaurants kids eat free. 

Customers can get one free under 10 kids meal with a paid adults meal as long as there is one child present per free kids meal claimed.


With this amazing offer I was not surprised that when we visited all of the restaurants looked very busy with many families dining at Coral Island. I think their kids eat free offer is a fantastic deal and makes the place even more family friendly as it helps make eating out affordable.

Captain Jack’s Bar and Grill
During our visit to Coral Island we ate at Captain Jack’s Bar and Grill.


The pirate theme of Coral Island was also showcased in Captain Jack’s which was decorated in a shipwrecked style. Colourful parrots adorned the ceilings, tables were made with rustic wood as if they were made with the shipwrecked remains of a galleon and the bar would have been at home on a desert island. Whilst we waited for our food the kids were given pirate themed colouring-in sheets.


There was a lovely selection of food available from the menu including sharing starters with the main meals consisting of wholesome food such as burgers and ribs. The only negative thing about the menu was that chips were the only choice to go with the meals but this would not be an issue for most people and I only noticed it as I have to be careful with my diet being diabetic and pregnant.


The kids menu included nuggets, burgers and pasta meals. As mentioned above the kids meals were included in the kids eat free promo offer.


The food was excellent, extremely tasty and well cooked. We were all very happy with our food and left Captain Jack’s Bar and Grill with very full bellies.


Being lovers of desserts the boys both had a dessert each, with T opting for ice cream and marshmallows and being a chocoholic H had the Chocolate Fudge Cake without the ice cream or cream. They both were in dessert heaven.


The service at Captain Jack’s was amazing. The staff were friendly and helpful and the food was served swiftly. We observed that the staff cleared tables quickly, with the restaurant looking clean, tidy and well kept at all times. 

Coral Island staff
All of the Coral Island staff we encountered during our visit were incredibly friendly, caring, patient, polite, approachable, great with the kids and helpful.


A few times we had issues with games and machines, such as prize getting stuck or game swallowing our money but not working. When we did have a problem we simply informed a member of staff who either were happy to help straightaway or radioed for assistance with another member of staff promptly coming to help. We had no issues finding a member of staff when we needed and regularly saw managers walking around keeping an eye on the smooth running of the attraction. Once we asked a manager for help and he swiftly sorted out the problem. 

The whole arcade was clean, tidy and well maintained which is a credit to the staff as I regularly saw staff members walking around ensuring any mess was dealt with and machines were topped up with prizes and tickets. The toilets which there were plenty of were also very clean and tidy. Also available in numerous quantities were machines and desks to get change for the games.


The hard working staff deserve big praise for helping run a fantastic attraction.

Whilst there we also noticed that generously Coral Island were also running a competition to win a Mini with the competition running until the 23rd of August when a winner will be picked.


We had such a great time at Coral Island that we spent over 5 hours having lots of family fun there. We loved it so much we even returned on our last night at Blackpool, staying for hours again until it closed at 11.30pm. I did not expect to stay so late with the kids on my own, assuming that after a certain time it would not be as child friendly but I was pleased to be proven wrong. In fact there were also a number of other families with young children who were making the most of Coral Island fun until the last minute. Even though it was busy all the way until closing time it felt safe and the kids had a fantastic time.


Coral Island is open all year round. Opening and closing times vary but when we visited it opened at 9.30am and closed at 11.30pm.

With so much under one roof and being amazing family fun whatever the weather we loved Coral Island. Being mad about pirates the boys loved the pirate theme which was superbly done, so much so it was as if we had entered a pirate hideaway with amazing loot in the form of games, coin machines, rides and interactive entertainment. 


We cannot wait to go back to Coral Island on our next trip to Blackpool as it is a true treasure of a family friendly attraction.


* We were gifted a VIP Coral Island loot bag and complimentary meal at Captain Jack's Bar and Grill in return for this review. All opinions are our own *

9 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a fab time at coral island-i've not been to blackpool ages so thanks for the reminder to visit.

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  2. Looks like you had a great time. My kids love visiting arcades and would spend all day on the 2p machines given half a chance

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  3. What a fun trip out. I don't know why we haven't visited Blackpool yet, it's just a long way up for us but I think my children would love it, and Coral Island in particular.

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  4. We have visited here a few times, but never eaten there yet, the food looks good so might have to change that when I return! x

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  5. Now that is one exciting adventure you guys experienced. Sounds like a great place to visit with the family and lots of interesting things to check out.

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  6. Looks like you had a fab time at coral island for sure. Also, looks like you enjoyed a lovely meal too xx

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  7. I haven't been to Blackpool since my eldest was 3 which must be about 16 years ago n ow, however I think are younger three would love it!

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  8. We love Blackpool and the Coral Island is somewhere we are eager to return, we too have many wonderful memories visiting Blackpool.

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