It’s the start of the school holidays and although the Great British weather had already let us down we weren’t going to let a little (torrential) rain ruin our trip to Blackpool. Thankfully Coral Island saved the day, and our weekend, providing the perfect entertainment hub for the kids (and big kids).
I was kindly asked to review what Coral Island had on offer and report back to you lovely lot. Having had such a great time we went back for a second day too! I mean that Camel Derby is so addictive, mostly because Lucy was really good at it and I’m so competitive. Anyway here’s my honest run down of Coral Island and a few little tips should you be thinking of visiting.
Set Sail for Coral Island
Coral Island is easy to find on Blackpool’s Central Promenade. It’s a short walk from the Tower and a few minutes walk from the Central Pier. The building is just in front of Houndshill Shopping Center and around the corner from Primarni. There’s also a big car park (Bonnie Street) and main bus station right next door too.
Food me Hearties
What amazing value! The family meal deal that’s available in ALL RESTAURANTS means that if yo start your day with a breakfast at Peggy’s Family Snack Bar, a family of four can eat for under £10.
The Offer: Kids Eat Free, All Day, Every Day in All Coral Island Restaurants. One free under 10 kids meal per one paid adults meal.
The well themed Buccaneer Family Bar & Restaurant is styled like a galleon ship serving all the family favourites plus a Sunday carvery. A little bird told me that the ribs at Captain Jack’s Bar & Grill are amazing, with a great view of the sea whilst you tuck into a freshly made burger.
We dined at one of the two award-winning fish & chip restaurants. Ashley was on hand to help if we had any dietary requirements and I can honestly say the quality was fantastic – even rivaling some of my favourite Norfolk haunts. Like most coastal chippy’s you do have to pay extra for sauce (35p). So if you have a Tommy-K addict like mine make sure you don’t use all your change on the slot machines. On Sunday morning we were looked after by Pat in Peggy’s Snack Bar. She’s the most lovely warm lady who proudly served us one of the biggest English breakfast’s I’ve ever seen! Definitely a full English and a welcome treat on a cold and wet day.
Keeping the Kids Happy
The first thing you notice when you enter Coral Island is the monorail – The Pirate Flyer. High above the Coral Island crowds’ you aim the Blunderbuss Thunder Guns at the targets and sailors below. Wilba absolutely loved it and even Nanny Windy had a go. At £2 a go or 2 riders for £3 I thought it was fairly priced. The Ghost Train was The boys’ favourite! Nanny definitely didn’t go on this one, but the rest of us all enjoyed collecting the jewels as we squealed our way through the dark. A live actor half way through nearly finished this land lubber off.
There was another carriage ride for the kids and a VR game with state of the art technology. The Camel Racing was Lucy’s favourite because she won. Plus there’s the most up-to-date family Bingo I’ve ever seen.
Touch screen terminals and lovely staff with complimentary drinks and snacks meant we stayed in there for ages. It was worth it though as we managed to win a few times and got some really lovely prizes for the kids.
We were really impressed with the quality and vast selection of ticket prizes on offer. Tickets from the Bingo are separate from standard gaming but there’s something for everyone in both prize-funds without having to collect too many. Andy was very happy with his Dr Who mug and fridge magnet from our Bingo winnings. What’s also great is seeing the number of winners on the grabber machines. £2 was all it took to get a plush Woody doll for Wilba.
I recommend heading for the bank of grabber machines down the main walkway near the entrance to the Pirate Flyer. As these get the most use they’re more likely to ‘pay-out’.
Although we didn’t go in, whilst getting Bo Poop to sleep I went past the exclusive ‘over 18’ adult area. It was a lot quieter than most areas and customers were taking advantage of the free food and beverage offer. It’s worth keeping an eye on the website’s promotion page for the latest ‘free spin’ offers, fruit tournaments and party nights. The Casino is the only one in Blackpool which doesn’t require a membership and they have a ‘Walk Right In Open Door Policy’.
Staff & Facilities
Although I was there to review, only one member of staff really knew it and I can honestly say that everyone was lovely and helpful. Even the guy at the prize hut faced with an enormous queue of ticket-wielding teens was calm. He was well mannered and told me not to rush when choosing our loot.
The toilets are free to use and regularly cleaned with disabled and baby change facilities – something that can’t be said for its competitors. We made that mistake when we went into ‘Funland’ for comparison (oh the irony). Put it this way, there wasn’t any ‘fun’ in Funland! No wonder the ‘n’ was missing off the sign. ‘FU Land’ said it all and just proved that Coral Island was just streets ahead.
There was plenty of staff to help when the inevitable happens and your toy on the 2p machine got stuck or a machine plays up. The guys on the Camel Derby were fun and witty and the bingo team were so professional and great with the kids.
Caroline who runs the amusements saved the day when Wilba lost her Hornicorn (as she calls it) during a nap. She found her a replacement that was exactly the same which she really didn’t have to. And it wasn’t just us either, a little girl wasn’t tall enough for a ride so a small toy made the girl much happier. That sort of customer care wont cost the company much but it’s these little touches that’ll make families come back time and time again. The staff want you to have a good time and make sure you’re well treated. It’s obviously a business but it’s a thriving one and definitely much more than just an amusement arcade.
We were gifted the visit and given complimentary tickets to enjoy the rides. But as always my words are my own.