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Coral Island, Blackpool
Coral Island (Blackpool)
Member Name: louisechackett
Coral Island (Blackpool)
Advantages: best arcade in Blackpool
Disadvantages: Gets very busy, things break a lot
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?!
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.
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!
Summary: The best in Blackpool but money won't go far