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12/12-12/14 - MGM and Celine Dion

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Falcon_Rob, Dec 16, 2003.

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  1. Falcon_Rob

    Falcon_Rob Flying Winnebago

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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    This trip to Vegas was a very quick weekend trip (Friday the 12th – Sunday the 14th) that was basically a 60th birthday present for my mom, with the main focal point being the Celine Dion show (A New Day) at Caesar’s Palace. My mom pretty much called the shots this trip. Since we were in Vegas for less than 48 hours, it just seems like one big blur, and I’ll just comment on different aspects instead of giving a day-to-day description.

    Flights:

    Flew America West from Columbus to Vegas, non-stop. Unlike my previous experience with this company, the flights on this trip were pretty good, except for taking off out of Columbus. On our ascent, we flew right through the wake of a C5-Galaxy military aircraft, and for about 2 or 3 seconds I experienced the worst turbulence that I’ve ever been through. It was quite unnerving, especially without any warning from the captain!

    Hotel:

    We stayed both nights at the MGM Grand hotel. I contacted Mr. Steinberg (biztrip.com) a couple of weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure he had an affect on our room assignment. Despite our LATE Friday night check-in, we were on the 27th floor in the Grand Tower with an excellent view of the South Strip (NYNY, Excaliber, Trop, Luxor, Mandalay Bay). I wouldn’t recommend ever using Hotwire.com to book a Vegas hotel room due to the lack of flexibility. However, in early October I noticed that a 4.5 star hotel for this weekend was going for $69/night on hotwire, so I went ahead and booked it and got the MGM! It turned out to be a GREAT price for a weekend rate, especially considering this weekend was the last days of the rodeo! There were cowboys EVERYWHERE!!

    I was very impressed with the level of service offered by the MGM, considering how huge it is! The airport check-in was nice, and the bell desk employees and housekeeping people were nice! The room was very nice, with marble floors in the bathrooms, a decent sized TV with plenty of channels. The beds were average (not even close to being as comfortable as at Monte Carlo). The obvious drawback to this hotel is the amount of walking you have to do once you’re in the hotel. With my mom, it was about a 10-15 minute trek from our room to the casino exit onto the Strip. Overall, we had a very pleasant stay at the MGM and would recommend it to anybody that doesn’t mind the size. Try to get a Grand Tower room though, since I’ve heard the Emerald Tower rooms aren’t as nice, and they are not located near the main lobby.

    Sites:

    Statosphere – This was my mom’s first trip to the Strat and my third. However, it was my first trip at night! We both loved the view, and I liked the view at night MUCH more than during the day!

    Bellagio – We actually visited the Conservatory twice. We went there during the day, and my mom liked it so much, we visited again at night to see it when all the lights were on! We also saw the fountain show at night, which was a first for my mom. Excellent as always!

    Meals:

    Stratosphere 24hr. café – We ate here after visiting the tower at about 1am. Our waiter was nice and hard-working, even though he had just about every table in the place. Everything else, from our wait in line to the price and quality of food was CRAP! Please stay away from this place!

    Paris breakfast buffet – EXCELLENT!!! At $13, it’s a bit pricey for a breakfast buffet, and the wait was about 40 minutes…..but it was all worth it! I simply couldn’t get enough of the fresh berries, and the made-to-order crepes were very tasty! I’d like to go back since I stuffed myself before getting to over half of what they had to offer!

    Canaletto at the Venetian – This was the official birthday dinner before seeing Celine Dion. The restaurant is located inside St. Mark’s Square, and our table was in the “outdoor†seating area. Mom really enjoyed the square when we were there in July, so I made a reservation at Canaletto so that she could enjoy the atmosphere while eating. The first half of the meal was kind of ruined due to a fashion show in the Square that played VERY LOUD music! However, that ended before we got our main entrée, and the opera singers took over, which was much more pleasant! The service and meals were excellent. Mom had a veal dish while I had seafood lasagna. The waiter caught on that it was her birthday, so he stuck a candle in our dessert, which was fun! I’d recommend this restaurant, especially since the bill was only about $72, including two glasses of wine, two entrees and one dessert that we split.

    ESPN Zone at NYNY– We ate here because I had the munchies at about 11:50pm Saturday night. The food was overpriced, but good. We had good service too, since we got there about 10 minutes before they stopped serving food. The waitress didn’t seem annoyed at all, even though we were her only table and were probably keeping her from ending her shift.

    Studio Café at MGM – We ate breakfast here Sunday morning before the flight. Everything here was MUCH better than the café at the Strat. The prices were way too high in my opinion, but it was still a decent breakfast.

    Shows:

    A New Day starring Celine Dion – Let me preface this by saying that by no means am I a Celine Dion fan. Even after seeing her live, I still have no thoughts about going out and buying any of her CD’s. If it wasn’t for my mom, I would have NEVER considered going to this show.

    Ok, now that my disclaimer is out of the way, this show was absolutely spectacular!!! After all of the ticket master gouging fees and taxes, each ticket cost at least $140, and these were the second cheapest in the venue! I DID NOT FEEL LIKE I WAS RIPPED OFF! Of course my mom enjoyed it even more than I did! The show was just that good! It lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes. I could try to describe the production value, the special effects (including the huge LED screen), the quality of the dancers, costumes, props, music, etc., but I would not do it justice. You’ll just have to see it for yourself. There really wasn’t a bad seat in the house, even though the place holds about 4,000 people. I bought the tickets over a month ago, and I think every performance is a sellout, so get your tickets early if you are planning on attending.

    Other thoughts:

    Gambling results: -$80 for me and -$20 for mom. I didn’t do much gambling since mom was deciding what to do the whole weekend, and I knew I’d be back to Vegas in a week!

    The MGM sports book was kind of nice. The sports area was completely separate from the horse racing area, which was nice when watching the NFL games Sunday morning.

    Cowboys are cool! Drunk cowboys are cool and funny! Really drunk cowboys lose some of their coolness, but are still funny! Really plastered and wasted cowboys suck.....especially at the airport!!

    It seems like I see more and more 6:5 blackjack tables every time I go to Vegas. MGM had its share, as did most of the other strip properties that I was in. The BOARDWALK has now been influenced by the dark side of the force, as about 75% of their tables were 6:5 when we passed through there!

    Cool cabbies deserve good tips, quiet cabbies or cabbies in a bad mood don’t…it’s just that simple!

    People talk about the dry heat in Vegas not being so bad, but is there such thing as dry cold?? It got down into the high 30s at night, but it did not feel that bad at all! I walked around in only my sport coat Saturday night and was not bothered by the cold whatsoever!

    I only drank 3 alcoholic beverages the entire weekend!

    Airbus 320 vs. C5-Galaxy in a fight..…..my money’s on the C5!!!

    I deliberately planned two trips this December….one for my mom and one for me. I couldn’t help myself since the hotel prices are so cheap and I have a TON of vacation time to burn (plusses of being a state employee). I am flying back to Vegas this weekend (Friday – Tuesday) and staying 2 nights downtown and 2 nights on the Strip. I guarantee the amount of blackjack and the amount of alcohol consumed will be MUCH greater during this upcoming trip! Look for another trip report sometime next week!

    Thanks a million for reading! Feel free to post a message or email me with any questions.

    Rob
     
  2. cbw4lsu

    cbw4lsu Tourist

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the report. My wife and I are going for an early anniversary next month, and we are trying to decide between Celine and one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. I appreciate your report on Celine. Where did you sit during the Celine show? I know you said it didn't look like there was a bad seat, but if you sat in 2nd Mezz and still said that it would make me feel a little more comfortable never having been there myself, because that's about all we can afford for a ticket.

    Thanks for your help and good luck with your next trip.
     
  3. Falcon_Rob

    Falcon_Rob Flying Winnebago

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    cbw,

    Our seats were in the 1st Mezzanine section, way over right next to the wall. I really didn't think they were good seats, until the show started. I don't know what the deal was with the sound system, but even though we were next to the wall, it sounded like she was singing directly to us! It didn't sound like her voice, or the music, was coming out of specific speakers. It's kind of weird to explain, but it sounded like a great surround sound in your living room.

    Since I didn't sit in the upper mezzanine section, I can't specifically recommend those seats, BUT I'D BE SHOCKED if you weren't happy with even the cheapest seats....which aren't very cheap!

    Another tidbit of info. is that the show's creator/producer/director or whatever he is (Dragone) was with Cirque du Soleil for years before leaving and creating A New Day, so it's kind of like seeing a Cirque show and a Celine Dion concert, all at the same time.

    It's really good stuff!!!
     
  4. Billy from TX.

    Billy from TX. Tourist

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    Sounds like you got yourself a cool mom.
    Ive tried time after time to get my mom to go to Vegas with us, but she want have it. She loves to gamble. She drives to Shreveport all the time, but she has a serious fear of flying. I even offered to pay for airfare and hotel plus promised her I would'nt go to my favorite spot in Vegas. (Jean airport to skydive) But she don't want any part of it. So maybe one day we'll go on a very long road trip.

    Yes, there is a such thing as a dry cold. I experienced it when I was stationed at Ft. Hood and also some training we did in Boise, Id.
     
  5. cbw4lsu

    cbw4lsu Tourist

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    thanks rob :D
     
  6. NEON

    NEON Tourist

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    Good to hear that you had a great time and it was a great birthday gift for your mom!

    I look forward to meeting you next Monday and when we do I definately am hoping we find some decent low limt "true paying" BJ tables and hope to find both our pockets full of chips!!! [​IMG]

    T- 77 hours and anxiously waiting! [​IMG]
     
  7. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Sounds like there are some stories you're not sharing, Rob...

    [ December 17, 2003, 07:40 AM: Message edited by: doctor_al ]
     
  8. LV Terry

    LV Terry Captain Flop'N Fold

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    put my stack on the Starlifter!!
     
  9. Falcon_Rob

    Falcon_Rob Flying Winnebago

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    We ran into A LOT of "cowboys" during the trip (actually I'm just referring to anyone with a cowboy hat on and who was obviously in town for the rodeo). The HUGE majority of these folks were cool and friendly people....whether they've had a few or not.

    However.....while waiting in line to check-in at the airport (about 1:30pm), this good ole boy in front of us could barely stand upright and wreaked of JD! In their infinite wisdom, the two girls he was with left him in line with their luggage (as well as his) to go to the bathroom. So everytime the line moved, he would move only his luggage forward, always forgetting about the girl's luggage. When my mom and I moved the other luggage for him, he realized we were helping and immediately became my mom's best friend....getting about 6 inches from her face and talking to her like they were the oldest, bestest friends. After diverting his attention from her to me (sort of), his gals returned and took over luggage duty.

    I was pretty annoyed until I realized that some poor sap was probably gonna have to sit next to this guy for a whole flight! Fortunately, he was NOT on our plane!
     
  10. Billy from TX.

    Billy from TX. Tourist

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    aaahhhhh shucks Rob!


    [​IMG]
     
  11. VegasDon

    VegasDon Tourist

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    Rob, regarding your "cowboy" stories; I live in
    South Texas. All I can say is, "welcome to my world man, welcome to my world!"
     
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