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Atlantic City or bust...

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by jgates8, Jul 8, 2012.

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  1. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    And off we go………….

    Thanks to CET properties for the addicting I can’t leave my computer until I get my 11 entries for today cause I just might win game. I was basically drugged out on that game!!!!

    One Saturday morning while I was sitting doing nothing & being totally lazy – too lazy to even get up & stick a k-cup in the Keurig lazy, I decided to do my spins. Didn’t have my glasses on & up pops the instant winner logo. Now I knew what the prizes were so I was just trying to see the numbers so I knew if it was Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. Couldn’t see the dollar sign??? So I dug out my glasses & put them on. ‘You have won a 2 night trip to Atlantic City’. Say WHAT?? This to the sarcastic person who had indicated on the boards that she really had no desire to go to AC so I’d probably win the trip. Well guess what………………

    My DH was sitting in the recliner, also in lazy mode (but he had worked all night so he had a valid reason). First he indicated he would like to go with me. After about an hour of that he finally said ‘And what would I do there while you gambled?’ I just said, ‘sit at the bar & look at the scenery walking by’. He felt there were a lot easier places to do that than to have to fly to New Jersey to gawk at legs & bosoms. I told him he had until Monday morning to decide for sure but by Sunday he said ‘no’. So I asked my mom. She loves to travel, although nerve damage in her back & lack of cash has made this a lot harder for her in recent years. She agreed & stopped in at work on Monday to get her affidavit completed. I sent them back via Priority so I had delivery confirmation. It took a few weeks to get contact back, but I finally did & called to make our reservations.

    Figuring out when to go became a slight issue. My grandpa (in his 90’s & my mom’s dad) had also just died. As her baby sister (my age) & her sons were all across the country we needed to also schedule a memorial service everyone could get to without paying thousands in airfare. I figured that the weekend following this might be a good ‘de-stresser’ for mom & get her mind back onto fun things. So we booked for June 15th, 16th & 17th. Passport Travel was awesome in booking flights. We were allowed to choose any airport & any flight - $700 max per person. She was very clear in letting me know that if we wanted a more expensive flight we could do it & just pay the difference ourselves. So we did not need to travel farther to a cheaper airport, etc. Flight would go into Philly. Normal human beings would take the train to AC. However, with her disabilities I elected to rent a car as I found one for about $80 for the weekend (National). I just wasn’t sure about getting her, walker, purses, suitcases, etc. through the train station to switch trains etc.

    Passport was great about booking us the earliest flight out – 7:05 on American. This would get us into Philly at 11:35 or so. Yeah – be in AC by 1 pm…or so we thought. We drove down to the town with the regional airport the night before & had a nice meal at Red Lobster. Room at the Microtel for about $63. Up early & at the airport by 6:30 or so. Patiently waiting for plane……….and waiting……….and waiting. Pretty soon it becomes apparent that we will NOT make our connection so she confirmed us on the next flight before we ever left LaCrosse. Thank goodness she did this – we did miss the other flight by about TWO minutes. (So disgusted). And then our flight was actually overbooked by 1 person. Had she not confirmed us, we would probably have had a longer delay. So all in all about a 2-hour delay. This put us in Philly at about 1:30. Shuttle to Rental Facility – the wheelchair attendant pushed her right down to the boarding area for the rental shuttles & waived the National guy down for us. Hopefully the $5 tips were acceptable enough? (I saw others not tipping at all for wheelchair service so hope it was enough).

    We were dropped off within feet of the Emerald Aisle so I choose a car & cooled it down & pulled over a couple spaces for her to hop in. Of course this now put us directly in the middle of the entire city of Philadelphia (maybe the entire state?) leaving for a weekend at the Jersey Shore evidently. It took us well over an hour just to get out of the traffic jams in Philly. By the time we made it to AC it was after 4 pm. So much for that full afternoon of plans we had.

    I had called concierge at Harrah’s Marina (this was the hotel selection for the trip – no choices) & they had transferred me to a company that they did business with for scooters. Outstanding service. They delivered a portable Go-Go scooter to the hotel. We called him when we were 10 minutes out & he was waiting to walk up to the car & help mom out at valet. I had planned to put scooter in car so he showed me how to ‘break it down’ etc., but we never ended up doing that. We just used the Jitney bus to go to the Boardwalk on Saturday.

    Standard Queen room – not in one of the new towers – which was probably a LOT quieter on the weekend anyway. Our room actually had good ‘solid’ walls so I could hear a few peeps from the room next door but nothing major & it was easy to sleep. However, the alarm clock was unplugged when we got there & the way the plug was set up I would have had to pull the mattress out to fix it – was hoping housekeeping would but no luck. Not the end of the world but just irked me a bit. Also only ONE garbage can in the room? Usually one under the desk & one in bathroom – no – only the bathroom one. When we went to a Days Inn for a car show in Minneapolis the following weekend – same thing! Small fridge in the TV/armoire cupboard. Ice machine broken on our floor which didn’t bother me a bit but did some of the drunks trying to fill up their beer coolers lol!!! I was wondering if they might be broken ‘intentionally’ on the weekends to prevent overuse & abuse!

    Otherwise, room was fine. Carpet moderately worn but clean - as expected in my opinion for a busy hotel. Beds actually great – very comfortable for a hotel bed. I really would have no problem or objection staying in an equivalent room again. My rooms at St. Louis have been nicer and a Flamingo GO room is nicer, but VERY decent room. Not worth the $330 a night they quote on the weekends, but if fools will pay it, they will charge it. I think there was a coffee maker on the bathroom counter also – I just don’t do in-room coffee! View was just of marina but still a nice look out the window – 8th floor I believe.

    Antsy, Antsy we headed down to play. After a couple hours of getting our fix it was time to eat. Never really had much for lunch – stopped at an Oasis on the toll road to make a bathroom stop & had some chicken strips there I believe. So later on we headed into Bill’s Bar & Burger for supper. We actually would have really enjoyed McCormick & Schmick’s but at a 2/1 redemption ratio I just didn’t feel like burning comp dollars on it (even though I had enough). And after the stressful flying day I didn’t feel up to Mexican. Bill’s actually was a great choice. It was of course slightly high priced for a burger joint, but you expect that at a casino resort. We each had a burger & shared a malt – delicious!!! I think this was where I asked for A1 & they didn’t have it for my burger – but they brought BBQ sauce which at least gave it some kick. Felt like running back to McCormicks & asking to borrow a bottle of A1!!!

    I really enjoyed the large areas of non-smoking sections in the casino. Made it very comfortable for me to play. My smoking mother though would have been a lot happier at a casino you could smoke throughout, although she found tons of machines she loved in the smaller smoking areas. I really couldn’t win on a thing, although when I thought I was done for the night I would win some back to manage to keep going again for awhile. I wanted to play the new bank of Grease machines but VERY busy. Was finally able to get on them about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday night.

    When I first tried to find my way around the casino it was confusing to me & seemed very large. Made it a bit uncomfortable starting out. Once I finally got my bearings, I was fine & it was then easy to find my way around.
    The beverages were ordered at the machine at Harrah’s – Caesars didn’t have that – not sure about Ballys. I actually really liked that & twice ended up with a Pina Colada that someone ‘abandoned’ before the CW arrived with it. Same drink – 2 nights in a row LOL!!! The drink service once you ordered was very nice – never any significant wait at all. Also each bank of machines was labeled with a letter & # - A7. Figured out this was for the CWs delivering drinks as it printed out the ‘receipt’ for the tray of drinks they were delivering with the bank # & the machine #. However, it also made it great for letting your travel partner know where you were in the casino so they could find you. I would really like it if they started this in Vegas – or at least went to the system Rio uses. I saw a lot of people confused & just hailing down the delivery girls – they would stop & help them place their first order. One indicated they told them during training it was a 12 month learning curve – she said it was really bad at first but now it was really going smoothly.

    Breakfast Saturday morning was at Sammy D’s – this was a 1/1 redemption – yeah!! I ordered the Deli Skillet – 2 scrambled, Pastrami, Swiss, 1000 Island Dressing, Rye Toast. ($15 for TR members). Pricey yes, but a lot of food. One of those restaurants where if you order right, 3 people could easily share 2 meals. I have absolutely no recollection of what mom ordered. I obviously needed coffee………………

    Off to play for a little while – I window shopped a tad bit in the walkway area, but not seriously.

    Decided it was time to head down to the Boardwalk. This was originally planned for Friday but with the missed flight it didn’t happen. We waited for a Jitney bus – there were big line-ups for these on Saturday afternoon & some near pushing at the bus behind. We had a line of people yet waiting to get on our bus & the other bus pulled up behind. Instead of waiting till we pulled away to board the remaining people in our line who were waiting at the marked area, he opened his door where he was waiting & all the other people just walking up ran & got on. These are small buses & it doesn’t take much to fill them up – so the people in line at our bus stop were NOT happy. Jitney was helpful in getting mom & scooter on board, although our driver wasn’t very familiar with procedure or was just lazy & initially wanted us to wait for another bus. But he finally gave in. On the way back the first bus didn’t have room for scooter but he asked where we were going & radioed to make sure another bus would be there within a couple minutes – so better service on way back.

    We got dropped off at Caesars – I liked the variety of machines but to be honest I just didn’t get thrilled at all with the casino set-up. I was actually glad we were at Harrah’s – I just liked the layout & the atmosphere a LOT better than Caesars or Ballys. After a short fix there (think I put on about 100 points?) we walked up to the north end of the Boardwalk. After a few minutes outside & unable to locate my sunglasses we stopped at the $1 store on the water side – Foster Grants! in the sunglasses box! Same type I pay $20+ for at Walgreens! I should have bought a couple more pairs at that bargain price. I assumed mine were on the bathroom counter in the room. Little did I know they had somehow turned sideways in the ‘excess’ area at the bottom of my new Coach bag – I had them all the time. Also bought mom a $1 hat with a funny saying to keep her head from frying in the sun. It was warm & bright!! Stopped at a couple junk shops & fudge shops. Bought some taffy for my best friend & a couple pashima type shawl shirts for cheap, cheap. Would love to explore more of the Boardwalk heading south sometime. So disappointed we lost Friday afternoon so not enough time. The Boardwalk is the type of area I love – like the cheesy shops on Fremont & the strip in Wisconsin Dells – my DH HATES this stuff. I love it.
    We headed into Wild West Casino – showed mother where it was being blocked off & not really sure what they were doing with it yet. I really liked the theme there & would have loved to have stayed & played there when it was fully operational. Now just front area open so we headed onto real Ballys. The buffet was still open – one of the last couple of days at WW, but we weren’t quite hungry yet. I hate to say I don’t even know if we had lunch that day? After the filling breakfast at Sammy D’s we may have just skipped it.

    Ballys I ended up spending $100 – lost nearly all of that right away & dug into a second $100 – that was disappearing like water in the Sahara & I figured I was ready to leave – finally hit to win that back on a mirror reels machine with a ton of free spins. But again probably racked up 100 credits – at least 75. Tried to figure out if there was anywhere we wanted to eat at Ballys – no – back to Caesars – no. Figured we would take the bus & if we couldn’t think of anything else we would head back to the Burger Bar. We could easily share another malt!!!

    Relaxed at the machines for awhile & then decided the buffet at Harrah’s would do the trick. With no Platinum lines & masses of people for a big 7Star event with live performances that weekend, it was slightly busy. We waited 20 minutes or so?, so that wasn’t too bad. Hard to move even that mini-scooter through the roped lines they had. Another lady in a scooter (not a Diamond member either) just came up the right side in the closed line with her entourage behind her & cut right into our line at the junction. The initial cashier commented that she could see who was at the end of that line & she was not seating them until after that person was seated, but the other hostess didn’t realize she had just cut in front of 60 people & did seat them first. The lady even made comments that she didn’t have to wait because she was handicapped. Umm…..no……..doesn’t quite work that way.
    Waterfront Buffet was very good – very enjoyable with a pretty good variety of food to choose from. They had cooked to order steaks but I will be honest – the cook didn’t really keep track very well as to what ones were prepared what temp – my MR turned into MW. So I only ate a few bites of it. But tons of other great choices. Server was pleasant & they actually had A1 here! And comp ratio was 1/1.

    We rolled ourselves out of the buffet & back onto the casino floor. I was tired from the heat outside, the walk on the Boardwalk & being stressed out between work, the funeral, the flight problems etc. But dang it I wanted to play. I actually went upstairs & laid down for a couple hours & then came back down again. I didn’t dare doze off or I would have been out for the night. Back down to the casino around 10 pm & off to lose my money. Played a few games we don’t have at home, played some that we do – it’s nice when at least they pay off a bit once in awhile so you can keep going. Around home lately, wins are few & far between. Finally around 1 or 1:30 a.m. I was able to hit Grease. Actually ended up around $100 or $200?? on this machine which kept my trip from being a disaster – hit most of the bonuses but not all. I had a blast playing it & hope that I can find a seat on it in Vegas. Finally I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer so I just gave up & headed for bed. No idea when mom finally made it up there but I heard her snoring at one point so I knew she was back.

    I had mental deadlines in my head – figured I would rather be at the airport early than have any problems. So I gave us 4 hours to get to Philly airport before our flight. So we had to head out at 1pm. One would think that was a good plan. However, then we hit a traffic back-up on the toll road with traffic moving approximately 8 to 15 mph. After about an hour & fifteen minutes I was starting to freak out totally. I figured our flight was trash & decided the cheapest way to get home would probably be a one way rental. What the hey – it’s only 1049 miles – and we know that one way rentals are a RIP OFF. But I still figured it would be cheaper than buying 2 one way tickets to the little airport we would be flying into. I had finally accepted that that was to be our fate when we managed to start moving in traffic again. I still think that a very minor fender bender was the problem – it appears everyone was just gawking at the two cars pulled over by the side of the road.

    After some loop de loops we found our way back into the rental car center (oh I yearn for the one in Vegas in places like this!). Onto the bus – luckily came quickly & we were off to the airport. I managed to get us all checked in when I realized that I had forgotten to ask about seats closer to the front for mom. (Recommendation of AA on phone as they stuck us in the BACK of the plane).

    I went back up & there was a very polite gate agent who moved us to row 8, chatted for a few minutes & said she would see us upstairs as she was working that gate also. At the gate there appeared to be nothing great to eat so I decided to go to Earl of Sandwich for something for us. Ok……………..we were at the A gates I believe & it is at D. DUMB MOVE. Oh well I got my exercise for the day. I plopped back down in the seat by mom & figured I would wait till we got on for the sandwich.

    Low & behold the gate agent came back over & told us she was forced to separate us – but in FIRST CLASS. I told her I thought we could handle it!!! WOW. Score. From the way I understood it, two people were on standby & both were able to make the flight but were evidently demanding they be seated together. Evidently they didn’t realize the stand-by seats were going to put them in FC if they just shut up. So she gave them our seats & put us in FC!! When we boarded it obviously took us some time to get down the hall & onto the plane. By the time I was getting our carry-ons into the overheads & trying to help mom settle in, another FC customer asked if we were together – I said yes, but just seated separately – she said no problem I am supposed to be next to her, I will just take your seat! So mom & I got to sit together & she took my window seat. What a sweetheart. I had a glass of wine just because I could lol.

    No delays at O’Hare & we were back in LaCrosse on schedule. Back to work on Monday morning.

    I really regret that this trip was so short. Would have loved to have had more time for things. Arrived about 4 or 4:30 Friday there & pulled out 1:00 Sunday to head back to Philly. If they would offer me a junket to AC I would seriously consider it, depending on where they put you. I was offered a free one at one time – lately any junkets have been $249 pp or a few weeks ago $249 for two to Tunica (that was a good price). If I have to pay $250 for a junket for one person, I would prefer to just pay my own flight as I can then schedule my own hotel, my own dates & my own flights – my rooms are normally comped anyway. So fingers crossed that a comped junket at some point appears on my offers page!

    I racked up about 910? Tier Credits I believe over the 2 days – my average is 400 to 450 normally so right on track. My September trip will have me back at Platinum by day 2 but no chance this year for Diamond unless some machine just keeps recycling & paying!!! Probably should have had mom play on my card also……. This may give me a day where I can spend a few hours at the Lions machine at MGM or maybe back to Bellagio to see if I can get back on their radar. I think I spent $600? However some of that cash was flowing out as tips - $5 to 4 different wheelchair people, toll fees, Jitney bus charges, etc.

    What would I like to do again?
    - Eat another meal at Sammy D’s – it was very good & would like to try something other than breakfast.
    - Have a nice meal & McCormick & Schmick (even at that awful 2/1 ratio- ugh)
    - Explore the south half of the Boardwalk – even if it is 73 more fudge shops, 16 more taffy shops & a bunch more junk shops!
    - Visit the outlet mall
    - Relax without feeling like the clock is ticking.
    - Walk on the beach – for some reason, even though I was planning on it, I never got out there.

    What would I not like to do again?
    - Drive from Philly Airport
    - Pay to 2/1 ratio on comps, lol. I'm a tightwad.

    Photo link – most are airplane pics – I dug out my small camera & told mom to take pics of whatever she wanted to – she is fascinated by the clouds & the patterns in the landscape below. But a couple pretty marina pics & beach pics.
    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=3CcNGLhuyYiw
     
  2. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    You and Mom are real troopers

    You went thru a lot for a two night stay. Sorry you couldnt stay longer.
    Glad you enjoyed Harrahs,you would never want to leave Mom alone late at night over on the Boardwalk.
    Youre right about the food places,definately pricey if not compted.
    Spend a week next time,plenty to see and do here besides casinos.
     
  3. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Was this really necessary? What purpose does it serve? The same can be said of many cities, enough already!

    jgates8, thanks for the TR, this drive to AC from Philly gets even worse on Fridays later in the afternoon if you can believe it. The drive back on Sunday is usually not that bad at 1:00 pm. Great win at the end scoring a first class upgrade. Too bad you could not spend some time on the beach.
     
  4. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    I know - from not really being all that thrilled about it, I now sit & wish for a good comp offer from them to go back lol!!
     
  5. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Excellent trip report. It sounds like both of you had a great time. Looking forward to my trip since the 1980s in a few weeks. Excellent score on the first class return flight! I miss getting those perks since I downgraded my status on United.

    I may try DIAD with the 3 play $1 9/6 JOB at Bally's. I'm debating the whole car thing after reading about the traffic issues though I still want to hit the Meadowlands and will only go there with a car (trains are around 10 hours there / back).

    Nebraska
    [YOUTUBE]M3eu1gW-bQ8[/YOUTUBE]
     
  6. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Great Trip Report

    Sounds like a icky drive to AC from Philly ..... but you two took it all in stride and made the best with what was handed to you :)

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    Was this really necessary?

    People can get stuck in traffic in any city.
     
  8. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    This can be a slow drive for about the first 20 miles until you get onto the Atlantic City Expressway during the afternoon commute from about 4:00 pm till 7:00 into NJ. Tune your car radio to AM 1060 "on the twos" for traffic reports and if you hear backups on the Walt Whitman bridge or the 42 Freeway, you will have a slow go. Friday afternoons during the summer are worse as folks head down the shore. Other times it is fairly painless.

    Its none of my business, but I have to ask, what's up in the Meadowlands that makes you want to drive two hours without traffic? This drive is no box of chocolates either.
     
  9. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    The Hambletonian will be run on Saturday. I've bet Harness since the 1980s and I've only been to one Triple Crown race. The more I think about it, the more I'm siding toward the train and taking a return trip down the road for the race. The free trip is only two days, which is also moving me toward the skip the race option (three or more and I'd still have a few days in AC).
     
  10. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    Why wont they give you an option to extend your stay?

    I really dont get it,the air is most likely the same and you'll either get compted in the hotel or pay.Either way youre there and gambling.Maybe I'm missing something here
     
  11. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    It's not a trip to "Sin City" unless there is a chance you can catch some CRABS!!!!:beer:
     
  12. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Many AC casinos have off track betting, but there is nothing like being at the track and screaming at your horse.
     
  13. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Trump plaza for sure has OTB and there is the Atlantic City Racecourse has OTB
     
  14. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I've been to all three thoroughbred Triple Crown races, all but one Breeders Cup races held at Churchill. I wanted to see the race in person, if reasonable.

    For Harness, I've only been to the Kentucky Futurity (Trotters) at the Red Mile and World Trotting Derby (now defunct) at DuQuion (former home of the Hambletonian). The Yonkers Trot completes the Triple Crown for Trotters (Cane Pace, Little Brown Jug and Messenger Stakes is the equivalent for Pacers).

    In the 1980s, we would fly to AC for $29 (leave from Midway at 6AM, return at Midnight) and get a shuttle to/from the AC airport, free buffet and a roll of quarters at the Taj Mahal. Those trips sadly came to an end when they stopped the junkets after the riverboats opened in Illinois. :cry:
     
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