(cross posted) Another epic trip report. Whenever I get home from Vegas, I don't think I have enough to warrant an actual trip report so I don't sit down and write one. Inevitably, about a week later, I sit at the computer and think I will put a short report up saying what we did. It shouldn't be that long, since we didn't do THAT much, but in the end my reports end up Very long. So grab a beer, a cup of coffee and go with me down memory lane.... This August trip was booked to celebrate my neice's 21st birthday on August 20th. Intially it was going to be me, dh, dd (22) and dn. My father and his wife joined us also. We were all booked into Bally's. I had written my first letter to Bally's management after our March trip celebrating a 50th birthday. I am starting to notice a trend here, lol. I have been to Vegas over 30 times and this was the first letter I have ever written regarding Vegas. My letter went up the food chain all the way to the top, with everyone acknowleding it and then forwarding it on. I had a suite last trip which was absolutely awful and then several other things were bad also. BUT I also mentioned several awesome things too, so it wasn't all bitchy. I was promised that "I would be taken care of" during my next trip and the apologized for the bad things and were going to try and fix them, yada yada. Great, so I thought, lol. About a week or so before our trip, hubbie and I realized that it would be awesome to spend several days together alone before our group arrived. He also had a conference call on Friday he couldn't miss and we would have been in the air then, so we changed our arrival time to Wed night instead, just the two of us. This left my DD and DN to get to the airport themselves and figure it out. Both have travelled alot, but never by themselves, and were a nervous wreck. We had my daughter (who isn't the best on directions) drive us to MKE airport so we could literally show her where to go, where to park, etc. She only got lost twice there with us in the car, lol. She got flustered when we told her to do something and the GPS said something else. Oh my. She drops us off and within seconds hubbie realized his crackberry had dropped in the car. Now my daughter has been busted texting and driving and the rule is now, her cell phone is to be OFF in the car. Of course, the one time she listens to us, is the one time we need her to answer her phone and turn around. Not to be. Hubbie still has a cell phone and hopes for good internet at the hotel until DD gets there and brings his crackberry. Not a good start. We had paid the $10 for Early Bird Seating. I am a nervous flyer as it is, and wanted to ensure we get a seat within the first ten rows, because I read somewhere about these being the safest. Hubbie had already "Seat Guru'd" what seats he wanted and we did get them. No one sat in the aisle seat, so we were very comfortable going there. My doc has prescribed me Xanax for flying but I don't take these on trips to Vegas, or I can't drink, and that's not happening on a Vegas trip. I had purchased drink vouchers off of eBay and we each had several drinks. Arrive and made an easy switch on to the Car rental bus and picked out our mini van. I know, I know, who the hell wants a mini van in Vegas, but with six people thats all we could really get, lol. We didn't want to have to get two cabs every time we went somewhere and we had LOTS of travelling plans, as my neice doesn't like to gamble and I had told her there was tons to do besides gambling. The deal was with hubbie is that if we rent a car, then I would only agree if we valet'd each and every time. I can't stand lugging luggage and walking sometimes a very long way if you park in the parking garages. Done. He insisted we use my Diamond card in the Diamond line every time, even though there was NEVER a line, lol. Check in was simple and easy as usual in the Diamond lounge, even though the regular check in line was crazy crazy long. Someone posted not too long ago, about making friends in that line and even having someone go and get drinks while the wait. I can totally see that happening, lol. All five of my nights were free due to marketing, but with all of the back and forth with management, I truly thought I would be "taken care of". I swear in one of my emails they stated they would put me in a renovated suite. I haven't bothered to go back and read them. I did ask if our room was renovated and was told it was, so yeah. I didn't ask if it was a suite, which I was supposed to have. Our room was 2310, not even half way down the hallway, so that was awesome, BUT it most certainly wasn't a suite. It probably had been renovated within the last several years, but due to so many people using it, it needed it again. It was bigger than some of the rooms I have seen, so we didn't do anything but shake our heads and laugh it off. I had posted my last trip report that rooms other people got on my 'friends and family' offer were MUCH nicer than what we had, ie, plasma tv's etc. This room didn't have a plasma tv or a seperate shower or anything, pretty much a basic room. Whatever. We are going to move hotels anyway. We have been loyal Bally's people for a bunch of years now. You just can't beat the location and I love the casino, but it is really showing it's age. Lots of stuff in the room needed touching up, such as scratched paint, broken dresser drawers, burnt out light bulbs etc. I think we are going to change to Paris or Plant Hollywood from now on. Put our things away, make several phone calls home to check on kids and dogs. We have three dogs, and our son who is staying at our house to watch them and our daughter has a dog, PLUS my dad and wife have a dog that will also be coming over. So apparantly my house has turned into a dog kennel and smelled as such when we got home! But a bucket of Pine Sol soon took care of that problem, lol and I wasn't there to witness it, so all was good. As we unpack I realize I forgot to pack underwear! How the hell does that happen? Plan a trip for months and months, down to each and every outfit and then proceed to forget underwear. OMG. Another call home to DD to ask she bring them out when she comes. Pretty embarrasing for her to go thru that drawer, lol. Hubbie takes FOREVER to unpack, check his email, set up his computer, etc. He is not getting internet connection ($14 a day). Finally calls tech support and gets it all figured out, except the connection keeps dropping. He finds a cable behind the TV and all is well. It is now around 9 I believe. We grabbed something to eat at the little sandwhich place in the back and off we go to gamble. When we originally budgeted for this trip, we were only going for three nights, four days, but now that we added on two nights, we didn't add to our gambling budget, so things got interesting. Before we left, I was like "sure $x is good for me every day" Ha, once there, not so much, lol. We were both tired as it is two hours earlier and it has been a long day. Decided we would seperate and head up in an hour or so. I went up at 2:45 am, (4:45 at home!) instead of my alloted hour, lol. Hubbie was tossing and turning, so he knew what time I got in. No passing this by him, lol. No big wins, no huge losses, just played enough to keep me going. Found the new Lord of the Ring (??) slots and played them for a long while. Up and at 'em at 6 am the next morning. Went down for what my hubbie calls my "$200 cup of coffee". The place is dead! Usually at this time you have people still up from the night before and the early risers like me, but the place was dead. Oh well, now I can play what I want to play and not just play whatever machine is open, which I hate. Hubbie worked in the room all day, and I did my thing. We obviously ate, but cannot remember. I think for bfast, I brought him up coffee, fruit and yougurt from the coffee kiosk in the lobby. Seriously can't recall what we did for lunch or dinner. After dinner, he played BJ till we had to the airport to pick up my father and his wife who were due to arrive aound midnight. I was playing alot of hit or miss. Throw money in this machine, play awhile, till it sucked it all up and move on. Went back to Lord of the Rings and I hit something I didn't understand so I asked the woman next to me and we just started talking. She told me she had been sitting at a machine by the front door just a little while ago and hit twice for a total of $3k! She was sitting next to a "dirty" kind of guy and when she won, she told me he got kind of nasty towards her. You know that happens. You sit on a machine for a long time, someone comes and sits down next to you and hits a big one. I get a little aggravated but I am also SO SO happy for that person. Why can't that ever be me? So she cashes out and then sticks another hundred in, and hits it again! Same machine, within minutes. For another handpay! So apparantly this guy totally goes off, stands up and starts screaming and swearing at her. She gets scared and calls security. This all happened minutes before I started talking to her and she thanks me for being nice, lol. I tell hubbie about all of this later. When dad and I are playing, I run into her again, she is playing her winning machine and it hits AGAIN for $1500! She has now pulled off $4500 from three wins on a penny machine. I sat there several times the next couple of days and nothing, lol. How totally cool for her. She is telling me she feels bad and is going to donate half to her church. I ask her why she feels bad and she tells me it a Sicilian thing. I tell her I am also Sicilian, I wouldn't feel bad, but if she does, then just tithe (sp?) 10%! We both laugh. I love seeing people win, but I have never seen someone win this amount over and over on the same damn machine. YEAH for her! Earlier I had gone into the Diamond lounge to see if everyone travelling on this trip could be put in the same tower as us. I always get the two towers mixxed up, but I know if it is your first time staying there, they put you in other tower. They were able to get dad and his wife on the same floor as us, so that was good. I also verified the girls room would be on our floor. This was booked under hubbie's card and we usually check in together but with us changing our dates, it got a little crazy. I had asked they be put on the same floor but NOT next to us for obvious reasons. Lo and behold the only room they had and they had already put a hold on it for them, was 2310A. Yep connecting to us. It was either keep that or they would have to go on another floor. We kept that. Got dad and wife fine. Airport was very quiet. Weird to see that. The line for check in was crazy again. We waited for probably 45 minutes to get them checked in. Dad and I played awhile, but not together. Hubbie and wife went to bed. OH, they had brought DH's crackberry, so his heart palpitations ceased, which was a good thing, lol. I was again up early and dad told me he was up playing most of the night, lol. All of us go to the airport to pickup the girls. It is officially my neice's 21st birthday. What a cool aunt I am 'eh? They made it all right. I hadn't given them any drink vouchers, thinking WHY would they drink on the plane at 8 am? Silly silly me. Of course they had a pre boarding drink, mimosa and bloodies. Funny thing, even though I had purchased the Early Bird seating and they were low A's, they took seats towards the back of the plane. Silly girls. They had a blast on the plane. The SW flight attendants were a stitch. When they found out it was DN 21st, they had everyone close their window shields, turn on their lights (supposed to be candles they said) and had everyone sing happy birthday to her. How fun is that! They also made her a crown to wear out of peanut packets and she came off the plane that way. Some guys bought them a drink and they bought one themselves, so they were ready to go. Unfortunately for the, once the got checked in, had their first Vegas drink, they needed a nap, lol. The four of us gambled while we waited for them. They finally got up. We decided to do a mini strip crawl. Headed out of Bally's and turned right. Started at Bill's. The game plan was that everyone put in a $20 into a machine, and see who lasted the longest or who had the most after a certain amount of time. Half the people followed the rules, half didn't. Some people put in a$10 and some people put in a $100. Geez! Grabbed a drink and headed down, hitting several casinos on the way. The next casino we all sat at a Three Card table. Dealer was dead quiet and BORING but within minutes switched out with a guy who was absolutely hysterical. We played there for a long time. First time playing for myself and the two girls. Everyone had a blast. What was funny, is that at every table we went to, Dh would pull out four one hundred dollar bills, one each for me, him and the two girls. The deal was if they win, they keep half and DON'T lose, lol. We were up at the end of the crawl, which worked out great for everyone. We took over entire tables at a bunch of casinos, BJ, Three Card, Roulette, BJ switch, etc, sometimes playing machines to break things up. Blast and a half. Crawled and limped back to Bally's. On our way past Bill's, Big Elvis was playing and I HAD to stop in and sing and dance to several of his songs, as we had missed his show the last several trips. He is looking great! We were supposed to have a nice dinner somewhere and then go to Mandalay Bay to experience Minus Five, which we KEEP meaning to go to every trip, but never quite make it. I spend alot of that day at Sully's playing VP. Still waiting on my first Royal, but did hit 4oak several times and had a great time with the bartenders. At some point during that day, I had gone over to PH to pickup my free Peepshow tix, but the only time I could get them was Sat and we already had Cirque Elvis at that time, but I got them anyway. I ended up giving them to the bartender. I only hope he used them as he said he was and didn't sell 'em. lol. Everyone got gussied up and we met at Sully's deciding where to go. On FB, I had read before I left, that Bally's Steakhouse was 20% off if you showed a room key. Hubbie went over to check. They had never heard of that, but sent someone to check. We made ressies for like an hour later and enjoyed each other's company while we waited. They did figure out the 20% off, so that made dinner even nicer than it was. They bent over backwards for us. Complimentary champage, hundreds of rose petals all over the table, complimentary desert, complimentary pictures of all of us, for all of us, sang happy birthday. It couldn't have been better, really. DH and I split, as did the girls the chateubriand (I have no idea how to spell that one!) and it was to die for. Drinks were good, apps were good. It was truly an incredible meal. Again, I can't remember what we did after, but I know we had fun. Both of the girls were dead tired and my father was beat from being up all night, so we never made it to MB or Minus Five....once again. The ink on my coupons is going to fade before we use them, lol. I was also supposed to meet up with some board members at some point, BeeJay, Macker, Alexanbo and ? (sorry, lol). But it was just hubbie and I playing at this point. The girls were supposed to be there to encourage luck at the craps table, since they were vegas craps virgins. But they were sleeping. BeeJee and I played phone tag several times. I did see them at a table but was leery to go over and just introduce myself. Why would they want to meet someone as old as their mother? I finally did get enough courage up to go and say hi when they were all playing craps and it was really good to meet them and put faces to the names. Fun, good group of guys. Their trip was an epic one, thats for sure. Sat, I was up early, as was my dad and my daughter. Got hubbie and wife up and all met for bfast at the cafe, minus my neice, who would sleep 20 hours a day if we let her. We are in Vegas baby, get up and get moving! I have to tell you that the service in this place is awful and has been for years. My daughter orders a coke and it was like a bad movie, "a wha, cof-fe?" "No, a Coke" "wha?" "Coke" "cof fe?" . I was like "A COKE A COLA" "Oh, gracious". OMG. Funny at first, but not so funny time after time. For whatever reason, I always order a yogurt parfait in Vegas, never at home, but always there. Ordered it, got it, and the granola was stale. I am not a picky eater, but for like $11 or whatever it costs for a little thing of yogurt, fruit and granola it better be fresh. Please take this off my bill. Get up ourselves for more coffee. The waiter/waitress really gets an attitude if you don't eat off the buffet and order off the menu. Geez. We ate there again two days later, same thing, bad bad service, except now my egg benedict eggs were totally raw. With this huge egg recall, I couldn't get myself to eat them. I am normally not a picky person, but I had to send my food back. They did bring back my eggs, but by this time the toast and hash browns were ice cold. You just have to laugh. I had rented a cabana today, and it was SO SO worth it again! The price was $225 which I though ridiculous, especially when only two out of, what ten, twelve cabana's were rented? Even though it was 105 out, inside the cabana was great, with the shade, fan and mister. Lots to drink and eat. Ordered a fruit plate and a cheese and cracker plate and lots of buckets of beer for hubbie and I . The girls were drinking foo foo drinks. Spend alot of time in the pool. I have to say, since they started advertising this pool as the party "Blu Pool" instead of just Bally's pool, things have sure changed from last summer. Lots and lots of 20 something's having a great time. The girls didn't want to leave, but we had to get ready for dinner. I had made dinner reservations at Olives for five, so we got there at 4:30 to ensure patio seating. Another awesome meal and experience. I have to do this every trip! Slowly but surely we headed towards the tram to get over Aria for Cirque Elvis. I had bought tix for myself and hubbie months earlier on some promo and we had great seats. Later on, I bought four more for the rest of our group and they were in the balcony. Oh, I forgot to mention, I was double booked at Bellagio. The plan was after the show, the girls would get ready in that room to hit the club at Bellagio. I had gotten them passes to get in. They were SO looking forward to going to a Vegas club, they could hardly stand it. After dinner, myself, DH, dad and wife go over to Aria for tickets and to wait for the girls. They had gone back to Bally's to get their ourfits for the club and put them in my Bellagio room. When my niece first saw the B room, she was like "HELLO! WHY aren't we staying here?!!" LOL. We did take the toiletries since they are so much nicer, lol. While the four of us were waiting at Aria, we walked around a bit and played. Not a ton of penny machines here, at least not by the escalator to the show. Dad hit though, so that was good. Hubbie who also never plays slots, also hit a huge one. The girls find us unbelievable and they sit down. DD put in a ten into a penny machine, plays one hand, gets frustrated she doesn't understand the machine, hits the cash out button and gets $101 back! She was ecstatic! Until the next day when she lost $10 and whined and whined, not getting she was still up!! OH well, you gotta laugh. While we waited for the doors to open for the show, they had people walking around asking to look at your tickets and point you to the right door. When they looked at ours, and realized we weren't all seated together, they told us to hold on. Came back several minutes later and asked if we would like to sit together in much better seats. Well Yeah! Escorted us down to the front section, second or third row, but no one was in front of us. Incredible!! I still don't know how I feel about this show, I thought I would be standing and dancing the whole time. Not so. Initially, I thought the show was more like a High School Glee act, but it got better and better. It is more of a dancing show then anything else. They show a bunch of clips and stuff about Elvis, and it is his music, but... I did really, really enjoy it though. If Mystere is a ten, then Cirque Elvis is a five. The dancers and performers and incredible as usual, but you find yourself watching the monitor of clips instead of the dancers. Not sure if I would recommend it. I only hope they do a much better job on the new Michael Jackson Cirque show. After the show, the girls were supposed to get ready and go the club. Dad and wife cabbed it back to Bally's. Dh, myself and the girls trammed it back to Bellagio. By the time we got there, the girls decided they were just way too tired to go. Had a quick snack at Bellagio's cafe and back to Bally's we went. The girls decided to do the club the next night. Went downtown Sunday and did a MAJOR Casino crawl. Was only planning on being there a couple of hours, but it turned into more like eight, lol. We hit every casino, big or small, and either played a bank of slots or took over a table. Tons of fun! We were in one little itty bitty dive casino, the size of a tshirt shop and they handed us tickets when we walked in, "we have a winner every half hour!". About ten minutes later, they called my dad's number and he won a whopping, wait, wait.... TWO DOLLARS! ROFL. The girls were amazed that some casinos didn't have tickets, took and gave actual coins! Funny how things change and how fast you get used to them. Ate dinner downtown at a fast food court, lol. Subway never tasted so good. Got back to the hotel. I had all intention of taking a shower and getting dressed up. Tonight was piano bar night. We love going to the piano bar at Bally's / Paris, do it every trip. I like to be there when it opens at nine. But we didn't get there till almost ten. Hubbie and I stopped in several days earlier and it was not crowded, so we assumed on Sunday it wouldn't be crowded either. Wrong, every table packed! We had to wait for people to leave to sit down. The girls found a table front and center and the singers made fun of both of them all night. It was fun. We found a table in the back. We ended up joining the girls about an hour later, when people left. Stayed there all night. They end at one, and hubbie and I left at like 12:45. On the way back to the room, he decided he was hungry and the $1 tacos at the little eatery/bar at Bally's would hit the spot. $1 margarita, $1 tacos, can't beat that. Weird experience, another bad server situation. People who had a different server, sat after us, ordered, got their food, ate and paid before we even got our food. DH had to go find the waitress in the back room to ask where our food was. Of course she forgot, but "the kitchen is SO slow". I had chicken tacos - just say NO, and hubbie had the regular beef tacos which was fine. DH had to go looking for her again when we were done. The bill was $12.45 and we left $13!! I was like, I DARE you to come out after us and say something. I am a VERY good tipper, usually 25%, but OMG! The girls closed up the piano bar, went up to the room to get ready. Went over to the club at Bellagio, stood in line for half an hour. Finally talked to someone, who looked at their tickets and was told "these are free before midnight only. You have to pay $40 to get in". They were like, hell no, and came home, lol. So no Vegas club for them unfortunately. Monday, took dad and wife to airport. Had the girls packed and put stuff in our room at 11. Checked out at two. Headed over to Mandaly Bay. I had a Restaurant.com cert for the cafe. We were also going to check out Luxor while we were down there. The Miss Universe pageant was that day, so absolutely no valet parking unless you were a guest. Directed us downstairs to another ("The Hotel") valet, which worked out great. Walked in, turned right and there was the cafe. No one at the front desk, but there were several people eating. Finally got sat, was told the kitchen closed after we ordered. We ordered burgers and clubs, that's it, no alcohol drinks, no apps, no desert and even with the $25 discount, the bill ws $62. You have to laugh. We were also laughing however at "The store" that was right there and thought that the bathrooms should too have a sign "THE bathroom". Obviously the pool is along that corridor and while 95% of the people were dressy and classy going to and from the pool, there was one very large girl in shorts and bra walking back and forth, with her shorts half way down. Not good, especially when you are eating, lol. Didn't have time to go to Luxor, brought car back and headed to airport. Had LOW A boarding passes, so we got right on. I took half my pill and was good to go. About an hour into the flight, we hit some pretty good turbulence and I took another half and pretty much was asleep till we got home, lol. Since it was my neice's 21st, both she and my daughter got carded everywhere, obviously. THEN everyone wanted to sing, bartenders, waiters, craps dealers, cocktail waitress's. It was SO SO funny. I finally had to tell people No, please don't sing anymore, I can't take it anymore. My birthday was on Sunday and did I have anyone sing me happy birthday? NO, not once, lol. All in all, a really, really fun trip. Now all three "older" kids have gone to Vegas for their 21st. This trip was good, no drama, no craziness, just fun. The dogs survided, the kids survived, we survived, lol. Our youngest child is 13, so it will be a LONG while before we do another 21st birthday trip. So next trip will be just hubby and I, and at a new casino! Maybe in the Spring. I better start planning!