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Birthday trip for Mom...Bally's, sightseeing, etc.

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by jinkies4, Apr 24, 2012.

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  1. jinkies4

    jinkies4 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Wednesday...Flew out of Appleton, WI on Allegiant Air for a 4 day trip (March 21-24). Celebrated an early birthday for my Mom who turns 70 in June. She doesn’t like the heat so we decided to go in the spring. My sister and I paid for her airfare and hotel as her birthday present. A cousin and a friend of the family also decided to come along making the group 5 ladies – 2 who have flown and been to Vegas (my sister and I), my Mom who has flown but first trip to Vegas, and the last 2 who have never flown and not been to Vegas.

    I was put in charge of trip planning (as usual) because of my OCD related need to research, plan, and generally know everything there is possible to do & see at a given location. I had used this website when I went to Vegas for my 40th birthday two years before so I came back to get more great information. I created an 8 page document that was given to all parties approximately one month before the trip so everyone could decide what they really wanted to do. Were 8 pages overkill??? Yes, probably but since three of the party had no idea what there was to do in Vegas I thought I had to be thorough with more than...Bellagio Fountains, Mirage Volcano, etc. The must dos ended up being...Titanic Exhibit, Madame Tussuad’s (my Mom really wanted to see this...not sure why but it was her trip), Pawn Stars Shop, Statue of David at Caesar’s, Bellagio Fountains, and then whatever my sister and I thought were important. So I condensed the 8 pages into a two-sided document for the “strip” that contained each location with the cheap eats, attractions, cheap drinks, etc. plus a one-page document for downtown. The other catch with the trip is that my Mom is susceptible to skin cancer so I was asked to keep her out of the sun as much as possible from 9-3 everyday.

    Theme for the trip is sight-seeing first, budget food second, and gambling third...just so you know what type of trip report this will be.

    Now onto the trip...the flight was good and the two newbies did fine after we peeled their fingers off of the armrests. We arrived about 9:30 p.m. We had all carry-on luggage so off to find our transportation. Another birthday surprise awaited Mom, my sister and I had booked a limo to pick us up at the airport (the other two ladies didn’t know either). We used Presidential Limos based on the recommendations here and they were superb!!! I would definitely use them again! Anyway, as we came down the escalator I was first and could see the driver with the sign with my Mom’s name. So I signaled him as I got off the escalator that the person was behind me, so he stepped out right in front of my Mom with the sign. She looked at him, then me, then my sister...I told her he is our driver and there is a limo waiting outside for her. She got the “limo face” (mouth wide open) then kept saying, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”. He took her bags and we went to find our stretch limo. We drank champagne and stopped at the Welcome Sign for pictures - what a way to arrive in Vegas! My Mom loved it!!!!

    Then it was check-in time at Bally’s. We wanted her to stay on the strip for her first visit and centrally located. We had booked two rooms at Bally’s – ended up on different floors but it was fine. The rooms were in the North Tower and were nice – nothing fancy but lots of room and very clean. We dropped our bags and headed out to the strip. We had just enough time to see the second last fountain show across the way at the Bellagio. Then, no one wanted to go to the rooms so we decided to go into the Bellagio and see the Conservatory. My Mom loves flowers and thought it was breath-taking. The spring exhibit with tulips was there and it was lovely. My favorite were the bumblebees hanging from the ceiling. We also snuck around the corner and saw the 8 ft chocolate fountain...the store was closed which was good because I had threatened to stick my whole head into the fountain...then I realized it was behind glass anyway...oh darn! We also saw the Bellagio lobby and the glass sculpture ceiling. Everyone decided that we needed a snack and we had passed a gelato place coming in from the fountains but by the time we returned it had closed. It was nearly midnight by then so we headed back to Bally’s to find a snack. We ended up at the Tequila Bar for $2 tacos, $2 margaritas, and desserts which were good for a snack. Then it was off to bed because it was actually 3 a.m. for us.

    Have to finish writing Thursday...then I will post more.
     
  2. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    nice start to the tr! i do NOT think 8 pages is overkill! :thumbsup: my "newbie" list is around 15! but that list isn't only strip :beer: i am a crazy planner as well, so i really enjoy that part of the pre-trip. i like staying at bally's too since it has such a great location. i've never stayed in the north tower rooms though since south tower is more my budget. i really like the limo as a surprise and the stop over at the sign. sounds like a wonderful experience for a first timer. looking forward to the rest! :wave:

    happy birthday to your mom! :cheers:
     
  3. sam

    sam Low-Roller

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    What a nice trip report. How wonderful of you to treat your mother.
    I am sure she was thrilled with everything. I hope you took lots of pictures to remember. I look forward to the rest of the report.
     
  4. JosieCat

    JosieCat VIP Whale

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    Great trip report. I can't wait to read the rest!
     
  5. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Can't wait to see how you all enjoyed the sights!
     
  6. kel3420

    kel3420 VIP Whale

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    LOVE THIS! I love newbie trip reports! I took my mom to Vegas for her first time too. She couldn't understand why hubbie and I go there 2-3 times a year and would just shake her head and roll her eyes. I was just like "just come with me once and you'll see!" she finally agreed. The first night I just got the eye rolling with her watching me play and drink. She even called my husband when we first arrived "Your WIFE has been drinking since we got on the airplane!" Hubbie just laughed and said "its Vegas ma". I just watched her taking in all the action that first night, MAYBE putting in a five dollar bill to play a machine. The next day, she is snapping her fingers for a cocktail waitress (not necessary ma) and then putting twenties into the machine and playing as fast as I am. She was hooked. Now she tries to go once a year with us.

    I am actually doing a semi solo trip in two weeks with her. She is travelling with five or six or her childhood friends and I am tagging along, lol. I don't plan on spending much time with them, except a meal or two. But it will be fun to watch her in her element with her group of friends. :thumbsup:

    :beer::beer::beer:
     
  7. jinkies4

    jinkies4 Tourist

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    There were 4 cameras on the trip so we all got lots of pictures. I want to make her a photo book of the trip for her real birthday in June.

    kel3420 - My Mom teased me about drinking before we left because she knew I had drank on the trip two years before. But she decided she liked the free drinks while gambling also - like your Mom did. I think she wants to go back but not so much walking. She would like to see Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon the next time.
     
  8. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    Trips with mom are the best! I have mom trip #3 coming up and I can't wait! Looking forward to the rest of your report :thumbsup:
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  9. jinkies4

    jinkies4 Tourist

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    Birthday trip for Mom...Bally's, sightseeing, etc. (Next Day)

    Thursday...We headed to the Paris for crepes from La Creperie for breakfast. We even tried to use the HUGE slot machine at the walkway to the Paris but it wouldn’t take any of our dollars...oh well. We opted to pool our money and get 3 crepes to share between the five of us. We had two fruit crepes and one savory crepe...too die for delicious! The 3 crepes and 5 drinks came to $50. I would highly recommend this place for breakfast.

    Also, forgot to mention that we also had a couple more people added to our party today...my sister’s sister-in-law and friend had been at Bally’s since Monday so they joined us after breakfast for a little sight-seeing. The sister-in-law works online so she spent the afternoon working and her friend met another Vegas friend for the afternoon. Basically, they went with us to the Bellagio after breakfast to see the Conversatory again and the 8 ft chocolate fountain. Then we found the tram from the Bellagio to go to the City Center (remember we have to stay out of the sun, as much as possible). The City Center was pretty dead but we loved the architecture...the stained glass-looking steps, the water feature, and the galleries. We also saw the fountain at the entrance to Aria. Then we headed past the Monte Carlo to New York New York. Needed to find bathrooms, then the consensus was to gamble a bit. My sister won $50 and the rest of us donated. We decided lunch was in order so off to the Village Eateries for lunch. Three of us chose pizza and the other two shared fish & chips. Their fish was huge and tasty! I had pizza and a soda for about $9 – wasn’t the best pizza ever but it was good and filling (and cheap!).

    Then we were off to Excalibur but no one wanted to go in – instead we took the tram to Mandalay Bay. I wanted to see the wine tower at Aureole (missed that two years ago). We also stopped and gambled a bit here. I think I put in $5 and left with $10. Then back to the tram to the Luxor. I had wanted to find cheap tix for the Titanic Exhibit at Tix-for-Tonite but forgot to figure out where they were located near us (oops!). Instead we had a $5 off coupon we thought would be ok – well not ok – the price was $35 then $30 with the coupon (I thought the price was $27 or $28). We decided to come back after we got the discount tix (maybe even Friday instead). We did look around at the Luxor and had frozen yogurt at Blizz – very awesome. You serve yourself with frozen yogurt and toppings then pay by the weight. A little pricey but well worth it! Then we took the walkway to Excalibur. One of the “Men Down Under” tried to get my Mom to take a picture with him but she wouldn’t do it – very funny to see a half-naked man try to talk my Mom into a picture and she kept trying to get away! Feet were getting tired at this point all around so the consensus was to hit M&M World, Hard Rock, and the Coke Store on the way back to Bally’s for a rest. I bought my kids a couple things at M&M World – very cool store. I also bought my husband a hat at the Hard Rock store. We were bummed that the Coke Store was closed for a private event so we bought a couple things at the ABC Store. Then back to Bally’s for a rest.

    After about an hour rest, we picked up the other two and all headed to Downtown for the evening. We caught the Deuce, outside of Bill’s Gamblin Hall (I think?) and bought the $7 – 24 hour passes. I also asked the driver about the Pawn Stars shop stop. He told me he would announce it and how to get over to the shop and back to the bus stop. Worked like a charm – another couple also got off with the 7 of us and we all walked the 3 blocks (real blocks not strip blocks) to the shop. There was about 50 people in line – they told us they were filming and not letting anyone in for another 5-10 minutes. Well 5-10 minutes felt like about 30-35...oh wait...it really was about 35 minutes then they opened the doors. I have watched the show so it was cool to see the shop (yes, it is smaller than it seems on TV). My Mom hadn’t seen the show at all so she didn’t get it at all other than finding a watch she liked but then she realized it was 8K and decided she hadn’t won enough. After the souvenir buying, we walked back to the bus stop and hopped back on the Deuce to downtown.

    Everyone was starving at this point...so we decided to hit the buffet at the Fremont (with prime rib). We only waited about 5 minutes to get seated and the food was good (service was excellent) – not great – but good...UNTIL dessert. We had been talking about creme brulee that day so I ended up getting a piece of custard pie. So I am showing off my custard pie, then I take a bite. Well, I actually got the bite into my mouth and start to bite down....the result...a HORRIBLE TASTE & TEXTURE!!! We are in the middle of everything so I don’t feel like I can spit it out but I can’t swallow it either so I am just sitting there with an apparently horrified look on my face. My sister says, “Are you ok?” I shake my head NO! Someone asks if I am choking...I shake NO! Then someone asks if the pie is bad and I shake YES! Someone shoves a napkin in my hand and I proceed to scrape the bite out of my mouth then slam an entire glass of soda to get rid of the taste. Meanwhile, everyone is laughing at my “face” (except Mom who was at the buffet) and accusing me of lying about the taste. So someone grabs a fork to “try” it also and it is out of her mouth onto her plate faster than it went it which sent us all into more hysterical laughter. Then Mom comes back (she probably heard us across the restaurant) and we had to tell her the story. So the rest of the trip was filled with custard pie comments directed at me...oh well...I can take it!

    After supper, we went to Binions to see the million dollars then to the Gold Nugget to see the Shark Tank & hand of gold (had to ask directions twice to find it). Then we gambled at the Gold Nugget for about an hour. I put in $10 and left with $10 – so that was ok. We watched one of the light shows and some zipliners. Mom was underwhelmed by the light show but glad she saw it – she thought it was too loud which is funny because she wears hearing aids. We decided to head back to the strip then. I got a lecture from my Mom on the bus trip back that no one had alcohol downtown except me...apparently I had promised some strawberry margaritas for cheap and didn’t deliver. My excuse was that I forgot my cheat sheet for downtown and didn’t have it memorized. I promised to make it up on Friday! So the lecture from her was actually funny because she was teasing me before the trip because I had told her on my first trip two years ago I drank all day long – never drunk just enjoying the trip. So she was teasing me about drinking so much and now she is lecturing me because she didn’t get any alcohol that night – what a change of tune. (This “lecture” is important to what happens Friday night with her – stay tuned). We gambled a little at Bally’s before heading to bed.
     
  10. AliGee

    AliGee Low-Roller

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    Can't wait to read about Friday! Did your Mom get drunk and go back to find that Thunder From Down Under dancer?:evillaugh Seriously, fun report.
     
  11. sb_039

    sb_039 Tourist

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    Great report ... keep it coming!
     
  12. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

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    Nice trip report! I can't wait to read what your Mom did on Friday! Did she drink tequila shots and dance at a club? LOL


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. back to vegas

    back to vegas Low-Roller

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    Enjoying your report!
     
  14. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    My Mom and I LOVE VEGAS!!! We were there in February, Mom had a sore back for the first three days of five so it wasn't our best trip. She is now 74 so I am not sure how many more we will have. This November will be the 25th anniversary of our first trip, I don't think it will take too much convincing to have her go on two trips this year...................my husband, on the other hand...............lol
    Looking forward to the rest of your report, it is great!
     
  15. jinkies4

    jinkies4 Tourist

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    Friday...the other two ladies headed back to Wisconsin today. The original five of us again opted for more crepes for breakfast switching to two savory and one fruit crepe – still fabulous. We tried the banana, peanut crepe and it was by far my favorite! We also got the big slot machine to work today and each of us put in $2 and we all took turns spinning. We won $5 and put it right back in – but it was fun! My feet were fine but everyone else had sore feet so we decided to use the bus pass as much as possible this day until they expired. First, on the agenda, was to get discount tickets for the Titanic Exhibit. One of the group decided not to go; had tired feet; and just wanted to gamble and shop a bit around Bally’s. Found a Tix-4-Tonite over at Bill’s; waited in line and bought 4 Titanic (only $19+ versus the $30 and 5 Madame Toussad’s tickets. I figure we saved about $100 overall! Then we crossed the street and caught the Deuce down to the Luxor. The Titanic Exhibit was incredible – I understand why many people see it more than once. Most of us bought books from the store there. Then we crossed the street and headed back to Bally’s to pick up our friend and head up to the Venetian for lunch.

    We opted to use the bus again to save everyone’s feet. The plan was to get off right at the Venetian but we found out that because of the construction that bus stop was closed so we ended up getting off at the Wynn. I wanted Mom to see the conversatory at the Wynn but everyone was really hungry at this point and we just walked around it (saw the waterfall outside – very pretty) and headed into the Palazzo. I read on these boards that the Grand Luxe was a nice place for lunch so I thought that might be a good choice. Once inside the Palazzo, I remembered that they have one too so we headed to their Grand Luxe for lunch. Everyone agreed it was our nicest meal on the trip for atmosphere, relaxation, and food. The menu is overwhelming – the waitress said 170+ items. We had – the chicken pot pie, barbequed pork sliders, mac-n-cheese griddle, calamari & shrimp appetizer, ½ pizza and salad combo, and red velvet cake to share. Everything was delicious, although the mac-n-cheese was just ok.

    Then off to see the Venetian. I wanted Mom to see the square, the gondolas, and the painted ceilings – and we did. She thought this was the most beautiful hotel of all. She wanted to know why we didn’t stay there. My sister and I informed her that we didn’t have that much money! She told us that she wants to move to Vegas and live at the Venetian...very funny Mom (she also thought she could get a job snapping cards – real funny Mom – yes she did know what is on the cards!) We also went to Madame Toussaud’s. Ironically, my Mom REALLY wanted to do this – because this trip was about her we all went along. It was actually fun. I got some great pics of Mom with the stars – one of her singing on stage with Celine. They also had a spook house that was included but based on the intensity of the screams we heard – we all passed on that one.

    After the Venetian, we thought we would see the Mirage’s lobby and aquarium then go to the Sirens show and see the Volcano as we worked our way back down the strip. The Mirage’s lobby and aquarium seemed a little “worn out” – not what I expected. Then I must have got the times wrong for the Sirens show because there was not a 5:30 show but a 7 (or 7:30?). Mom said she didn’t want to wait but wanted to go to Caesar’s Palace – she opted to skip the Volcano too because it wasn’t started yet either. So we hopped the bus to Caesar’s Palace. One of the group wanted to see the statue of David so we found that and took pictures (yes, of the front and back of the statue). Then we saw the lobby, bought a really pricey soda, and finally gambled a bit. My Mom really wanted to see this casino because she said growing up all the shows or boxing on TV was “Live at Caesar’s Palace...”. She thought it was really a nice place but that the Venetian was better. Although she did win $5 from Caesar which made her day.

    My sister had been given a gift certificate for PF Changs before we left so we thought that could be where we went for a light supper. We used our bus passes for the last time to head down that direction. PF Changs was good – had just appetizers and drinks for supper. Then we headed back to the Paris to gamble. My Mom wanted to just sit and gamble for the rest of the evening so we were all happy to oblige.

    We all started out sitting close together and within 5 minutes a waittress came through – so I told Mom that here was her chance to get the strawberry margarita she wanted. So we all ordered drinks and I told everyone to make sure to tip the waittress a dollar per drink. I started with just $20 and played for 4 hours on two different machines on just that $20 – which if I can’t win then just let me play and enjoy. The drink service was excellent – I had about 7 amaretto/cokes! You know you are in trouble when the waittress doesn’t ask what you want anymore but just asks if you need another. My joke was that I was getting my serving of fruit for the day because of the cherry in the drink – then I didn’t want to make the waittress feel bad so I had to drink the drink also.

    I didn’t realize it but my Mom was getting a margarita every time the waittress came through also. She claims she had 3-4 but just told the truth just last week and said she about 7 or more-she lost count. Well about 11:30 pm or so, most of the group found me and wanted to head to bed. That was fine with me – so we walked through the Paris to Bally’s. The dueling pianos were playing in the one of the bars in the Paris so we listened for one song before Mom said she was not feeling well – she was drunk at this point I just didn’t realize it. She said she was barely able to walk back to the hotel room. Now my Mom is not much of a drinker and this is probably only the 2nd time in my life that she was actually drunk! I can now can tease her about getting drunk in Vegas and I also made up for not getting her alcohol on Thursday! She did say that she had a really good time in the Paris gambling and drinking – I am just not sure she really remembers it and she said she doesn’t want to see any strawberry margaritas for awhile! My Mom is overall very introverted and doesn’t like to be the center of attention so her getting drunk on vacation and trying to keep it hush-hush is really funny! For the people who thought Mom might dance on a bar, drink shots, or go back and find the man “Down Under” – sorry to disappoint. If my Mom had done those things, I think I would have passed out from shock!

    I will post Saturday in the next day or so...thanks for reading!
     
  16. back to vegas

    back to vegas Low-Roller

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    Sounds like it was a great day and a lot of fun for your mom!
     
  17. jinkies4

    jinkies4 Tourist

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    Saturday...Last day; really ½ day because we have to leave for the airport about 11 a.m. Everyone slept in a little, packed, and then met downstairs for breakfast. I thought Mom would be hung over today – she says she isn’t but I don’t thinkg she would tell us even if she was. I thought we would do crepes one more time...that banana peanut butter crepe was calling my name BUT Mom wanted to do a buffet for breakfast because we wouldn’t get anything on the flight. So we tried the Bally’s buffet for breakfast – I think it was about $10.99. I was not impressed at all! Everyone else thought it was fine but I thought I have had better free buffets at hotels like Comfort Suites. It was a small buffet, not many choices. The food was good though! I had wanted to go to the Spice Market buffet (even had $5 off coupons) but nobody wanted to walk that far instead they wanted to gamble a little more before we checked out.

    So after breakfast, some of us explored the shops down the escalator in Bally’s – some cute shops. Two others gambled instead. My sister and I used the internet kiosks to print our boarding passes then we all went up and got our stuff to check out. We had charged the safe on a credit card so we could just do the express checkout. We wanted to get a van taxi for all of us but after waiting about 15 minutes we opted to split up and take two taxis. We went right to security, had a long line but it moved really quickly. The flight home was good and arrived Saturday night in time to see my kids before they went to bed.

    My Mom thought it was a trip of a lifetime – she said no presents for Mother’s Day, birthday, Christmas, for the next couple years cause she had such a great time!

    Overall, I liked Bally’s. We had stayed at Harrah’s the last trip and I liked it there also. Bally’s had a great location midstrip and I liked that it was attached to the Paris. Was it a WOW – no but it meet our needs.

    We like the Allegiant packages – we live in Green Bay, WI so Appleton is only about 40 minutes from us. We did pay for seat assignments so we could sit together but did not opt for priority boarding. We saw multiple groups split up on the way to and from Vegas so I am glad we had assigned seats. That also meant we were able to get on before open boarding and were able to have our carry ons right above us.

    Thanks again for all the great information on these boards – the trip was successful because of the great knowledge shared here!!!
     
  18. Countessa

    Countessa Tourist

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    Thanks for sharing your trip. Love hearing about mom-daughter trips. Can't wait till I can bring my daughter. :)
     
  19. allmine1958

    allmine1958 Low-Roller

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    Congrats on your huge win!! That trip was worth a million dollars in memories of your Mom and family.
     
  20. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    I am so happy for you & your sister! What a great trip for your mom & the 2 newbies. Lots of memories were made. Great report!
     
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