1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Christmas at Mandalay Bay

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Habanaman13, Dec 28, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Habanaman13

    Habanaman13 Tourist

    May 8, 2003
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    December 22-26th

    Another long winded one…But those are the ones I like to read so in turn I write them the same way.

    After a countdown far exceeding 180 days, T-4 hours was finally here and we were off to the airport! We were flying a new airline that assigned seats on the day of the flight, first come-first served so we left extra early. That combined with the increased terror alert, I didn’t want anything to start our annual Christmas trip off on the wrong foot. Within thirty minutes of arriving at the airport we were sitting at the gate! I found a plug in and watched a little Vegas Vacation to get the juices flowing. Shortly after Clark married Ellen, we got on the plane. The trip was uneventful and we got most of the way through Ocean’s Eleven before Lake Mead was visible outside the window. We landed, met our driver from Las Vegas Limo, got our bags and headed off to Mandalay Bay.

    Walked right up to the check-in counter and my offer of $20 got me nothing. So with keys to a pool view room and some two-for-one coupons in hand we trudged off to the elevators. The room was fine other than no strip view and not a lot to look at poolside in December. It had a King Bed, chair w/ottoman, desk with two chairs, Armoire for the TV and six dresser drawers, two lighted closets, one with a wall safe and of course a big bathroom. The bathroom was slightly different than the one we had last year. Still had a soaking tub and separate shower, but the shower was smaller to make room for a full-length wall mirror. It still had two sinks and a separate “water closet.” Before going downstairs I had to call my dad real quick to remind him that I was IN Vegas and he was stuck in Iowa! Then we were ready for some fun.

    Since we had not eaten in the last ten hours we headed straight for Raffles. Good as always. Now, what to do first? (Note: This being a trip with my wife, the itinerary in slightly different than it was in June. Less drinking and less table time for starters. My wife only likes to play machines so we spent most of our time at the slots.) We started by hitting our favorite machines from trips past. Nada on the $1 Double diamond, zip on the $5 Double Diamond. I was not feeling good about how this was starting out! Then I hit the I Dream of Jeannie Nickel Machine. I had made a decision to play max credits on all nickels this trip to see how it went. Bingo I am back in the mix! We walked though the Mandalay Place shops over to Luxor. Nothing to see there and we walk over to Excalibur and right out the front door. Too many kids, too much smoke! Across the bridge to NY-NY for another Vegas must have, a Pina Colada from Coyote Ugly. We walk in the door and I find something very annoying… a NY-NY employee trying to sell me a timeshare. What?!? When did the Casinos start hawking timeshares? What next, smut peddlers in the Forum shops? I saw this at a number of the properties and was very disappointed. They already have a license to print money; selling timeshares too is just plain greedy (and tacky) in my book.

    Sorry, I got side tracked. We got our Pina Coladas and headed straight for the door. NY-NY gets none of my gaming business this trip! A quick tram ride and we are back at Mandalay. We hit the machines (and the Fuzzy Navels) a bit and I try my luck at some $25 Black Jack and Pai-Gow Poker. No luck. I went and found my wife and we head back to the room. However, the high limit slot area was in my way. So I decide to run a few bucks though the $1 (9 line) Texas Tea Machine. I made a quick fifty and retired for the evening about even.

    The next morning we got up and got ready for our marathon day. We had a two-for-one at House of Blues so that was our breakfast stop, very good food. They overcooked my steak a bit, but the flavor was much better than the slop I got at Bally’s in June. $20 with tip and we hit the door. My wife went back to her Full of Sheep Machine and I walked the pits. I was watching a $10 Let It Ride game and the guy and his wife playing talked me into giving it a try. I played for about 20 minutes, but could not get excited and left down two bucks. I walked over to my $1 Texas tea machine and returned the fifty they gave me the night before. I looked for my wife and dropped few bucks here and there.

    We left and started walking down the strip. We hit the M&M store and my wife saw my bored look so we left after seeing three floors. We then walked though the Desert Passage and stopped to see the rainstorm. Now being from Iowa when you say rainstorm, I was expecting something a little more spectacular. Oh well, at least the Ben & Jerry’s was good. We walked around the Desert Passage and right out the other side. It is interesting that the design allows you to do that without having to set foot into the casino. Over to Paris and they had moved all the machines I liked, so through the mass of people and over to Bally’s we went. The Spooky Slots progressive was pretty high so I found an Adam’s Family and sat down. Cha-ching! Cashed out $82 and I was back in the black. I wanted to see what all my losses from June had garnered my and was told $3. Either they are super cheap or I was too drunk to have remembered to put my card in. Oh, well off to Bellagio. The conservatory was nice as always and we wandered around a bit. I donated $20 to Bellagio’s coffers and we left for Ceasers. I have never had a bit of luck there so it was straight to Forum Shops and Spago. The meal was superb. I had a barbeque chicken pizza and my wife had the Pumpkin Ravioli. I always have had a good experience at Spago, but this time we had terrible service. The manager was reprimanding our waiter most of the time and it had an adverse effect on us. Bad management practice if you ask me. I asked another waiter for a refill and the manager. My wife left to find a restroom and spare herself the embarrassment of sitting there while I spoke to him. He was very apologetic and took 50% off the bill, so $20 on our second meal of the day! Off to FAO Schwartz for some gifts and out the door.

    We looked at the tigers at Mirage and headed over to “TI”. We got our first look at the new sign. The President and COO says the old one invoked an image of family fun. The new one, with its bright neon colors, looks like it belongs at the M&M store not in from of a revamped swanking adult playground. But that is just one person’s opinion. I found my Beverly Hillbillies penny machine and cashed out for $75. We then walked over to Venetian to find my Clue machine, nowhere to be found. I ran $20 though a $5 Double Diamond and split. We wanted to see the Big Elvis show at the Barbary Coast so we walked up there. While we waited I dropped $40 into two Monopoly machines and got skunked. So we sat in the lounge waiting and resting our feet. About 2:45 a cocktail waitress came over and told the small crowd that Big Elvis was on vacation this week. Of course the sign out front still advertised his show from 3-6. Tricked me out of $40, but more importantly we walked all that way, instead of saving our feet and catching a cab downtown from the Venetian. We caught the cab at Bally’s and arrived in one piece at the Golden Nugget. $20 with tip.

    My wife had never been downtown so I figured she needed to see it at least once. I could not talk her into the 99-cent shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate, but I did get her to try the Fried Twinkie at Mermaids. It was not dark yet so we walked around a bit and hit the Plaza $7.95 Prime Rib special at their Diner. For that lowly fee you get a nice sized piece of Prime Rib with Horseradish sauce, a roll, soup or salad, a vegetable and choice of potato. The food was very good and for the third time that day we ate and were out the door on $20! I will say the Plaza smelled a little better than last time! Probably had something to do with there being less people around. The place was pretty empty.

    The show was not ready to start for a while so we walked around a bit more. My wife got back to even on the day by playing a MASH machine at the Las Vegas Club and I paid for Dinner and the cabs on a My Rich Uncle Machine at Mermaids! We left Mermaids and caught the show. It was pretty good and as soon as it was over we headed straight for the cabstand at the Golden Nugget. $25 with a generous tip later and we were back at home base. We walked around a bit and I sat down at a $10 Blackjack table. I started to win and upped it to $15. Two sevens against the dealer’s six. Split, 17 that works. Another seven and another split, got a four, double down, 21! Last seven gets an ace and another double down, 18. Now all the dealer has to do is cooperate. She flips another six, then a four and slowly turns over the face card bust! Worked like a charm! Two dealer Blackjack’s later and I walk. On to find my wife and hit the Texas Tea machine one more time before bed. First spin, four oil derricks and the bonus screen. The oil starts flowing and I win a quick $250! We stop at the Island Bar for some fantastic Pina Coladas and then call it quits for the night.

    After the long day walking around Tuesday, we decide Wednesday will be a day spent close to home. I was not complaining because the Mandalay had been so good to me thus far. We went downstairs and hit Raffles for breakfast and then on with the show. My Vegas trip was half over and there was still plenty of fun to be had! We wandered the machines a bit and my wife hits her Full of Sheep again. I decide to sit down next to her and kill some time. Next thing you know we are both waiting on modest hand pays and I head over to put the winnings in the Texas Tea. Another quick bonus screen and another quick $100 win. I walk over to my I dream of Jeannie machine and stick the $141 ticket in it. A few spins later and I am up to $165 and cashing out. We decided to walk through the Mandalay Place and get my wife something with my winnings. She finds a necklace she likes and it is on to Luxor. We stopped to play some Monopoly machines. I continue my losing streak at Luxor and my wife wins back all her losses for the day. So we head back to Mandalay Bay. We decided to get something light for lunch since our annual Christmas Eve meal was that night at Aureole. The Red, White and Blue deli looked promising so we went in. The sandwiches are like $12 and that seemed a bit steep until I saw one. There must be a pound of meat on each one. I opted for the Mac & Cheese (Very Good) and my wife had a Bacon Cheeseburger and fries. We were both too full to try any of the very delicious looking deserts.

    Back to gambling… I wanted to take poker lessons since I have never played in a casino. With about 20 minutes until the lessons started I sat down at Winning Bid machine and hit for a $50 hand pay. It was a couple minutes until the class started and no one had showed up. My wife was done gambling she said, so I told her to collect my winnings and play on that while I took the lessons. We agreed to meet afterwards near the Poker room. The lessons were very helpful, it was just me and father-son duo from Oregon. About 45 minutes of explaining the ½ kill and Mandalay Bay’s rules and I was good to go. I went to find my wife. She was sitting at a Triple Diamond machine when I found her. I asked how she was doing and she told me to go look at the Double Diamond machine by the poker room. Three Double Diamonds and 3,200 credits! She was so happy she gave me my $50 back. Then it was off to the room to get gussied up for our night on the town.

    In keeping with tradition we stopped off at the Island Bar for pre-dinner Pina Coladas. Our reservations were for 6:00, so about a quarter ‘til we started heading in that direction. They were not quite ready, so we waited a few minutes before being allowed in. They got my wife a bottle of water and my Diet Coke and then brought me the wine list. The wine list is awesome! They bring out a tablet PC that has all their wine indexed and cross-referenced and you just play around with it until you find what you like. I played for a while and then the Sommelier came over and I just asked for a specific wine I like and he offered up something similar. My wife and I both got a glass of the Moscato de’ Asti and it was out of this world. Then the bread guy came around and I went with the Pretzel roll. I ended up flagging him down for another one later on it was so good. The menu at Aureole is Prix Fixe with a choice of either a three-course meal or seven-course tasting menu. We both went with the three-course. For starters, I had Maine Lobster Salad, while my wife went with the Mushroom Ravioli. I didn’t like the mixed vegetable blend that mine sat on but the lobster was good. For the main course, my wife had the free-range chicken and in an act of Mad Cow defiance, I choose the Steak Special. It was a marinated NY steak with a peppercorn sauce and what turned out to basically be fries with a special sauce. Mine was outstanding. My wife however took one bite and was faced with a dilemma, when you are using fine linens, how do you spit out your food? The taste actually turned her stomach. I tried it and I think the problem was one of texture and too many different seasonings. She poked at it for a while and then they took it away. The Captain came over and asked what was wrong and I told him “She just didn’t like it, when you try new things sometimes that happens.” However, regardless of my position on the matter, he insisted he would take it off the bill and then brought us another bottle of water on the house. For dessert, my wife had the assorted Ice Creams and I went with the Bartlett Pear Crisp with Cinnamon Brioche and Rum Raisin Ice Cream. Both were spectacular. The bill came to $156 after taking off $30 for the chicken. Other than the chicken being too over the top for my wife, we both agreed it was a fine experience as usual.

    Since I have started working from home, there is only so much time I can stand being in a monkey suit, so we changed before gambling some more. We gambled a little here and there and then I hit $120 on a Price Check machine. I ran a hundred though my Texas Tea machine and we called it a night.

    Christmas day, sadly our last full day in paradise, started off with an early wake up call from my folks wishing us Merry Christmas. My dad could hardly speak he was so jealous I was in Vegas and he was not so I rubbed it in even further by telling him I was up $107 gambling on the week. Then it was off to the House of Blues for another breakfast. Unfortunately they were closed, so you guessed it, Raffles. The plan for today was to go over to MGM and play until our Christmas lunch at Emeril’s Fish House. On the way we walked through Tropicana and I played a Reel ‘Em In machine. Nothing! It was then, realizing I had lost about $160 in those stupid machines this trip without getting the bonus screen once, that I swore off on the “Fishin’ machines” for good. On the way over the bridge to MGM I got offered a watch for $2. We walked in the door and saw security on its way to chase off the “entrepreneur.”

    We wandered around MGM and every table was $25 minimum or above. My wife found a Double Diamond to play and I just watched. Then we found some Monopoly machines. They were old school (no ticket in/ticket out) and 90 coin machines. I didn’t notice this until the money was already in the machine so I decided to just play it out. Five spins (20 seconds) later, I was seated next to my wife watching her just finish putting her winning ticket in another Double Diamond machine. Hers went fast and we were both so irritated we left without going to Emeril’s. Oh well, maybe next trip.

    Back at Mandalay, we decided to split up and meet back in the room in a couple hours. I headed to the poker room to give it awhirl. I sat in on a 4-8 Hold ‘em game and played for two hours finishing up $45. That was certainly a heck of a lot better time than any time I ever spent on any other table game. Most everyone at the table was just having a good time and chatting quite a bit. The only real exception was this idiot who sat down with his chips and saw the little blind was in front of him so I stood up and walked around. When he returned the dealer told him it was 3 to call not two since he missed the blind and he freaked out. The guy goes on tilt because of a lousy dollar! Then he finally calms down and another person sits down with the blind at the other end of the table and doesn’t get charged the “extra dollar.” He bolts up and heads to talk to the “head honcho”. Coming back dejected one guy asked what he said. His response… “That I’m an a**hole!” Personally I had to agree and finally the guy got on my nerves enough I just left.

    I must say it was pretty good first experience. I only made one mistake the whole time. I had pocket Kings and the cocktail waitress came by with my fuzzy navel. I heard dealer say your play sir and turned around announcing, “I’ll bet” and put my money out there before I realized he was talking to guy beside me. As I collected my chips later in the hand I apologized to the table for my gaff. I didn’t feel so bad since someone else did it later and he had seemed like he knew what he was doing prior to that.

    At around 3:15, I met up with my wife and we headed to the One Club to see what we had coming. Between the two of us we got $25 and a coupon book. The book had a coupon for 15% off two buffets so we decided to give it a try. After waiting an hour we finally got our seats. It was $21.75 per person (before our coupon) and was good but not $21.75 good. The Prime Rib at the Plaza Diner was just as good and they had horseradish sauce instead of raw horseradish. A lesson learned and we waddled back up to the room to rest.

    After we recuperated from the gorging, we went back downstairs for one last run. Nothing to exciting for either one of us so we just went to the Island Bar to use up the Free Drink coupon on another round of Pina Coladas. My wife then went back to the room to pack and I took another run at the Poker tables. I played up for about an hour and then when I dwindled back to my buy-in I called it a day. In my three hours of play I didn’t have any “Rounders moments”, but then again, my guess in the big dogs from the WSOP don’t play in the 4-8 game at the Mandalay Bay! J But, I did have a lot of fun and will be definitely be back there again.

    After four days of gambling I was up $10 still. One more run at my Texas Tea machine. I played the $100 cash out from Poker up to $150 and then back down to $20 and cashed out.

    After packing up our things, I wrote a note for my Uncle, who was arriving Friday for a couple days at THE hotel, and put our unused coupons in the envelope. The next morning, after checking out and before our driver arrived, I ran it over to THE hotel. The place looks really nice! High ceilings, interesting lighting and minimalist decorating style. Too bad the bedding is all feathers or I might like staying there.

    So at 6:30 am My wife and left the Mandalay Bay and headed to the airport. I was all depressed and she was happy to be getting home. Four nights is a little too much for her. Check-in and security were both a breeze. The people in front of us at check-in where not sure where they were going, maybe Fort Collins, maybe Wichita? Then they left their carry-on sitting by the check-in counter. Now that must have been some vacation, we need their trip report! By 7:15 we were on the tram headed for the D gates. I stopped at the gaming store to buy some chips so I could practice handling them a bit so I don’t look like such a novice next time I am in the Poker room by counting out my bets one chip at a time. Then as we were getting ready to leave I had a Vegas moment. Over the load speaker comes the following announcement: “To the gentleman who left his hearing aid and false teeth in the men’s restroom, IF you can hear me please return and pick up you belongings.”

    Well that is about it. I hope you enjoyed it. I always get a kick out of reliving the trips when I write these!

    [​IMG] T-152 [​IMG]
  2. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

    Sep 21, 2002
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Great Trip report. I like the trip reports with lots of details. I also liked the last part about the airport announcement.

    I've always wanted to eat at Aureole, but it is still on the list. Too bad you didn't go to Emeril's. That place is definitely one of my favorites.
  3. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002
    Nice trip report! It was an enjoyable read. Someday I'll like to try staying/gambling at Mandalay Bay but for now, my wife and I stay and gamble only at the Tropicana. Thanks for sharing your trip report.

    T-173 (I think)
  4. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

    Jan 8, 2003
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR - love the details. And that airport announcement is classic [​IMG]

    Too bad you've had such stinky luck on the Reel Em In's. I've hit them a few times, and one of my best friends has hit repeatedly on them (albeit in Atlantic City)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.