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DBueler Vegas trip with the 21 year olds

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dbueler, Oct 13, 2014.

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  1. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Las Vegas Oct 8-11 2014 with the 21 year olds….
    My son, Chris, has been to LV many times but now that he is “legal” he really wanted another trip. He plays on a university tennis team and (3) of his fellow teammates and best buddies turned 21 this summer as well. When he begged me to take him to Vegas, I told him he needed his buddies along, you can’t take a “newly legal” trip with just mom! All three guys were IN as long as we could keep the costs very low (college student budget) so I set to work. They were on fall break Thurs October 9 & 10, which is a beautiful time in Vegas.
    This trip would be vastly different than my usual 7 day leisurely trips – short, chock-full of activities, and economical. My son had the following requests:
    • Must stay at the Orleans (it’s his Vegas home)
    • Beatle’s Love show
    • Margaritaville for dinner
    • Red Rock Canyon
    • Strat tower rides
    • Go to at least one club

    I’m mainly posting this trip report as we did many different activities and hopefully there will be some nuggets of information for you!

    Air Travel:
    Budget friendly was the name of the game. I usually fly prime-time and direct, but any low cost option (within reason) was fair game. The guys could leave late Wed afternoon, and it was obvious we wouldn’t be able to fly from STL (2 hours away) as airfares started at $600pp. I found a direct flight to LV from Kansas City (3 hours away) on Spirit for $40pp plus $30 to check a bag (had to pay for a bag regardless if carryon or checking). The flight left at 9:40pm and arrived LV at 10:30pm and is usually late. Fortunately for us, our flight left and arrived early.
    I wanted to have some “surprises” for the guys on my nickel….. this group of guys come to my house every Sunday for Sunday Night Dinner, I’ve watched them play collegiate tennis for several years, I am very fond of this. The first surprise was I upgraded our seats to the BIG seats up front, first class seats but without the first class service! They were so surprised with our seats; it was so worth it to me for the extra comfort and late night arrival.

    I also bought the first round of drinks! This was the first time I’ve flown on Spirit and, while they are certainly low budget, I would fly them again. Especially for $70 compared to Southwest’s $200 flight.
    We were hoping to return on Sunday, but the flights were awfully expensive. The budget play was to fly out late Saturday afternoon on Delta. The flight connected through Salt Lake City with only a 45 minute layover. The all-in price was $105 and we would carry on our bags. Both flights left and arrived early without issue. So the total airfare for the guys was $170.

    Airport-Hotel Transportation:
    Since there were (5) of us, I knew we would have to find a van type cab or take 2 cabs. Also, we were arriving late at night and I knew I wouldn’t want to screw around with transportation problems. This lead to my next big surprise for the guys…. LIMO! I booked Presidential Limo roundtrip in a standard 6 person stretch limo. The driver was waiting for us at baggage claim, the guys couldn’t figure out why someone was standing there with my name on an IPad. I introduced Norman as our limo driver and the guys went nuts! Really priceless moment for me!

    Once we got our bags, we followed Norman to level zero and surprise… he had brought a stretch Cadillac Escalade! The guys went wild, we took pictures, and Norman had a great time laughing at the guys being so excited. We opened the bottle of champagne and toasted our arrival in Las Vegas. The guys must have taken 30 pictures inside the limo.

    I booked the RT online special with Presidential so our driver picked us up at the Orleans on Saturday afternoon. She was very nice, and was driving a super stretch limo instead of the standard stretch I had booked. Ice cold bottles of water were included and it made for a very relaxing trip to the airport. Of course, we took a ton of pictures!

    The RT online special was $120 plus tip. This was my treat and I enjoyed it every bit as much, if not more, than the guys did. Presidential was first class all the way, and I appreciated the email confirmations prior to pickup so I was confident everything was smooth as silk.

    Hotel:
    The Orleans was already filling up for our dates in July so the rates were higher than normal. The four guys all wanted to share a room, they are used to doing this on their frequent tennis trips, and wanted to all be together. I did book one of the new premium remodeled rooms at a slightly higher price and was glad I did as the remodeled rooms are really nice! The full couch came in handy for them as well. I booked the (3) nights for them for $170 plus the resort fee, so the room cost was $50 per person. Air AND hotel for $220 per person was agreeable to all!

    The Orleans was clean and friendly as usual, you can always count on them for a good stay.

    Rental Car:
    I don’t normally rent a car as I stay on the strip, but we had a number of activities that required transportation. I rented from Advantage at the Orleans and the experience was good. I’ve rented from them there before without issue, and I certainly wasn’t interested in picking up a car when we arrived so late at night. I had the car from Thursday morning to Saturday noon and the all in price was $80 for a standard size car. They did the normal up-sell, I didn’t bite, and I was quickly on my way to a nearly new Camry with only 3000 miles on it. It served our purposes perfectly! We drove around a lot and the gas bill was only $15. I paid for the car, the deal was the boys would pay for their cabs after late night activities when mom was in bed.

    Meals:
    Once we reached Kansas City, we stopped at Five Guys Burgers for dinner, man those are some awesome burgers! I picked up the tab ($47) for all 5 of us amid protests.

    Thursday morning we ate breakfast at the Orleans breakfast buffet. I was given a $15 dining credit on my room and I used points for the rest of the bill. It was a solid breakfast buffet, but like usual, the scrambled eggs look like egg soup. I can’t imagine why they do this, it’s so nasty. The rest of the food was excellent and the guys took full advantage… we were starved!

    Thursday night we had dinner at the Mirage buffet prior to the Beatle’s Love show. I used (3) MyVegas rewards – (2) comp dinner buffets, (1) comp dinner buffet, and (1) BOGO dinner buffet. So I paid for one meal (mine) and the four guys ate comped. They were very excited about beer and wine being included; they wanted to arrive early to take “full advantage”, LOL. The funny thing was they ate so much I didn’t see one guy have more than two beers! Between the five of us, we ate a wide variety of foods and they were all very good. I thought it was odd there is someone who makes your salad for you from the salad bar, you can’t fix it yourself. She made mine way to big so, although delicious, I wasted quite a bit. I thought the desserts were extra good, the whole buffet was solid.

    I knew the guys would be up late Thursday night, so I made lunch plans instead of breakfast. I bought a Groupon for Fatburger at Red Rock Casino for four or more people, I knew we would drive right by enroute to Red Rock Canyon. I was glad I had the Groupon as Fatburger is stupid expensive. The burgers are good, although not even in the same league as Five Guys, but they hit the spot!

    Friday night dinner was at Margaritaville and what a great meal we had. I planned to use my CET RC’s and encouraged everyone to order whatever they wanted. I also had a Free Appetizer coupon for signing up for the “Fin Club”. We all ordered drinks (we took the Orleans Shuttle to the strip so mom could join in the drinks!) which were huge and really strong. We ordered the volcano nachos and boneless wings for apps, I had the grilled chicken with island rice (lordy do I love their rice!) and the guys ordered the seafood mac & cheese, fish tacos, jambalaya, and my son had the cheeseburger in paradise. All the food was excellent! Our waiter was fun and very attentive, and the atmosphere was really fun with the bikini clad girl sliding down into the blender, etc… Party atmosphere and we had an absolute blast. Our bill was nearly $200 which I easily covered with RC’s.

    The guys slept in until checkout time on Saturday, so we all split up in the airport to pick up lunch. We spent the night Saturday night in Kansas City at the airport Embassy Suites (2 suites using my HHonors points) due to our late arrival, and the guys had pizza delivered to their room.

    I bought a certificate for $50 in food or beverage off Ebay for Carlos & Charlie’s in the Flamingo, I can’t remember how much I paid, I think it was $20. I knew we wouldn’t be eating there, but thought it would be a good stop for the guys to have a drink or two on their way up the strip. They stopped in and used it after dinner at Margaritaville. They said the drinks were good but not as good & strong as Margaritaville.

    Activities:
    These guys love to bowl, and I found a Groupon for bowling at the Orleans. Each Groupon was 3 games plus shoe rental for two people, so I bought 4 of them. The first night we arrived, the guys used two vouchers and played 3 games each. They said drinks were very inexpensive at the bowling lanes and they had a blast. We didn’t have time to use the remaining two vouchers, but on this particular deal, your money is refunded if the vouchers aren’t used by Oct 31st . It’s not a big deal anyway, I think I only paid $15 for those two vouchers, but nice I will get it refunded.

    KISS Mini golf – There’s a relatively new indoor miniature golf facility located near the Hard Rock Casino, it is themed after the rock group KISS. I bought a voucher off Ebay for (4) games of miniature golf for next to nothing after looking at the facility on the internet… it was really cool! It’s lit entirely by black light inside and literally everything is KISS. The final hole is Gene Simmons tongue! The folks running it were super nice and they guys had a blast. My son came in 2nd so a rematch will be in order!

    Go Kart Racing- I bought a Groupon for Fast Track Go Carts, 2 races each for 4 people. My husband and kids did this before and loved it, these are real go karts on an inside track. Since it’s close to the Orleans, it was handy as well. The guys were the only ones there, so they had the track to themselves. Their rating was “awesome”!

    Stratosphere rides- My thrill junkie kids and husband have ridden these on every single trip and it was another must-do for my son. When we arrived, only 1 ride was operational, so we came back later when they all were working. I’m terrified of heights, so the guys were on their own! They paid $35 each for unlimited rides and stayed 3-4 hours. I dropped them off then had them just cab back to the Orleans as I was tired of running around!

    Gold & Silver Pawn Shop – This was an addition to the activity list when they guys mentioned they watched Pawn Stars. Since the Strat rides were down, we drove on down to the pawn shop and were pleased there wasn’t a line. They were getting ready to film that day and the old man was there. There was a lot of cool stuff to look at and the guys enjoyed it.

    Beatles Love Show – Several of the guys are huge Beatle’s fans and this was the one request for a show. Obviously the guys wouldn’t be able to afford the $140 ticket price, good thing I am totally addicted to MyVegas! I used three rewards: (1) 2 free premium tickets, (1) 1 free premium ticket and (1) BOGO free ticket. They changed the rewards since I purchased them, so I was really glad I grabbed them when I did. I redeemed the rewards in July, paying for my ticket, and we had excellent seats… although I will say I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house. The guys had never seen a big show, so they were totally blown away. I thought the show as good, a little ‘artsy’ for me, and I do think MJ One is much better. The theater and set are awesome.

    Red Rock Canyon – My family and I have done the drive through tour before; Chris loved it there and couldn’t wait to go back. We stopped at the first scenic area, which IMO is the best one, took some pics then the guys headed down the trail. Then they started scrambling up the rocks, higher, and higher, and higher. Remember I’m terrified of heights? My stomach was churning just watching them…. I didn’t know they had planned on actually climbing! I would watch for awhile, then go back to the car and get my nerves together, then go watch some more. I finally called my husband who ‘talked me down’… “they will be just fine”, “Diane, they are athletes, they can do this”, “stop worrying and just enjoy”. Ugh. I was so grateful when I saw them climb back down to the trail and make their way back, it gave me plenty of time to become “cool” again. Although, upon their return, my son saw the text messages I had sent him “You r scaring me!”, “Please come back”, “Please come back NOW” “I love you man”… LOL! They got a good laugh over those, especially since I was trying to act cool when they returned. Honestly, they pronounced this one of the top 3 things they did in Vegas. I sped by all the other scenic areas and the guys were really thirsty, so there was no more climbing!

    Sin City Club Crawl – One of the trip “requirements” was going to a club. I know next to nothing about the clubs, but what I do know is you can spend hours in a line waiting to be ‘selected’ to go inside. I also know a group of guys won’t get chosen as quickly as a group of girls. I also knew the cover charges could be steep and drinks are very expensive. While doing research on options, I stumbled on the Sin City Club Crawl and noticed they had RAVE reviews on TA. Using a discount code from Yelp, the club crawl would cost $45 instead of $80. Attendees meet at the PBR bar in Pho and are given a free drink while waiting. Then all attendees load up on tricked-out party busses, complete with music, stripper poles, flashing lights, and a bar. The party bus goes to 3 clubs each night, you are free to stay at any club and not continue on, or stay with the group. The club crawl also included NOT waiting in line at any of the clubs, NOT paying cover charges (often $30 per club), free shots on the bus, and 2-4-1 drink coupons at the clubs. This sounded like the answer to my concerns, so the guys purchased their ticket online well in advance.

    On the night they attended, there were over 100 people going on the club tour! They used three party busses, including one double decker. The guys said the busses were awesome, everyone had a great time. It was also great for solo travelers who wanted to go clubbing, providing a way for them to join a group for the night. The guys had one solo fellow join up with them and hung out most of the night. The first stop was Body English at the Hard Rock, although the bus did a long strip ride first to get the party started on the party bus. The guys thought Body English was great, until the next stop….Drai’s.

    The guys said they walked by a line of at least 200 people that stretched clear back through the Cromwell casino. They were whisked inside and completely blown away by the lights, fog machines, music, and overall energy of Drai’s. After an hour or so, the host rounded them up and the next stop was Chateau at Paris.

    I have to say how much the guys adored their host. They said he was so friendly and partying along side of them, he kept giving them free drinks, and sometimes even bottles. He said over and over not to tip him, just leave a positive review. They said it was incredible how he found everyone in the clubs and rounded them up for the next one. They talked about him many times during our return home, and the bus driver was also very cool.

    Chateau was nice, but the guys said it couldn’t compare to Drai’s. They only stayed at Chateau a few minutes, and then walked back to Drai’s. The bouncer let them right in as they still had on their wrist band, so again they walked by the hundreds of people waiting in line. They stayed until close then cabbed back to the Orleans.

    The Sin City Club Crawl is definitely worthy of the 5 star reviews it receives! The guys ended up never buying a drink as they were given so many by their host plus the shots on the party bus. I certainly felt better knowing they had a host they could contact if there was an immediate need, and that all the transportation was provided. The guys rated this the #1 activity they did while in Vegas.

    Gambling – This wasn’t a usual gambling trip for me, just some low rolling during times when the guys were sleeping in or while they were out at night. I played the multi-line nickel Super Bonus Poker machines at the Orleans, you bet an extra coin per line and all 4oak’s pay double or more. It’s hard to say how I came out gambling because I was paying cash for tips and lots of other things, but I think I pretty much broke even.
    I had (4) hands that saved me:
    • On 5 play bonus poker, I was DEALT (4) fours, which pays 600 per line on this game. 3000 coins total = $150
    • On 5 play bonus poker, I was DEALT (4) jacks, which pays 400 per line. 2000 coins = $100
    • On 5 play DDB, I was DEALT a SF, which pays 700 per line on that game. 3500 coins = $175
    • On 5 play DDB, I held 2 aces and hit four aces w/kicker which paid 4000 on that game $200
    • Two hands later, on 5 play DDB, I held 2 aces and hit four aces, which paid 1600 on that game $90

    The guys played a lot more than I thought they would, their game of choice was blackjack. The commented how helpful the Orleans dealers were, they had all practiced BJ but were glad to have the help. Ironically, all the guys were up anywhere from $20-60 before their last night, but all lost on the last night. My son ended the trip losing $20 … I told him to count that one as a winner! Although they all slept some on the flights home, they played a lot of blackjack as well!

    I think much of their success was due to low expectations. My son would say he was “ahead $30” with stars in his eyes, that seems like so much $$ for a college student. So if they got ahead even $30, they quit. I suppose there’s a lesson there for me somewhere, haha.

    And now I will share the high-light of my trip.... my son was seated beside me on our return flight and fell asleep. I watched him sleep the entire 1 hour flight. It's been so long since I was able to watch my little guy sleep, and while he is hardly a little guy anymore, I'm still a mom. He would die of embarrassment if he knew.

    Thanks for reading the report and good luck!!
    diane
     
  2. blackjacknut

    blackjacknut VIP Whale

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    Nice trip report, thanks for posting. You get the COOL MOM AWARD!!
     
  3. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    Good thing they played BJ offstrip, where at least the rules are SEMI-decent for $5 limits...rather than the 6:5 crap on the strip.
    Good on ya for taking them! :beer:
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  4. abraxis

    abraxis Low-Roller

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    Great report, Glad everybody had a good time!
     
  5. Elf70

    Elf70 Low-Roller

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    Great trip report! What a great memory you created for both you and your son.
     
  6. pphold

    pphold pp Park Place Degenerate

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    Great TR. YOU WIN the COOL MOM award.

    Can I be one of your son's?????

    I Went to Mizzu in Columbia so I know the drive, but not so far with the savings.
     
  7. Stevie D

    Stevie D VIP Whale

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    My first ever trip was when I was 21 and went with my mom. We had a blast. One of my fondest memories of her putting putting down that last second field bet after they'd say no more bets.
     
  8. emmas

    emmas Low-Roller

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    You are one cool mama! You, your son, and his friends will probably remember this trip forever. Great fun and many memories to cherish.
     
  9. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a great trip and some great memories for you and your son and his friends.

    The high-light of your trip brought tears to my eyes. My son is 20 but will always be my little boy. Thanks for sharing!
     
  10. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    What a great Mom you are....bet all the other guys love you bunches now!! Sounds like a wonderful trip and great memories. Thanks for sharing!
     
  11. bjpcyclone

    bjpcyclone High-Roller

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    Awesome report! Refreshing to hear about so many positives instead of many negatives (which I'm guilty of too). Sounds like a great time.
     
  12. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Great report, as someone else said, you win the mom of the year award!
     
    Holiday Gift Shoppe
  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Did I read this right, you were you only in Vegas for roughly 40 hours? All the things you/they did sounded like my 6 night trip with my g/f and her parents. I can't imagine cramming that all in.
     
  14. PayTriple

    PayTriple The Cucumber King

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    Thanks for sharing and you also get my vote for Cool Mom Award!
     
  15. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

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    I think it was more like 60 hours; Wed, Thurs, and Fri nights coming home Saturday. Still, a lot was done during that time. Kids who are fit can do three-times more than what I can do in the same amount of time.

    What a special trip! Even as a guy, my eyes welled-up on the most precious moment.

    - - - Updated - - -
     
  16. NY lady- MidWest Cowboy

    NY lady- MidWest Cowboy Low-Roller

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    My son who is 24 went to Vegas with us for the first time last year. There were two highlights...he played his first ever poker tournament and WON, second highlight was waking up and seeing his face in the other queen bed. I would sit in the chair with my cup of coffee and just watch him sleep. Truly it doesn't matter how old they are they will always be "our little boys" You sure did have fun filled nights and days and made priceless lifelong memories for all the boys! Rock on Momma:nworthy:
     
  17. KyleB

    KyleB Low-Roller

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    Great report with a ton of great info. So cool how you not only took care of your son, but all of his buddies too. Im sure you gave them a trip they wont ever forget
     
  18. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    What a great trip report! And YOU are the BEST mom that any guy would be proud of! Your son is truly blessed!

    Thanks for sharing your Vegas adventure with us. And Best Wishes and Good Luck on your next trip, when you go to Vegas for YOU!
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  19. Hobofrank

    Hobofrank Prime Minister of Idiocracy

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    Cool mom for sure, my parents took me to vegas when i turned 21 too, but that was *cough* a few years ago *cough*:wink2:
    our oldest boy is almost 8, but i hope to do the same in a few short years, at this age all 3 kids love Vegas more than Disney land lol
     
  20. Rookies11

    Rookies11 Tourist

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    How come I never had a Mom like this???
     
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