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Dolphin Trainer for a Day (pre-trip + TR later)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Snotick, Jan 29, 2014.

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  1. Snotick

    Snotick Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    102
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    17

    My Trip Report

    As a graduation gift for our 17 year old daughter we gave her the Dolphin Trainer for a Day. Needless to say, she is thrilled.

    First a little back story. My kids have been home schooled for the past 8 years. My daughter finished high school this past December. She also started classes at community college in December and got her first job in November.

    My wife and I went to the Dolphin habitat last October on the 3 for $57 deal. This is where we got the idea. I own two weeks at Jockey Club, so the hotel would be covered (or so I thought)

    Like dummies, we awarded our daughter with this gift in early December. We knew that her quarterly break was going to be the first week of March. Just before I got ready to book the trip, my wife discovered that she had something at work that would not allow her to go on the trip. So, we had to shelve the idea for now. Yesterday, my wife got the green light to go.

    I started with Airfare. SWA had some of the cheapest rates I've seen and they fit the days we wanted to go. Check I checked Mirage to see if any of the days were available for the trainer program. (they only allow 4 people per day) Check

    I called Jockey Club to see if I could get a room. No Dice. But, I had a Cosmopolitan 2 night comp that I hadn't used. Called to check the 3 nights we were looking for. Sunday and Monday were comped. The third night was quoted at $580 !!! At first, I just thought this was Cosmo, being Cosmo. (the light bulb hadn't gone off yet)

    No big deal, I thought. I will just book 2 nights at Cosmo and pick up a third some place else. Since we were going to be at the Mirage, I checked myVegas for offers. $48 for a night was perfect. We would stay at Mirage on Sunday, do the dolphin thing on Monday, and move to Cosmo for Monday and Tuesday Night. I called Cosmo to book Monday and Tuesday. After a couple of minutes, she said the comp wasn't available for Tuesday. (again, the light bulb never went off) I said, fine, book it for Sunday and Monday. Done.

    I went back to myVegas and figured, I would book Tuesday night at the Mirage and just do the Dolphin thing on Tuesday. Nope, the offer was only available for March 2nd (Sunday). Hmmm. OK. I then I will find someplace else. Aria, Nope, same restrictions. Monte Carlo? Nope, same restrictions. MGM, Nope. Are you seeing a trend? What the heck is going on?

    I start checking Kayak and other travel sites for rooms the night of March 4th. $250 -1100 for one night. A little more checking and find that there is a Ag convention starting March 4th. Now, I'm getting a little nervous. I already booked three airfares and the Cosmo. Was this trip going to get derailed due to one night?

    Finally, I decide to go with Southpoint for the last night. $125 Total. I can live with that. The girls want to go to the outlet malls on Tuesday, so we will just take a cab from Cosmo, drop the girls and then I will continue to Southpoint.

    Planning a Vegas trip shouldn't be this difficult. But, it's all set now. Will continue to look for myVegas Buffets that fit in to our plans. This will be my first time ever in Southpoint. But, with our flight leaving at 9AM Weds, we will be there for less than 24 hours.

    Airfare total was $455 for three of us (I had some Rapid Reward Points remaining) Southpoint room $125. And the Dolphin Trainer for a Day was $700 ($550 for my daughter and $150 for my wife to be an observer)

    I may try to do a live update, since the girls will be off doing their thing 90% of the time. Then I will give a full review of the Dolphin experience (all be it from a 17 year old girls point of view)

    Stay tuned.
     
  2. Letsdoit

    Letsdoit Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    Messages:
    220
    Location:
    Montreal
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    Looking forward to you TR. Wow, the airfare was a great price. Wish we had those prices in Canada!

    Enjoy and good luck!!!:peace:
     
  3. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    519
    Location:
    Hannibal Mo
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50
    The Southpoint should be just fine. Certainly not as fancy as Cosmo, but excellent for the price. I think you might be able to do a little better on the price for Southpoint..... I used travelaxe.com and found that www.hotelclub.com has the Southpoint for the night of March 4th for $78.47 including tax, plus the $14 resort fee = $92.47. And it says 'free cancellation'.

    I've not used hotelclub before, travelaxe also listed several other websites that had that night for Southpoint less than what you're paying. It's only $32 savings but it sounds like your a deal lover like me.

    Have a great trip!
    diane
     
  4. Snotick

    Snotick Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    102
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    17
    I decided to wait until we got home to post the TR. I started typing the first entry on my cell phone, but after the 4th mistake in the first sentence, I gave up. I hate typing long entries on my cell phone.

    A quick update to my original post. I was able to book Sun/Mon nights at the Jockey Club, so we cancelled the comped rooms at Cosmo. They still didn't have Tues night available. So, we were planning to make the move to Southpoint for that last night (more on this later)

    Day 1 (Sunday) Our flight departed at 7:30am, so we got up around 5am. It was bitterly cold (about 16 below windshield) We had some snow the night before, so I started the day with some shoveling. Headed to the airport and everything was on time. Arrived in Vegas just after 9:30am. Grabbed our one checked bag and hit the taxi line. Not a big surprise, zero wait this early on a Sunday morning. Had the driver take us to Cosmo, since it's to get to than Jockey Club. We could have checked in at that time, but they only had a room that faced the Cosmo wall. Since this was the first time in Vegas for my daughter, we said we would wait for a North (Bellagio) facing room. So, we checked the bags and hit the strip.

    First stop was Bellagio conservatory. Unfortunately they were changing things over, so we got to see bits and pieces as they were taking it down. Next was a stop was Planet Ho for an Earl's sandwich, a quick bet on a couple hockey games and then the torture began.

    In the past, my Vegas trips have been a mix of leisurely walks, with breaks for gambling, drinking and general relaxation. With both my wife and daughter on this trip, it was a non stop shopathon. I felt obligated to hang out with them as much as possible, since this trip was for my daughters graduation. So, first up was the Miracle Mile shops. No key chain, t-shirt, or trinket was left unturned. After a few hours, we got to see sunlight again and strolled down to the M&M store, followed by a stop at the MGM. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but this continued until about 4pm, when we finally returned to the Jockey Club and got our room. Luckily they were both kind of tired from the early start, so they checked out a couple of movies and I got to head down to the Cosmo Casino for a little gambling. I spent about an hour playing slots. I'm sure it was just the short time frame, but it seemed like nothing was paying out. After a couple of beers, I headed back to the room down about $50.

    Day 2 (Monday - Dolphin Day) We were all still on Midwest time, so we were up around 6:30am. We got dressed and headed towards the Mirage. We walked down the East side of the strip, and around the Quad. My wife and I both commented on how we liked the look of the new area. We walked under the new Ferris wheel, it looks really cool. I look forward to riding it in the fall.
    We finally got to Mirage around 9:30, we had to wait 15 minutes for someone from the Dolphin facility to come out. From there, they took them behind the scenes. They were served a Continental breakfast and my daughter changed into her wet suit. They had some educational and procedural things to go over before her day began. I gambled a little, since the Dolphin habitat didn't open for another hour. This was my only win of the trip, $50 on the Ferris Bueller slot machine.

    For anyone that hasn't been to the dolphin habitat, they don't do any shows. The trainers will come out every 15-30 minutes to work with the dolphins. My daughter would get to see what they go through on a daily basis. The trainers were very nice, they explained what they were doing and why each interaction was important. Things started off slow, but by the end of the day, she was in the water interacting and even had one dolphin swim her back from the middle of the pool, while she held the dorsal fin. Overall, the experience was awesome.

    The program wrapped up around 4pm. I had myVegas rewards for the Mirage buffet, but both the wife and daughter were still stuffed from lunch, so we passed. Instead, they wanted to sneak over to the Fashion Show Mall. I cringed at the thought, but they said there was only a couple of stores that they had never been too and it wouldn't take long. I've only been to the food court portion of the FSM, (when I've stayed at the Wynn). I can safely say, I will never go back. That place was designed to keep you confused and lost for days. When we finally made our way back outside, I felt like Andy Dufrene at the end of Shawshank Redemption.

    We started the walk back to the Jockey Club. We caught the Volcano show at the Mirage. (in approx 25 trips to Vegas, this is the first time I had seen the Volcano) As we approached the Forum Shops, the shopaholics decided they wanted to walk through and check out the shops. I agreed, but only if I could walk ahead and sit at the Caesar’s sports book. By the time we made it back to the room, we were all pretty exhausted. We repacked our stuff, since we were moving to Southpoint the next day.

    Day 3 (Moving Day, or is it?) Wife and daughter decide they want to walk down to the Venetian, since they missed it the night before. I decided I'd had enough window shopping for one lifetime, so I stayed behind. We had myVegas Aria buffet passes, so I told them to meet me at the buffet around noon. My job for the morning was to print our boarding passes, drop the bags with the bellman and check out. I had been trying for a couple of weeks to extend our stay at the Jockey Club through this last night. But, due to a large convention, no rooms had opened up. When I dropped the keys on the checkout counter, the receptionist asked “are you ready to check out?”. I said, “I guess so, unless you have another night available” She punched a few things into the computer and said we can stay another night. Awesome! I took the bags back up to the room and called Southpoint to cancel my reservation. I fully expected to lose either a deposit or the full amount, since I was canceling on such short notice. Luckily, they said they would refund the full amount this one time. Again, Awesome! I was thinking this might be my lucky day. Turns out, not really. I played a few slots at Cosmo and Aria before lunch and nothing seemed to want to pay out. I played a little more after lunch and it was more of the same so I called it quits. We all met up around dusk to watch the Bellagio Fountains a few times, then headed back to the room.

    Day 4 We flew out at 9:15am, so we had little time to do anything. The flight was uneventful and we arrived home to that cold Nebraska weather. (we really need to move)

    This trip was completely different from what I am used to. My last two trips have been over 10 days each. With this short of a trip, I felt my gambling was forced or rushed. Not sure how much that played into things. Slots seemed to be pretty tight this trip. I didn't play any poker, and only made one sports bet.

    Also, there were a lot of people in Vegas this time. I know there was a large convention, but this is the busiest I've seen the strip in the last few years.
     
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