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End of Summer Family Blowout: 5 Nights, 2 Hotels, Lots of Fun 8/22-8/27

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by M_ILIS, Sep 1, 2014.

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  1. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41

    My Trip Report

    Prelude: How does an offer for one free night at an off-Strip property expand itself into our longest Vegas trip ever? Through savvy strategizing, more free nights and a ton of rationalization, that’s how! It all started maybe six months ago when someone posted on VMB about a contest South Point was having for a free vacation. Even if you didn’t win the grand prize, everyone who entered was to get a redemption code for one free weeknight stay. Having stayed at South Point twice previously and loved it, I jumped all over that contest.

    At some point I was delivered the bad news that I didn’t win the big vacation package, but I did indeed qualify for a free weeknight stay. The deal had a “book by” date of June 1. That just happens to be my wife’s birthday, and we were on a quick getaway at the time when I remembered that it was “do or die” time to reserve my free night. We always prefer to start our trips on Sundays to avoid bad traffic from Southern California, so I chose a Sunday night toward the end of summer, although at the time, I had no real vision for what the trip would entail. Seeing some of our trips are with our kids – 16-year-old son and six-year-old daughter – and others are just me and my wife, my son asked when I booked it whether or not he was going to go. I gave him the choice and he said that yes, he’d want to go. Great! Family trip it is, then!

    As the plans started coming together, my son’s tune changed and he informed us that he hates our family Vegas trips and has no interest in going. (Remember, he’s a hormonal 16-year-old boy.) We reluctantly said “Okay fine” and arranged for him to stay with his grandparents. (Haha, have fun with the 70-somethings while we go live it up in Vegas.) This also gave us the chance to focus more activities on our little one, so that’s what we did.

    We decided to stay the one free night at South Point and then move to Monte Carlo using two free nights from MyVegas for Monday and Tuesday. My daughter has taken hip hop dance classes for the last year or so, so we also decided to attend a Jabbawockeez show courtesy a combination of two MyVegas free ticket rewards and a Travelzoo deal for around $45 for the third seat. We got everything booked and all was set, until…

    About two weeks before our trip, someone posted a message to the “Five Hundy By Midnight” Facebook group, alerting me to the “Cajon Crawl.” It turns out CalTrans had chosen our weekend as one of five when they were planning to close two lanes of the northbound Cajon Pass. There were warnings of terrible traffic, which would ruin our otherwise-foolproof plan to drive to Vegas on Sunday morning. I had a feeling this was all a big PR stunt to make things sound much worse than they’d actually be (after all, the lane closure was only going to be for a mile), but I didn’t let that stop me from a huge rationalization that led to an important question – “Why wait until Sunday when we can go to Vegas on Friday?”

    I ran the idea past my wife and she was all for it. It really didn’t make any sense – fight the worst Vegas traffic possible (after work on Friday) in order to avoid a minor delay on Sunday morning. But we didn’t let logic prevent us from extending our vacation by two days. I found a good deal on an Orbitz 48-hour sale that saved 15% on South Point’s weekend rate, so we added Friday and Saturday nights for somewhere around $130 total. Hard to beat!

    We had tons of plans and I’m pretty sure we stuck to them all, including a visit to the Children’s Museum, dinner at Giada, the Jabbawockeez show, returns to old favorites and discovering new places. We’ll also cover our low-roller gambling ups and downs, plenty of pool time, the absolute best golf experience of my life, a semi-encounter with a celebrity, plus a whole lot more! Join us for the ride…
     
  2. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Friday, August 22
    I raced home after working a full day and we left around 4:30 pm. We fought stop-and-go traffic for the first 90 minutes or so, but then once atop the Cajon Pass, everything was smooth sailing. We stopped in Barstow and bought my daughter some small, crappy toys at the one store where everything should be guaranteed to break within a day of purchasing it. Rather than stop to eat, we pushed on to Vegas and I suggested a place I’d seen a few times but never tried called Raising Cane’s. It’s a fast food place that specializes in chicken fingers. I figure if that’s all they do, they better be damn good chicken fingers. My wife and daughter agreed and we pulled in to their parking lot just over five hours after leaving home – not bad for a Friday night, in my opinion.

    Raising Cane’s was very tasty (highlighted by a really unique signature dipping sauce) and we then went to check in at South Point. We valeted and had a bellman handle our bags, and were given a room on the 7th floor overlooking the casino building – just barely. The view was terrible, but we decided to just accept it rather than pay the upgrade fee for a mid-level room. We were all settled in by around 11:30.

    My wife and daughter were tired and ready for bed, but I opted to head downstairs to begin gambling and take in the “Dirty at 12:30” free comedy show at South Point. I played one line of nickel DDB VP on a 50-play machine and lost about $8 before making my way over to the comedy show in the Grandview Lounge. There was a really big crowd there for the show, which was encouraging, but the show sucked. Big time. (I consider myself somewhat of a stand-up comedy connoisseur, having attended lots and lots of good smaller shows in LA over the years.) On this show, the recurring phenomenon was that many of the comics had the cadence and stage presence of an actual comedian, but there was almost no humor in their material. I’m no prude whatsoever, but “dirty just for dirty’s sake” doesn’t appeal to me, so maybe that colored my perception of the show somewhat. For the most part, it felt like I wasted an hour of time in there. I left after about six comics had performed and didn’t stick around to see who was the headliner.

    I returned to the same VP machine and continued losing. Then I found a Super Times Pay machine and hit quad 3s on DDB, bringing me back near even for the night.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_015156 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    My bankroll replenished, I returned to playing one line on the 50-play machine. I hit no other quads and ended the night down $20. Despite the loss, things were looking up. After all, we were in Vegas two nights earlier than originally planned and looking forward to four and a half big days to follow.
     
  3. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Saturday, August 23
    My daughter awoke Saturday morning eager to hit the pool, so she and I headed downstairs while my wife got ready and fetched the customary $1 Bloody Marys from the casino bar. The Bloody Marys were delicious and we ended up having several each. We were shocked at how cold they’re able to keep the South Point pool water. It was a little hard to get in, but the coolness kept it constantly refreshing even once you got used to it, so that was great.

    On one trip to get more Bloody Marys at the casino bar, I noticed the quarter Bonus Poker progressive was over $2,100. I slipped in $10 with visions of a great story – “I only went to get two Bloody Marys and won two grand!” – but had no such luck. I lost the $10 and returned to the pool with $12 worth of Bloody Marys instead.

    Around 1:00, we returned to the room to get ready to head downtown to the Discovery Children’s Museum. We suddenly realized we were all really hungry and didn’t want to wait for lunch, so we decided to try Del Mar Deli at South Point. I ordered a corned beef sandwich and a foot long hot dog, and both were delicious! With the 15% off coupon in the South Point funbook, it was only around $13 for both.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_132126 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_132134 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    We arrived at the Children’s Museum around 3:00 and stayed until it closed at 5:00. I was concerned we maybe hadn’t left ourselves enough time to see everything, but two hours was just right. My daughter had a blast and there are some fun and interesting exhibits for visitors of all ages. Admission was $12 per person and there’s free parking in the adjacent parking structure (on weekends anyway).

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_150953 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    When we left, my daughter was still up for more “play time” and requested we head straight to the Downtown Container Park. She played in the playground, frolicked in the misters and had a great time. My wife got sticker shock when the wine bar Bin 702 charged her $14 for a plastic cup of red wine. Then we got a “Lemonade Shaker” from a candy store that was $5, too. We sat at a table and enjoyed our two beverages for $20. It was a great time of day with the late afternoon sunlight making everything look really beautiful.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_174254 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_180407 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Soon we were all hungry and headed over to Main Street Station for dinner at Triple 7 Brew Pub. There was a line of several parties ahead of us and instead of taking our name, they just left everyone in a big line until there was a table ready for the front group. That seemed weird to me, but after a while we were seated and got down to business. My wife ordered a large High Roller Gold, my daughter got a virgin margarita and I had the beer sampler, 5 oz. glasses of each of the five microbrews they offer. For dinner, my wife had a Tiger Crunch Roll while my daughter had a burger and I opted for the meatloaf. Everything was really good. After dinner I got a B Connected card and we looked around a bit, but not as much as I would have preferred because my daughter was getting tired and restless.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_185346 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_194258 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    One really cool feature at South Point is the fact the pool is open until 10:00 pm. So my wife went to do her first gambling of the trip while my daughter (who had gotten a second wind) and I returned to the pool.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140823_204401 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    After about 15 minutes at the pool, my wife came galloping out of the casino with a big smile on her face. Not only had she turned $20 into $40, but on her way to join us at the pool, she walked by Dave Coulier of “Full House” fame after he had performed at South Point. Apparently they looked at each other and smiled, and she was thrilled to have exchanged glances with Uncle Joey!

    After the pool closed, we all returned to the room and my daughter and I were both getting tired. We hung out and watched TV for a while, and we both ended up falling asleep. Meanwhile, my wife had descended to the casino and won another $40 or so, returning to the room around 1:30 am with a TITO for almost $90.
     
  4. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Sunday, August 24
    Sunday morning began bright and early for me, as I had a 7:42 tee time at Cascata in Boulder City. It’s about a 25-minute drive from South Point, and I wanted to arrive early, so I left the hotel around 6:30. When you exit Highway 95 and turn onto Cascata Drive, all you see is a sign warning that you’re on a private road and then you arrive at a gate with a call box. I gave the guy my name and tee time, and he opened the gate and instructed me to proceed to the valet up near the clubhouse. And so began the absolute best golf experience of my life.

    When you arrive at the valet, not only does someone park your car, but another guy whisks away your clubs while yet another employee takes you inside and shows you all around, eventually leading to the locker room. There, an engraved placard with my name on it was affixed to my locker. A friend of mine came to town specifically for this round of golf, so we were both blown away by the reception we received. We paid our green fees and were introduced to our caddie, Brian. He took us out to the range and then we hit a few putts before heading to the first tee.

    I’ll keep this short to not lose too many non-golfer readers, but all I can say is this is one of the best courses I’ve ever played and by far the most amazing overall service I’ve ever received at a golf course. It was a gorgeous morning and the course was in immaculate condition, even though they were preparing to close for overseeding in the near future. If you ever get a chance to play Cascata, do it. You will not be disappointed.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_075951 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_080221 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_082344 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_084706 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_093751 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_095422 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_105121 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Riding a high after the round, I said goodbye to my friend and returned to the home base of South Point. For the second day in a row, we got lunch from Del Mar Deli. Today it was a turkey sandwich (the sandwiches are huge, New York-deli style, so it easily fed two of us) and a corn dog with fries. The food was very good and again I saved 15% with a funbook coupon.

    Then we hit the pool for a couple hours in the midday heat. Fortunately we lucked into great weather the whole trip, with mostly clear skies and temperatures that never reached triple digits. Still, a couple hours in 95 degree sun was about all we could handle, so we headed back inside to go bowling.

    We all bowled two games, using a funbook coupon to save some money. It was a lot of fun, and then we hit the arcade for a while, where my daughter played games and won some prizes.

    [video=youtube;b8Non0t9cak]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8Non0t9cak[/video]

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_173336 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    By the time we returned to the room and showered, it was time for our dinner reservation at Primarily Prime Rib. We’ve eaten here several times before and loved it, and tonight lived up to expectations. I can’t imagine much better food and service at this price point of approximately $18 per plate. The bread, the salad, the prime rib, the free dessert from the funbook coupon –*it was all delicious. I just adore this restaurant.

    Following another late-night swim session, tonight was my turn to gamble and I headed straight back to the nickel 50-play DDB machine, again playing just one line. I hit one quad (Queens), but still there was nothing doing at all. I found myself down $38 and about to call it a night. I walked over to a quarter machine and decided to risk $20 to see if I could recoup my losses. There was no need to risk $20, however, because all it took was $1.25. On my very first hand, I got dealt 4-5-6-8 clubs, and got the 7 on the draw for a straight flush! I immediately cashed out and found myself up a bit for the trip.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140824_225915 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_000034 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Trying to stick to my original plan of nickel DDB, I returned to the 50-play machine and yet again couldn’t get anything going other than this:

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_003920 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    After a long quad-less drought, I was down $20 for the night again. I roamed around the casino a bit and spotted a China Mystery video slot, which I’ve been playing religiously on MyVegas since they introduced it a few weeks ago. A couple was just getting up from the machine when I slipped in a $20, bet 30 cents and bam, I hit 72 free spins right out of the gate! The free spins totaled around $27 in winnings, so once again I cashed out immediately to return to up a bit for the night.

    I spent the remainder of the night playing the three-play Super Times Pay machine I had played a couple nights earlier. I had some decent hits but called it a night around 2:30 am. Thanks to a couple huge quick hits, I was only down $20 for the night and $50 for the trip.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_012232 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_013049 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_013531 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_014031 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Between the amazing golf, the fun swimming and bowling, the great dinner at Primarily Prime Rib and the huge saves in the casino, it had been one hell of a great day.
     
  5. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Monday, August 25
    Monday morning we all slept late and faced the realization it was moving day to Monte Carlo. We checked out by noon and had a bellman take our luggage, because we wanted to take advantage of Big Sur Oyster Bar’s 12:00-4:00 lunch specials. During that time, they offer half price oysters and clams and a variety of lunch specials at $7.95 each. We ordered a dozen oysters and an order of fish tacos. Unfortunately, it was all really bland. This was the first real meal at any South Point restaurant that has left us disappointed.

    We bought a few items in the South Point gift shop, where prices on wine and beer are comparable or better than prices at my supermarket back home. Then I hit the cashier’s window and requested a roll of quarters, which led to a question for my wife and daughter: “Do you guys like pinball?”

    They said yes so we headed up the 15 to Tropicana Ave. and east to the Pinball Hall of Fame. We walked in to find not only a huge variety of pinball machines, but also tons of old-school video games. It was really awesome. I had a few bucks worth of quarters in addition to the roll of quarters, and that $14 or so lasted us at least an hour playing games. I had a blast playing Track & Field, Tron, and a few other games from my childhood. The owner was really friendly and welcoming with sort of an eccentric streak, often repeating some mantra about ensuring “the fun.” We’re definitely likely to return here on future trips.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_134227 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_134708 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_140115 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    We then made our way over to the Monte Carlo valet and fortunately got checked in fairly quickly. I was pleasantly surprised with our room assignment, on the 30th floor overlooking the pool complex and with stunning views of Aria and the collection of buildings formerly known as CityCenter.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_150057 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_145827 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    We had tickets for Jabbawockeez at Luxor at 7:00, but we were able to squeeze in some pool time beforehand. My daughter had never been in a lazy river before and immediately loved it. Even better, they let her take her own inflatable ring into the pool area, saving us $10 each day. I was really impressed with the Monte Carlo pool complex. There’s a regular pool, a wave pool, the lazy river and a jacuzzi. Everything is done on a small scale, but done really well and the views of Aria gleaming in the sunlight never get old.

    We then got some snacks at the food court to hold us over until our post-show dinner. We got chicken nachos from Rubio’s and bacon cheese fries from some place that was branded with both Nathan’s signage as well as Original Chicken Tenders signage. Both items were great and hit the spot.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_165614 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Around 6:00 we retrieved our car from the valet and drove over to Luxor. We received our tickets from will call and entered the theater with plenty of time to spare. Due to buying two seats from MyVegas and one through a Travelzoo deal, only two seats were together and the other was a few rows in front of those two. I explained this to the usher on the way in and asked if there was any way to all sit together. Within a couple minutes he had arranged for new seats for us, which turned out to be in the second row! I gave him a $10 tip and the seats were awesome, just left of center.

    We all really enjoyed the show. Personally I felt some of the crowd interaction bits went on a little long and the attempts at comedy felt labored compared to the dancing segments, but that’s just nitpicking. We all had a great time.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140825_182302 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Afterward we took the tram to Mandalay Bay to use a 2-for-1 MyVegas pass for the buffet. The buffet was just okay and we felt a little rushed because they started packing up a lot of the food not long after we arrived. My daughter tried crab legs for the first time and loved them. We also enjoyed the peel-and-eat shrimp. Had we not had the MyVegas reward, I’d probably be bummed that we “wasted” a dinner here. I was amused to see how many misspellings there were on the embossed gold labels for food items – “cheese lasanga,” “grilled asparragus,” and “au juce” for the prime rib, are just a few examples. Definitely reflects poorly on the staff and Mandalay Bay as a whole.

    We took what I assume was the last tram of the night (it stops running at 10:30 for some reason) back to our car at Luxor and made our way back to our room at Monte Carlo. By 11:30 I was headed downstairs to begin gambling, and I found the exact same type of 50-play nickel VP machine I had been playing at South Point, although the pay tables were a little worse at Monte Carlo. I went quad-less and lost $25 rather quickly, considering I was only wagering 25 cents per hand.

    I then switched games on the same machine to play 10 hands of DDB and JOB at the penny level rather than nickels. This move ended up paying off with a few amazing hits, but too bad they came when I only had 5 cents on each hand:

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_001350 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_002741 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    I got back to even for the night, but then I blew $20 in a Buffalo Stampede machine over the course of 10 or 15 minutes.

    I didn’t want to lose much more, but I wasn’t quite ready to turn in for the night, so I put $5 in a $1 video blackjack machine and won 6 of 7 hands. I cashed out up $5 and took that $10 over to a quarter JOB machine. I did well right out of the gate and and hit this after only a few minutes:

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_010008 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Following the pattern from the whole trip, single-play nickels were killing me but quarters and novelty games were saving my ass. After that quad, I was up for the night. I lost another $5 in an electronic roulette machine, but then I spotted one of the interactive roulette wheels with the actual wheel and electronic wagering. There was a $3 minimum per spin at 50 cents per chip. I put $10 in and lost my first two spins, but won $9 or so on the third when “all in.” I then kept my head above water for a few spins until I loaded up on 11, with two chips directly on 11 and two on the corners, among a few other bets. Sure enough, 11 hit and I won $45 on that spin. Suddenly I was exactly even for the trip and ready to call it a night!
     
  6. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Tuesday, August 26
    Again I started the day well before my wife and daughter because I had a 7:40 tee time at TPC Las Vegas. The course was in good shape but a little lackluster, design-wise in my opinion, especially for the normal rates they charge. I happened to get a good rate of only $50 through GolfNow.com, so it was worth that.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140831_131817 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140831_131857 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140831_132017 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    I made it back to Monte Carlo by around 12:30. Today was our one full day at Monte Carlo, so we wanted to make the most of the pool. We headed down and rented inflatable tubes for my wife and I ($10 each or $5 each after 2:00 pm), and spent much of the afternoon floating in the lazy river. We also had a MyVegas reward for “Picnic at the Pool” which consisted of a bucket of beers and either a cheeseburger, pizza or nachos. We’d seen the nachos the day before and they looked great, so we got that. Not sure our daughter would like them, we also ordered some chicken fingers. All the food was great (I assume it’s prepared at The Pub, because the chicken fingers had The Pub branding on the serving plate) and they let us split the bucket of beers into 3 Coronas and 3 Stellas, so that was an amazing deal. Based on dollar value for the loyalty points, it’s undoubtedly one of the best MyVegas rewards available.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_143300 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Although we spent most of the day in the lazy river, we also enjoyed the wave pool and ended the afternoon in the regular pool. Again we loved the whole pool complex and would gladly return here again.

    When staying at Monte Carlo, you’re inundated with Blue Man Group marketing everywhere you go – in the elevators, on the TV, on huge signs in the lobby, etc. So suddenly my daughter had taken a keen interest in the Blue Man Group, but we had no time to attend a show on this trip. Thankfully, they do a Blue Man Parade every day at 6:15 through the casino. We went down a few minutes beforehand and waited in front of the Blue Man theater. The Blue Men themselves don’t appear, but a bunch of percussionists in bizarre vehicles parade their way through and then stop and play a couple songs in front of the theater. It was sort of fun, and scratched that itch somewhat for my daughter.

    Tonight was the big dinner night of the trip with 8:15 reservations at Giada at the Cromwell. We decided to take the tram to Bellagio and then walk through B out to the corner of Flamingo and LV Blvd. to arrive at the Cromwell. It was a great time of night and the tram platform at Monte Carlo/Street of Dreams offers some great views of the evening sky West of the Strip.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_194610 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_194733 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    That whole journey took a while, and when we arrived, we loved what we saw of the Cromwell. CET had sent me a “free birthday drink” coupon good anytime in August that I redeemed for a gin and tonic from a friendly bartender prior to ascending up the escalator to Giada. We checked in and our very first impression of Giada wasn’t really that great. We were right on time but they were sort of dismissive of us, with the hostess telling us to go sit down and they’d fetch us when they were ready. We waited probably 15 minutes before they seated us, with no explanation and other parties arriving and being seated before us. Then the hostess who showed us to our seat took my birthday gin and tonic from me and said I wasn’t allowed to bring it in, but luckily it was almost gone anyway.

    Thankfully, that was the only hiccup of the whole Giada experience. We were seated not at the main large windows, but just to the side with a view of Bally’s and a partial view of the Bellagio fountains. Our waitress was very personable and informative, although it does seem they are trained to dissuade people from ordering pasta as a main course. I was also pleasantly surprised to find they had a children’s menu with good selections for my daughter to choose from. She got a “pizzette” with meatballs and mozzarella while my wife and I started with clams casino, a Teleggio cheese plate (tried to order the Burrata but they had just run out), and then we split the lobster ravioli and the Tuscan rib-eye. It was plenty of food and everything was delicious, especially the rib-eye. The best bites were those with a little char on the outside and a lemony kick, although I never figured out how they got the lemon flavor into the steak.

    Once it’s time for dessert, they don’t utilize a standard dessert tray. Instead, they have a gleaming dessert cart that actually serves you straight from the cart. My daughter’s meal came with a s’mores flavor gelato ice cream sandwich, while I chose a chocolate tiramisu and my wife selected the “Nipples of Venus” truffles. We all tried a bit of each other’s and frankly my favorite was my daughter’s ice cream sandwich. All in all, though, the whole meal was outstanding and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. It doesn’t come cheap, though. At $200 (excluding tip) for two adults and a child (that’s with only one glass of wine), it is one of the most expensive restaurant meals we’ve ever eaten.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_200641 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_201924 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_204751 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_211707 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_211700 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    After dinner, my daughter didn’t let us leave without going in the photo booth, which we forgot all about while waiting to be seated earlier. It was really fun and they allow you to post a picture to Facebook or print a strip of three photos. We did both.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_113511 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Although my daughter has witnessed many Bellagio fountain shows on previous trips, she’d never experienced one standing right in front of the fountains before. So after dinner we crossed over in front of Bellagio and caught the 10:30 show. The song was “Proud to be an American,” which isn’t my favorite fountain song but I was happy because my daughter knew that song from school, so it was cool that she was familiar with it.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_091000 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_092802 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    We looped around the far end of the Lake Bellagio and walked up the sidewalk to the lobby, catching another fountain show on the way. (Why don’t they have the sound system so that you can hear the music on the side, too? The music is such a huge part of the overall experience, so it’s frustrating to be there but not to be able to hear what’s playing.) We toured the conservatory for a while, admiring the beautiful flowers and the koi ponds.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140826_225650 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    By 11:30, we were back at our room, although suddenly neither of our room keys would work. We never found out if it was due to two different MyVegas reservations for the rooms or if both keys simply got demagnetized. Security came up to let us in the room, but they wouldn’t send new keys up to us, instead making me go down to the front desk to retrieve them. I took the opportunity to hit them up for a late check-out the next day, and they extended us an hour to noon.

    At some point earlier in the day, my wife had done some gambling and lost $20. She handles losing money worse than I do, so that put a quick stop on her desire to gamble for the day, even though she was still up for the trip. That meant I got to go play again, and if you’ve been following along, you know what happened next. Yep, I hit the nickel DDB and went quad-less once again, losing $30 in maybe 45 minutes or so. I then got a hankering to play Let It Ride, but the only table at Monte Carlo was a $10 table while I prefer to play at the $5 level. I walked next door to NYNY, but their table was also $10, so I proceeded one more casino until I found a $5 table at Excalibur. I was the only one playing for most of the session. My biggest win was two pair after “Letting It Ride” on all three spots for $30, and after about an hour, I found myself up exactly $30, or even on the night. I cashed out and headed back to Monte Carlo at around 2:15 am. Here’s the Brooklyn Bridge, Las Vegas style:

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_093303 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Of course on the walk back I told myself that breaking even on the night is for pussies and why not try to win something when I get back to Monte Carlo. Didn’t work out, though. I quickly lost $20 (like really quickly) in a DDB quarter machine and then lost another $15 at the roulette wheel that had been good to me 24 hours earlier. Back down $35 for the night and the trip, I headed up to the room to go to sleep.
     
  7. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Wednesday, August 27
    I used to be the kind of guy for whom two or three days in Vegas is all I could handle. But lately, our trips seem to be getting longer and longer and we still don’t want to go home at the end. I think it’s due to a combination of factors – for one, I tend to do tons of research and plan our days full of activities, so there’s always something fun and different to do. Also, I think the trips with our kids keep us out of the casino enough that we aren’t doing the non-stop gambling that I did when I was younger.

    All of this is to say we all woke up on Wednesday pretty bummed that it was our last day in town. My daughter and I hit the pool as soon as we got up, and my wife joined us a bit later. My daughter re-connected with a friend she’d made the previous day and they had a great time floating in the lazy river together.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_105633 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_110615 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Around 11:00, we pulled ourselves away from the pool and went upstairs to pack and check out. I had never stayed at Monte Carlo before, but I really liked it. Our room was nice, although it did show some wear and tear in a few spots. I like the casino and the location, and the view from our 30th floor window was great. The previous night after we returned from the Bellagio fountains, my daughter even noticed that we had a fountain view through a chute of buildings from our room.

    We checked out right at 12:00 and were all ready for lunch. We’d been on two Vegas trips without returning to Rollin’ Smoke Barbeque, and I definitely didn’t want to extend that streak to three. Fortunately, I got my way and we headed straight there. My wife got the Spudtastic with brisket, my daughter got the slider trio with brisket and pulled pork, and I got a two-meat plate with ribs and brisket. We also “combo”-d each order, so we got a side salad, bacon potato salad and corn nuggets as sides. I checked in on yelp for the free dessert with any sandwich, so we got a peach cobbler thrown in for good measure. All told the bill came to only $37, including three soft drinks.

    Quite simply, I’ve never had barbecue this good anywhere else. I loved every bite of everything I had, and I ended up eating quite a bit of my daughter’s meal as well as mine. Whatever style BBQ this is – that’s the style I prefer, as everything tastes exactly how I would want it to taste if I were cooking it myself. As much as I loved the whole experience at Giada the night before, I think I left Rollin’ Smoke more satisfied with my meal than that or any other meal on this trip. If you haven’t been, go here. If you have been, you already know what I’m talking about.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_124330 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_124938 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_125050 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Not quite ready to hit the road for home, we returned to the Strip and parked at Caesars to take my daughter to the talking statue show in the Forum Shops. We found a seemingly hidden entrance right by the statues that saved us tons of time walking through the casino, so that was very cool. We’d tried to take her here on her very first Vegas trip early last summer, but we arrived too late after the last show had ended. I’m not sure this show is quite worth that 14-month wait, but it was fun nevertheless. We walked around a bit to kill time before the show, and it saddens me to see the giant FAO Schwarz turned into an H&M.

    [​IMG]IMG_20140827_140453 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr

    Out of ideas and with time ticking by, we gassed up the car and hit the road. But just as we were approaching State Line, I halfway jokingly said, “Last chance to go gamble…” when my daughter replied, “Well, I could stop to go pee.” Seeing we were basically even between my wife and I for the trip, it was easy to rationalize that we should go try to win or lose something. Then again, I didn’t want to be mad at myself the rest of the drive home, so I decided to just go play $20 at a $5 6:5 blackjack table. I played for maybe 15 minutes and found myself up $13, so I cashed out and we crossed back into California and headed home, bringing to close a great, fun-filled trip that still didn’t seem long enough even though it was our longest Vegas vacation we’ve ever taken.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  8. Sage V

    Sage V Tourist

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Sounds like good family time! Rollin Smoke is tasty and a great value too!
    Thanks for sharing..
     
  9. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,223
    Location:
    Mass
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    I loved your report! We are South Point and Monte Carlo type of people too. I have to remember their pool is open until 10! I'm not a golfer but loved the photos from the Boulder course. Going to look up the BBQ place for next trip.
     
  10. bigblue1

    bigblue1 Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    44
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Great trip report. Loved the pictures.
     
  11. mrem3200

    mrem3200 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Messages:
    777
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Great report, love the pics. Thanks for sharing.
     
  12. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Northern Nevada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    204
    What a FANTASTIC trip report... thank you for sharin'. What a GREAT reminder that a trip to Las Vegas doesn't "have" to involve multi-thousand dollar bankrolls and standing hunched over a smokey craps-table for 22 hours out of every day! Good for you folks!!!
     
  13. PayTriple

    PayTriple The Cucumber King

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
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    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    Great trip report, thanks for sharing!
     
  14. chonglosaxon

    chonglosaxon MIA

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Enjoyed the trip report Mr Webster
     
  15. queentata

    queentata High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    766
    Location:
    Crosby, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    28
    Thanks for sharing your report. Love the pics! Your daughter is a cutie!
     
  16. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Great report! And a $2100 progressive at South Point..that's pretty high. I'll definitely will need to check those bartops out before pigging out on the Double STP there. :)

    And a nearly break even trip is win too!
     
  17. Mario's Backroom

    Mario's Backroom Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Michigan
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Great trip...congrats on the wins and having a great time with your family! Hope your son had fun with the Grandparents. Thanks to your pictures, I'm going to investigate golfing Cascata....looks great! Thanks for sharing!
     
  18. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,081
    Location:
    Houston by way of Philadelphia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Fantastic trip report - you definitely maximized your Vegas time and it sounded like it turned out pretty well.

    I loved the pic of the Eiffel Tower. Awesome.

    The round of golf at Cascata sounds great. Do you mind my asking what it costs to play a round there? And do you know if they offer club rentals?
     
  19. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,587
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Enjoyed your trip report! I knew there is a way to bring children to Vegas yet still have fun for the whole family. You folks did it right!

    Enjoyed the pics! Thanks for taking the time and effort.
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  20. Packer

    Packer VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Great trip report! Good to see you having fun with the wife and your daughter in Vegas. What a busy trip! Makes me want to take my 6 1/2 year old. I have golfed at Cascata many times. The great thing is each hole is its own course. When you are on a hole you cant see any other hole at all. $500 bucks to play but I think right now its 250.. Thanks again.
     
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