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Family Vegas Vacation - July 20-27

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dbueler, Jul 30, 2012.

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  1. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    519
    Location:
    Hannibal Mo
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50

    My Trip Report

    Since this was a family trip, I will do this trip report by category. I’ve been planning this trip for 6+ months and created an extensive excel spreadsheet with a day by day plan, I bought Groupons and Restaurant.com certificates along the way, as well as gift cards and coupons from Ebay. Since my family likes to stay for at least a week, this trip could get wildly expensive very easily, therefore careful planning is a must! I am accustomed to solo trips where my hotel room is comped, my food is comped, and I use points for airfare. The family trip couldn’t be more different!

    My children are now 19 (son), 17 (daughter), and 13 (daughter) and no one, absolutely no one, loves Vegas like my kids! We take this trip every other year, rotating with beach vacations. My husband isn’t a big fan of Vegas (whatever) so the kids and I go for at least a week and he flies in later to join us. My teens consider The Orleans to be their second home.

    Our trip was Friday July 20th through Friday July 27th for my kids, I returned home on Saturday after one precious night to myself on the strip when they left. It was not nearly long enough “solo” time, but I console myself knowing I am returning to Vegas in a mere 3 weeks for a friend’s birthday.
    I will summarize the trip below and hopefully some of the reviews will be helpful to others!

    Gambling – I will put this first as it’s the topic of most interest on these boards! I am a nickel multi-line nickel player, so my wins aren’t very exciting to others, but my losses are palatable to me. The first (4) days were an absolute nightmare in the gambling department (Friday-Mon) and fortunately my husband hadn’t flown in yet, so I only gambled between 1-2 hours each day. If this were a solo trip where I was gambling 8+ hours each day, I would have lost my entire bankroll in a matter of days. I couldn’t connect anything at all.

    Tuesday-Saturday I somehow developed the Midas Touch, fortunately these were days when I played for several hours! I took pictures of my biggest wins and may post those later, for now I will summarize them:

    Orleans Tuesday – Friday morning:
    4 Aces with Kicker – Five Play DDB (twice), DEALT 4 fives on five play bonus poker, DEALT wild royal flush on Deuces Wild five play, DEALT 4 queens on DDB five play, DEALT 4 aces on DDB five play and drew 1 kicker, discarded all five cards and hit 4 deuces on deuces wild five play, DEALT 4 threes on BP five play (with kicker so that one kind of stung on bonus poker!), DEALT 4 sevens on five play BP, DEALT 4 jacks on five play DDB, held KJ of diamonds and filled a royal on DDB five play, held A-10-Q-K of hearts and drew the jack for a royal on 5 play deuces wild, held 4 threes and drew 4OAK on two hands both with kicker on five play DDB, held JQ of hearts and filled in the royal on five play BP (was my very first hand of the day!).

    Flamingo – Friday afternoon through Saturday at noon
    My room wasn’t ready when I arrived, I happily stored my bag with the bell man and hit the machines. My third hand I held K-J-Q-A of spades and drew the 10 on the second line of triple play DDB for a royal – my very first time ever to draw that damn 10. I switched to 10 play DDB and filled a royal holding only KA of clubs. I then held 2 aces on 10 play and drew 4 aces w/kicker. When the diamond checkin fella called to say my room was ready, I cashed out a $500 ticket on a $20 investment. Sweet!

    My Flamingo offer included a modest amount of freeplay, I usually run that through BP to churn it into as much cash as possible. BP positively sucked so I switched to triple play DDB on the last $10 and hit 4 aces w/kicker and a few other quads, turning my freeplay into $160 real cash.

    Feeling lucky, I decided to play $20 in Ultimate X. I love that game and play it for free online, but OMG can it suck the money. I hit 4 sevens x 4 for 1000 credits on triple play DDB and 4 fives x 4 for 500 credits on five play BP. I also hit 4 aces x4 (held 2) on five play BP for 1600 credits. Right before leaving for my flight, I played 10 play DDB and hit 4 aces w/ kicker for a final goodbye.

    I thought it was interesting my 3 royals at the Orleans were “Black” and my 2 royals at the Flamingo were both “red”. Over the years, when I’ve hit a royal at the Orleans, I’ve always hit 3 during the trip and this one was no exception! 5 royals for one trip is a personal best and a record I would love to break, although unlikely!

    Triple play, with the exception of the one royal hit and four aces w/kicker, was a dud for me. I prefer to play TP for the lower volatility, but five play was consistently hitting for me and I’m happy to play the game that’s paying.
    After 4 bad days, I came home up over $800 for the trip. I know it was much more than that as I ran out of “vacation cash” and was handing out $20 bills to the family from my gambling stash. Not a hugely exciting win to those who play higher limits (I did play some quarter and dime VP and never did hit one good hand) but a massive win for this nickel player!
    Also, this was my inaugural year for the Orleans Young At Heart club, now that I’ve turned a girlish 50. Their program has changed and they now offer 7x points on ALL machines each Tuesday for those of us fortunate enough to be over 50. I also attended the drawing at 4pm where they would draw 3 names for a cash prize. The winners hadn’t been present in prior weeks, and the money accumulates, so the cash prizes were over $3300 each. The very first name called was Patricia…followed by a long pause as the announcer struggled with reading the last name. MY first name is Patricia (although I go by my middle name) and when I heard Patricia, I nearly stroked out on the spot. I think I even pulled my card from the machine to BOLT to the podium. However, the last name was not mine, and I actually covered my face with my hands to ward off hyperventilating. My streak of never winning a drawing, ever, anywhere, continues unbroken.

    Flights: I travel on business frequently and am a devoted SW girl. However, not at double the price of Frontier! ST Louis is 1.5 hours from our home and SW wanted $280 each way, crazy! SW was $250 each way from Kansas City, which is 3 hours from our home. I purchased direct flights with upgrade seating on Frontier from Kansas City for $125 each way, which saved us $1250 on airfare. I’d never flown Frontier before, the flights were all excellent, on time, and the stretch seating was fantastic.

    My return flight on Saturday was a nightmare. I used an old SW one-way voucher that was getting ready to expire to fly back to KC through Phoenix. The Phoenix flight was delayed, at first for 40 minutes that stretched into 2 hours, then a thunderstorm hit as we were beginning to taxi for takeoff. I ended up arriving at my KC hotel at 2:15am Sunday morning, 5 hours after I had planned to arrive. Not fun.

    Limo: As a surprise for my kids, I booked a RT Limo from Bell Trans for $100 on an internet special. I hadn’t used them before and they were great, I would definitely use them again. I rec’d an email 24 hours before each pickup reminding me of the scheduled time. About ½ hour prior to pickup, I rec’d an email saying the driver had been dispatched. The driver was waiting at our baggage claim with a sign, this was so cool as the kids had been reading all the Limo driver’s signs walking through baggage claim and talking about all the VIP’s and their Limos! When the kids and I drove to the airport to pickup my husband on Monday, we held up the Limo sign for him in baggage claim, we got quite a laugh out of that.

    The Limo picked up hubby and kids Friday afternoon for their return flight, and the driver even offered to drop me at the Flamingo. I decided to take a cab as I couldn’t get their fast enough…LOL. Limo drivers were both first-class, both pickups were early, awesome service.

    Car Rental: The Orleans now has an Advantage rental car counter on site. We didn’t need a car the Friday night we arrived, so I booked a full size car from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon. The price was less expensive than renting at the airport location due to not paying airport taxes. There were several cars to choose from (I chose a new Camry), the cars were clean, the counter service was great and couldn’t have been easier. We drove to a number of shows and activities, and used $39 in gas. I had $40 in Terrible’s gas cards I had earned a couple years ago and there’s a Terribles gas station at the corner of the Orleans parking lot…perfect!

    The Orleans: I reserved (3) rooms for us, mine was comped for 4 nights with the remaining 3 nights at $25 each. The other two rooms were $25 per night as well, although this doesn’t include the $6 per night resort fee (not charged on comped nights). The rooms here are nice and large and a steal at $25 + resort fee. For this price, we all spread out across multiple rooms and enjoy vacation! The rooms were immaculately clean and well serviced.

    We really enjoyed the pool and were able to find plenty of loungers at any time of day. The water temp was actually perfect this trip; it’s usually brutally ice cold. We also enjoyed the Movie Theater, arcade, and the bowling upstairs is a big hit with the teens! My kids went to the new Batman movie the Friday night we arrived, which was the day after the Colorado shooting. Kudos to the Orleans for posting a dozen security officers in the theater.

    Negatives – The National HS Basketball finals tourney was in town and most were staying at the Orleans. I will give credit to the Orleans for attempting to control them with signs on each floor indicating what would NOT be tolerated and they posted a security guard on each floor at night. However, the Orleans cannot control what the coaches and parents do not. The boys were running the halls, slamming doors, knocking on random doors and running to hide, yelling and throwing trash in the halls, all 3 of our rooms had prank calls at 7am on two mornings so I had our phones turned off.
    It’s hard to understand how rude groups like this can be, screwing with other people’s vacations. As a frequent traveler, the summer months are the absolute worst for us business travelers and I am shocked at how children are allowed to behave. I was pleased my teens were appalled at how these kids acted, these kids certainly don’t know how to behave when given something nice. Another note, the entire week I only saw one group of the BB players headed into the buffet and we didn’t see any of them at the other restaurants either. And they certainly weren’t gambling. I filled out a survey at the Orleans saying that while this group certainly fills rooms, they don’t spend any other money there and drive off those of us who do. **End Rant**

    The ice machine on our floor was broken the entire week, we had to walk the LONG hallway then go up or down a floor to get ice a couple of times each day. Also, my TV wouldn’t get channel 3 (NBC) and one of my fave things in Vegas is watching Wake Up with the Wagners each morning. I called for maintenance, they came and were in the room a long time, but the TV was never fixed.

    FOOD:
    Mexican Restaurant at Orleans: Excellent food at reasonable prices. We had everything from nachos to fajitas to taco salad and it was all great. Service was exceptional. The bill was $50 for the 4 of us and I paid with points.

    Aurelio’s Pizza: Months ago, I purchased a Groupon for $24 which included 2 apps, 4 drinks, and a large pizza. The location was their Henderson location, we love trying new pizza places, so the teens and I used this for lunch on Monday prior to my husband arriving. We ordered fried mushrooms and cheese sticks for the apps and both were good. The Groupon was valid for a specialty pizza but none appealed to us so we ordered sausage and extra cheese. First – it was the biggest “large” pizza I’ve ever seen, served on a rack above a pan so the crust stays crispy. Secondly – the amount of cheese was impressive, and we really love our cheese! This was one of the top 3 pizzas I’ve eaten, we all ate as much as we could (and man can my teens pack the food away!) and there was still enough left for another person. I loved their sauce! We seriously discussed returning later in the week, but I had so many other food plans it didn’t happen, but we will definitely return. 4 forks!

    Outback Steakhouse: The teens love the Outback steakhouse above Casino Royale, so after picking my husband up from the airport, the 5 of us hit the Outback. I had purchased $150 in gift cards off Ebay over the last 6 months, getting most at a 20% of so discount. It’s nice to pay for the cards before you leave, the money spent is forgotten. We all ordered steaks, they were good, of course not high end, but solid. I love their blue cheese dressing. The gift cards paid for the entire meal plus a generous tip!
    I had coupons for BOGO free waffle cones at Ben & Jerry’s below Outback, but everyone was too full to contemplate ice cream, so those coupons were returned to my LV coupon file!

    BB Kings at Mirage: The teens had tickets for Terry Fator and my 19 year old son had a ticket for Tosh, both in the Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage, so it seemed logical to pick up the tickets early and eat at the property. I purchased $100 in gift certificates from Vegas for Locals on Ebay for a total of $46 and also got (4) coupons for buy an entrée, get a free appetizer for a couple of bucks. They were happy to let each of us use the coupons for a free app, what we didn’t plan on were the appetizers were dinner size! We ate what we could then enjoyed our entrees. I ordered roasted chicken which was solid; son ordered pulled pork which was surprisingly excellent. Youngest daughter ordered ribs, which were great and very tender, oldest daughter ordered a sweet bourbon glazed ribeye which, according to her, was the best steak she had ever eaten. I had a bite and I must admit it was fantastic.

    The bill for the meal was $153, the kids noticed the price and about fainted. Once they applied the coupons and the gift certificates, I owed $3 plus tip. Now that’s a deal. My kids were impressed and learned a valuable lesson about using coupons and looking for good internet deals!

    Farmer Boys Breakfast and Burgers: We are all breakfast food nuts, and I had read good reviews of this restaurant near the Orleans. My teens like to sleep late, often too late for the breakfast buffets in Vegas, so I thought this would be popular with their breakfast all day. They had lots of coupons on their website, including a 20% off your total bill coupon. We all ordered big breakfasts at noon, plus my girls upgraded to shakes for drinks. The food was good, nothing memorable, but solid and we enjoyed it. After the coupon, the bill for the 4 of us was $20, very reasonable for the big portion sizes and good food.

    Black Bear Diner:
    This restaurant is on West Tropicana about a mile past the Orleans and is a huge family fave, we eat here every year. We usually go for breakfast but I found a Living Social coupon for a couple of dollars and it was valid for $25 off your bill after 4pm….so dinner it is! The two older teens and I had huge breakfasts….the portions here are enormous! My eggs bene was excellent and perfectly prepared. My youngest ordered a taco salad….she could have put her entire head in the shell easily; I’ve never seen one so big! After the coupon, the bill was $20 plus tip. Excellent quality and a fun place to eat.

    Mon Ami Gabi & Mini Member Meet:
    I was fortunate Gregrio was in town during this trip, we have been trying to meet for about a year. He suggested MAG for breakfast Monday morning and I couldn’t accept fast enough! I’ve always wanted to eat there and I definitely wanted to try their eggs bene. Lucky for us, Sionow was also in Vegas on his long summer trip, so I invited him to join us as well. Jon and I had met at the PH diamond lounge last summer and had a blast talking and watch baseball, it was great to see him again. We had the perfect patio table directly on the railing and visited for a couple of hours. The food was fantastic and the company even better. Jon took some great pics of the food and posted them in his TR if you are interested.

    The timing was perfect as I had been adult-less for 3 days and really enjoyed talking with these Vegas Veterans! These boards have the nicest people.

    Orleans Breakfast Buffet:
    Kids & I ate here before they took off with their dad to ride the Stratosphere rides (I’m not a thrill seeker!). I had purchased (4) vouchers for this meal off ebay for a fraction of the cost. I was glad I did as their system was down and they were only taking cash and vouchers…no points usage or credit cards. The breakfast is good for the price, I’m a huge fan of the basics like scrambled eggs (theirs were too runny), eggs bene (very good), bacon (good and crisp), and biscuits & gravy (excellent). No matter the price, if you are feeding teenagers, you’re getting a good bang for the buck at a buffet! I’ll put it this way, they didn’t make any money on us.

    Prime Rib Loft – Orleans: Our 26th anniversary happened to fall during our vacation week and we decided to celebrate here, always excellent food. We sent the teens away with cash for the food court! I love the food here, especially their house Russian salad dressing. Prime rib was excellent and the cuts were generous. Great ambiance, wonderful food, really enjoyed a quiet meal with my husband. And I had plenty of points to comp the meal, even better!

    Red Rock Breakfast Buffet: I have quite a few comp dollars at Red Rock and they would expire in August, so I decided to use some of the comp dollars and play a point to keep my account active. We were driving to Red Rock Canyon, so we decided to hit the breakfast buffet first. It’s unbelievable this buffet is only $4.99 for the quality and selection. Everything I tried was good, lines were short (1-2 people) as we arrived about 8:15am but lines were really long when we left. We really enjoyed this buffet in a gorgeous property, and comped made it even better.

    Margaritaville: This is a family favorite, we go every year after an afternoon show. My kids were raised on Jimmy Buffet so the music is fun and we enjoy the food. 2 kids ordered the Volcano nachos as a meal, this is a HUGE plate of nachos and not for the faint of heart. I love the island rice, and I always order extra along with the jerk chicken. Very fun place, bill was $85 and I used CET points to pay for it. My husband thinks I’m really cool with this point stuff…LOL.

    Sin City Burgers: I had a restaurant.com cert for $25 off any bill of $35 or more. Nice little place, they make the burgers to order. Very solid, would eat here again. Our total bill for 5 was $40 less the $25 coupon, so definitely a bargain meal for a family.

    Casa Di Amore: My husbands’ favorite Italian place in the world! Another family favorite, we’ve been here many times and adore the ‘old vegas’ décor and atmosphere. My husband dreams of the linguini with clams, my son loves their pizza, the girls and I usually get spaghetti and meatballs. The French bread is homemade and served very hot, it’s awesome. They aren’t large loaves, but the 5 of us ate 9 loaves during the meal. OMG, how embarrassing. The waiter earned a good tip! I used a restaurant.com cert for $25 off our meal and the bill, after that, was $120 with tip. This is always our splurge meal and we wouldn’t change a thing.

    They also offer complimentary limo transport to and from the restaurant from just about any hotel, and will drop you wherever you like after your meal. I reserved this 3 weeks in advance, we had a car but we all enjoy the limo ride. However, they called me a few hours before our meal and said one of their limos was involved in a fender bender so they were down to only one limo, could they change our limo time to accommodate more people? I asked them to just take us off the limo list, we really didn’t need it since we had a car, and I’m sure there were many other customers who really did need the limo. She was very grateful and our teens didn’t even notice we drove ourselves, so I guess they don’t love the limo as much as I thought!

    In N Out Burger: My son & I have been very curious to find out what this restaurant is all about, the cult following is huge! We haven’t been able to work it in during other trips, so we declared we would eat there Friday before they left for the airport. Actually, we ALMOST changed our minds and returned to Aurelios Pizza, but decided to forge ahead. And made the awful decision to pull in at high noon on Friday. OMG the lines! We weren’t able to snag an inside table, although the Bueler guys did troll while we waited patiently in line. So, we sat at an outside table where 2 of the seats were unusable due to being too HOT! I thought the burgers were good, probably very good, but I would never ever go through the hassle again to go there. The line when we left snaked around the restaurant and out the door…people were standing outside in the 106 deg sun to order. Can’t say I’ve eaten anything in my life I would do that for, but to each his own.

    Flamingo Café: I ate here Friday night solo as I just wanted basic breakfast food for dinner. Service was good and the food here is always great. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, all excellent and I would order again. I paid with points.

    Flamingo Breakfast Buffet: On my solo trips, I never miss a breakfast buffet, I love them too much. I used to walk down to the Harrahs buffet as the Flamingo one sucked, but I tried it again last year and it was really good. It was excellent this time as well, good scrambled eggs, crispy bacon (best of the trip), good biscuits and gravy, and perfectly cooked eggs bene. Really good and I’m glad I get to eat there for 4 days straight at the end of August!

    Whew, I probably shouldn’t have done the food section first; you guys probably envision my family as 400# gluttons! Couldn’t be farther from the truth, my son is a state ranked tennis player who begins his college tennis career next month, both daughters are avid volleyball and tennis players, they just all eat like horses! Seriously, we do love good food and trying new places, it’s a big part of vacation for us.

    Shows:
    Terry Fator: The teens attended while mom ran around the strip picking up show tickets for the week. I bought the cheap seats at 40% off from Travelzoo, still $120 total for the 3, so not to be confused with CHEAP. They were in the last row, I knew this and apologized in advance. They texted me that the seats were great, showroom wasn’t that large, and they could see really well with the theater style seating. They really enjoyed this show, 2 thumbs up.

    TOSH: For those of you who don’t know, Tosh is a young standup comedian who is vulgar, outrageous, and very politically incorrect. My husband & son watch him most nights on TV, I would too if I could stay awake. I called two months in advance and there were only 2 single seats left, so I bought one for my son and it was the absolute highlight of his trip. Enroute home from vacation, he voted this as his #1 favorite thing he did on the entire vacation. I drove the girls back to the Orleans after Terry Fator and Chris took a cab back after Tosh. He had to wait in the cab line for an hour, but he’s young and will survive. The strip was too packed for me to contemplate driving back over for him, he thought the cab ride was expensive at $16 but that’s only a few dollars more than normal, so he definitely wasn’t long hauled. My son leaves for college in a few weeks, I thought this was good practice!

    Illusions @ the Riveria: The dud show of the trip. I bought a Groupon for (3) preferred section seats and the teens were only a few rows from the front. Problem was the seating was all flat, none of the rows were elevated at all, so it was hard to see and my kids are TALL. They thought the magic was “ok” and there was “too much dancing”. I paid $20 each for the tickets, was glad I didn’t spend a bundle for this show.

    Jeff Civilico @ Imperial Palace: I stopped by days in advance to get the ‘free’ tickets but there’s only like 10 free seats per show and they were sold out 5 days in advance. Nonetheless, I could get booth tickets for a whopping $15 each and paid with TR points. This was the HIT show of the trip! Teens were in a nice center private booth (mom & dad were at a bar, lol) and Jeff Civilico hops into their booth before the show, hiding from people taking pictures. They all start talking and he’s a really fun guy, he told them he would be at the Nathan Burton show afterwards and my kids already had tickets to that. Guess he chatted with them for some time and now he and my daughter are ‘tweeting’. He’s a comedian juggler, new to the strip, and we predict he won’t be doing a ‘free’ afternoon show for long. My kids went on and on about the show, had the time of their lives, said he was hilarious!

    Nathan Burton @ Flamingo: Kids went to this show on our last trip to LV and requested it again. Tried to get the ‘free’ tickets and they were sold out but same deal, nice private center booth for $15 each, paid with points. And yes, mom and dad were drinking in the diamond lounge while the kids were at the show…. Good for us! BTW we took the Orleans shuttle over and back so no worry about a few drinks and driving. Plus, how can you get a buzz with as much as we EAT? LOL. Teens said Nathan’s show hadn’t changed much at all from 2 years ago, and it was still good, and Jeff Civilico did some stunts during the show and waved & hollered at them from the stage. Good times.

    Recycled Percussion: Bought a Groupon for cheap general admission seats. Kids lined up early and got really good seats. Too bad the show was TOO LOUD. Yep, you heard right, my teens who wear Ipods with music blasting in the ears 24/7 complained the show was TOO LOUD and left early! Every audience member gets an ‘instrument’ (instrument=pots/pans) and everyone beats theirs constantly. It’s a shame as they thought the show would have been very good, even terrific, if they could have toned down the noise level. The Tropicana showroom is probably too small. I would have hated this show.

    Activities:
    National Atomic Testing Museum: My son asked to go and I bought a Groupon for the 4 of us for $14. I told the kids on the drive there we didn’t have to stay long, we could leave if they were bored, blah blah blah. This turned out to be a really fun stop! The movies were good and they had a REAL atomic bomb you could touch and take pics with. I learned the theme was “We really need these weapons, but we don’t want to have to use them”. How difficult developing something you really didn’t want to use. We were all interested, then we turned a corner and there was a huge piece of Ibar from the World Trade Center beside an American flag, it was awesome. It was a real moment to touch that ibar, my son kept going back to it over and over. This museum was surprisingly a lot of fun, we really enjoyed it.

    Pinball Hall of Fame: Our first time here but not our last!! My husband saves his quarters for a year then cashes them in at the bank. I hijacked $25 in quarters and stashed them in my suitcase just for this purpose. What a blast, a huge room full of old pinball machines that still take one or two quarters to play. Kids were in heaven and mom scored 55 million points on an old machine I used to play a lot as a teen and won free game after free game. Great piece of history here. We visited on Sunday afternoon and it was really busy. Air conditioning sucked though, we left after an hour.

    Stratosphere Rides: A must do every trip for my 3 thrill-seekers and their dad. They arrive when it opens at 10am, buy arm bands, and ride until they get really hot around noon. Then they return once it gets dark and ride until it closes at 1am. No one did the bungee jump, although they all wanted to, but $100pp was way too steep. My family has all bungee jumped off Royal Gorge and a number of other places, they would have loved to add this one to their list. I abhor heights and can’t even think about them on the top of the Strat, good thing I gamble while they are gone!

    Red Rock Canyon: Our first time to drive through the canyon, $7 per car, and what a great place. My husband is a biologist so he loved it here and would love to return to camp (I will be at Red Rock as my idea of camping is a room with sheets less than 600 thread count). My son was looking for wildlife and spotted someones dog and said it must be a dingo. Of course, he knew it wasn’t, but it was a running joke the entire ride through the canyon…. “I saw 3 prairie dogs and a DINGO”. He really wanted to see a wild burro too, none around. This is such an awesome place, if we lived here we would play the $35 annual fee and walk here every day.

    Helicopter Night Flight: This was a huge WOW! I purchased a groupon for $149 for 3 to take the night flight with Ifly Elite at the North Las Vegas airport. Great staff, the pilot had been a personal trainer who took a heli night flight and was so inspired; he became a pilot himself and now also gives lessons. They had the doors off the helicopter, which really wowed the kids. I was impressed with the safety steps they took and they were so friendly. Lots of great pics and memories, kids voted this a tie for the #1 activity.

    Go Cart Racing: This was the activity that tied with the heli flight as the #1 fun activity! I bought a Groupon for 3 races for 4 people for $80 at Fast Lap, it’s only 5 minutes from the Orleans. It’s an old warehouse converted into a racetrack, no air conditioning, but it is indoors. We went as soon as they opened at 11am as we thought it would be coolest then. Most of the carts were really fast and everyone had a blast. This always gets voted as one of Groupon’s Favorites, now we see why.

    Misc- A West Flamingo Fluff & Fold: We needed to drop laundry by Tuesday and I had researched this place before leaving home as our old fluff and fold is now do-it-yourself only. Due to all the activities, shows, etc, we had gone through a lot of clothes! We dropped off 2 large garbage bags stuffed with clothes and they were ready 2 hours later, cost was $40. I did our laundry myself last time and it cost $20 at the laundry mat so I was more than happy to pay for someone else and not burn hours of my vacation time! I mention this place as this is a frequently asked question on the Vegas message boards and we were really pleased. The clothes smelled WONDERFUL, were professionally folded, and ready in only 2 hours.

    Such a different trip from my normal spa and gambling trips! I’m completely exhausted and need a vacation from my vacation. Really happy I’m returning in 3 weeks for a 5 day relaxing trip! If you are still with me, thanks for hanging in there and good luck!

    BTW – I stopped at Harrahs Kansas City before driving home to swipe for the Great Race promo. You had to swipe at the TR booth (they do it for you and require ID). I had a small freeplay coupon which I played through, earned the 25 points needed for the promo, and cashed an $80 profit. Great Promo!
    diane
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  2. Bloomview

    Bloomview Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Oregon
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    I am exhausted just reading this! Totally get the feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation! How lucky for you that you will have that soon. Just want to say I am very impressed with your pre-planning and success with cost cutting measures. I too had three teens back in the day and I know how much they eat and how much it takes to keep them constructively entertained. It sounds like a great time for all!
    One comment...the kids on sports events in Vegas never get the supervision they should and it can be sooo annoying! The worst that they do is run around in the wee hours taking door tags for privacy please and or room service breakfast orders and that can really create havic for a vacationer's day!
    Thanks for a great report filled with details and good info!
     
  3. allmine1958

    allmine1958 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    123
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    Great report. You all seemed to have such fun. I had fun reading it too. I have also found BB King very good with coupon use.
     
  4. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
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    Fun TR! Thanks for taking the time to post it. I have some new ideas for our December trip now. :thumbsup:
     
  5. Candy Apple

    Candy Apple VIP Whale

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    Great report with lots of details! Thanks for sharing!
     
  6. AliGee

    AliGee Low-Roller

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    Very good, informative read, thanks for taking the time to write it up. Though for a moment there I thought that in addition to your teens you had a 10 year old son who you sent off up the strip on his own to see an X-rated comedian:eek: Of course, all in fun :poke: upon re-reading realized it was a typo. Aligee.
     
  7. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Good Read! I was stumped by the 10 year old son too!

    Sounds like you hit a couple of places I've always wanted to go to, and never made. From your descriptions now I'm kicking myself.

    Post the pictures!
     
  8. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Wow, Diane! Great TR. $800 ahead is huge, considering you have another trip in 3 weeks!! Completely agree with your "rant" about noisy brats/people in hotels. What a fun time for everyone.
     
  9. Aceman55

    Aceman55 Tourist

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    Great report. Love the info on things to do. Will be taking a family trip to Vegas in October for fall break and my birthday. Thanks for the info.
     
  10. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    I got tired just reading that.............

    A couple of years ago I ran into the teams at Orleans & Flamingo in July. It's amazing what good monitoring, etc., will do - not one time did I encounter any of them being noisy, loud, unruly, etc., on that trip. If you smiled at them, they were polite and said hello. If you asked how they were doing they loved to tell you how they did in their games. The ones I ran into that trip were GREAT. Always ran into that when my son did 13 years of hockey too - such differences in groups of kids.
     
  11. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Thanks for pointing out the 10 year old son typo, i just changed it. I think I'm a pretty cool mom, but not that cool!!
    diane
     
  12. blizzard96

    blizzard96 Low-Roller

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    Very enjoyable TR. Thanks for the BB King report. Have never tried it thinking it must have problems with all the coupons they offer but I may have to try them in October after reading your review. May also try to see the comedian at IP after your 2 thumbs up on that. What an action packed vaca!!
     
  13. couponqueen

    couponqueen Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 5, 2000
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    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Great and informative trip report. Since we were staying at the Orleans close to the same time as you and my name is also Patricia, do you remember the last name of the person at the Saturday night draw? Just curious since we weren't at the Orleans for the drawings.
     
  14. ebuzz7

    ebuzz7 Low-Roller

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    I am thinking I want you to adopt me! Sounds like you really show your kids a fantastic time. I tried to take my son last year and we had all sorts of things lined up including the indoor skydiving but he decided to work instead and I think I was more bummed than he was.
    Loved all the dining tips.
     
  15. RockinLV

    RockinLV Tourist

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    Great report! I'm gonna have to see if I can use some of this for our december trip :thumbsup:
     
  16. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Couponqueen - Through my devastation, I heard the last name started with an "N", something like Neville. It actually sounded like perhaps a Mexican name as the MC really struggled with it. My last name is Bueler so it wasn't even close. My heart did stop tho, and I got a great laugh at myself afterwards!
    diane
     
  17. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    did you guys hike the canyon? I'm staying at Red Rock next month primarily to hang out over there and i'm interested in the vibe of the hiking and what the crowds are like
     
  18. couponqueen

    couponqueen Low-Roller

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    Diane,
    I shouldn't have asked because my last name is Melville so I'll bet it was me and I wasn't there. Bummer!
     
  19. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Couponqueen - It might have been, but I'm pretty sure it started with an N. Hope it wasn't you!

    Jman - No we didn't hike it, my husband was dying to, but it was hot as hell and the girls & I all had on sandals (on purpose - I'm not hiking in the heat!). There was a fair amount of people at each stop point (3-4 cars each) but certainly no crowds. Of course, this was during the week mid-morning.

    They give you a map of the canyon and there are lots of hiking trails marked on the map, as well as camping info.

    diane
     
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