**A very rough Day 1 July 26** After 2 hours of sleep, the alarm woke us at 4:00am. Only for a trip to Vegas will I jump out of bed and be bright eyed and bushy tailed. I woke up my boyfriend Frank, gathered our bags and we were off to my Dads at 4:30. Arrived on time 5:00 rang the doorbell 3 times before anyone answeredâ€¦they were still sleeping. While my brother, sister and dad gathered their stuff; we headed to white castle for breakfast (the only place open before 6:00) We picked them up and were finally headed to Midway only 40 minutes behind schedule. Arrived about 7:15 at Midway we had an 8:00 flight through Southwest. We used curbside check in the line wasnâ€™t too long, and we received two A and three B boarding passes. It finally began to sink in that we were going to VEGAS! No problems with security just had to show our IDâ€™s a couple of times. Our terminal happened to be the very last one in the corridor (it was a very long walk). At the terminal we were greeted by my aunt, uncle, their 2 boys (2 and 4yrs.) and my grandparents. They told us to wait in the line that led to the SW counter I had no clue why we needed to, but I never flown SW before so we did as they said. While we waited in line they began pre-boarding then called Aâ€™s and Bâ€™s finally we arrived to the counter gave the lady our IDâ€™s she told us we already checked in and we could board the plane. I was so aggravated we were last group on a sold out planeâ€¦so seat choices were very limited. The flight itself was problem free but I was very anxious to get to my favorite city, so the 3 Â½ hour flight seemed to take days. We arrived at McCarran at 10:00am; the 11 of us headed to the baggage claimâ€¦of course the SW carousel was the very last one down by door 14. We picked up our luggage as I went to grab my bag; the strap on my purse broke. I was off to a rough start. Meanwhile we asked where Flamingoâ€™s check in desk was locatedâ€¦of course it was near carousel 1 so the 11 of us fought the crowds once again. Luckily there was no line; my aunt and uncle were unable to check in because they requested a specific adjoining room (next to where my other aunt was staying) and it was occupied the people hadnâ€™t checked out yet. My grandparents had no problems they were given the room keys to the exact room type requested. I reserved 2 rooms, one for us and one for my dadâ€¦I requested a king and 2 queens both in smokingâ€¦they reserved us 2 queens and 2 doubles in non-smoking. The lady was very nice and corrected the mistake, but our rooms were not ready yet she said they should be in an hour and when we arrived at the Flamingo to use the information desk around the corner from hotel registration to receive our room keys. Also they wanted to hold a 75.00 deposit for each room on my credit card for â€œincidentalsâ€ (to make outside phone calls and the ability to have room service) I didnâ€™t like the idea at allâ€¦I donâ€™t use room service and I wasnâ€™t going to make 75.00 worth of phone calls. The lady said we could avoid the â€œincidentalâ€ charges by not having these servicesâ€¦fine by me especially since local calls were 1.00 from the room. Now were we headed back to door 14 to use LVL I researched and found it would be the cheapest way for the 11 of us to get to the hotel. They wanted 72.00 for the limo that would hold usâ€¦no thanks, we opted for the 4.25 p/p on the LVL shuttle bus. The ride wasnâ€™t bad but it took a while because the driver used the tunnel then took Las Vegas Blvd. Instead of the back roadsâ€¦I suppose it was scenic but I really wanted to get to the hotel. The stops were based on south to north properties, I believe we were the 4th stop it took 30-40 minutes to get to the Flamingo. More than an hour passed, so Frank and I headed to the info desk to get our room keys. We left the rest of the family near check in so my uncle could see if his room was ready (the lines were horrible). The info desk had a line 10 people deep, Frank and I took turns standing in line while the other tried the slots. $25 later we were told the rooms were not ready, asked to move us to rooms that were availableâ€¦good thing we did because the lady at the airport had 2 doubles instead of 2 queens. Changed rooms one was available and mine was waiting to be cleaned. We figured weâ€™d put our stuff in my dadâ€™s room until ours was ready. Went back to the lobby met my dad, brother and sister (the rest of the family went to their rooms) then headed to the 26th floor the room was at the end of the hallway (yes another long walk) walked into the room and it was occupied, luckily the guests werenâ€™t in the room but all their stuff wasâ€¦so we quickly closed the door and proceeded to the house phone (I didnâ€™t want to go all the way back to the desk and wait in line again). While Frank is trying to get help on the phone, a woman walks down the hallway tries to get in her room but her key doesnâ€™t seem to work (wonder why?) We asked if she was in room 26002 sure enough she was, I told her we could get her in. She was the nicest lady she was changing rooms because she wanted non-smoking and they put her in smoking, she offered us to leave our luggage in the room while she packed her stuff. We worked it out amongst ourselves before Frank received any assistance from the front desk. Then we headed to the 7th floor were the rest of the familyâ€™s rooms were locatedâ€¦funny thing 3 for 3 no one was there. Now we lost them, while looking for them I decided to find a pay phone to call my Mom she arrived in LV 3 days prior and was staying at the IP, it was after 1:00 she expected me to call by noon. Called the IP but she wasnâ€™t in the room (probably got tired of waiting for us) so I left a message with our room number. We continued our mission to located the family, ended up running into my cousin that was getting married and another cousin I hadnâ€™t seen in 5 years. Began walking in circles, constantly being told by security that those under 21 must stay on the tile or main carpeting. It sounds much easier than it isâ€¦eventually, we learned where my brother and sister could and couldnâ€™t walk. Finally ran into my aunt who arrived the day before, she told us everyone else was eating lunch at Lindyâ€™s. I was incredibly aggravated I thought it was very inconsiderate of them not to invite us or even let us know where they were headed. Meanwhile, Frank called his family that lives in LV to begin making plans to visit with them. Turned out that his aunt and uncle had 2 for 1 buffet coupons for the Palms buffet and enough points to have the buffet comped. Which worked out well since we planned on visiting Gold Coast and Palms with my mom on Friday night, so instead of taking the shuttle from Barbary his uncle would pick us up from the Flamingo. Now I just had to reach my mom to let her know about the minor change of plans. Found a payphone again no answerâ€¦ Nearly another hour passed so Frank and I headed back to the info desk to see if our room was ready yetâ€¦line was shorter this time only about 7 ahead of us. Of course our room still wasnâ€™t ready, we were getting upset by this point and made it very clear that we wanted a room that was ready and we were not going to wait in line again. Amazingly, we were given room keys our room was 26139 on the 26th floor. With keys in hand, we made our way up to my dadâ€™s room to get our bags. My dadâ€™s room was nice it had a view of the Bellagio fountains and Ballyâ€™sâ€¦I was so jealous. After gazing at the strip out the window, we grabbed our bags and headed to our room. Not knowing at the time that you could walk the entire 26th floor, we went down the bank of elevators in the shopping area, walked through the casino, to our bank of elevators near Lindyâ€™s and walked down what seemed to be an endless hallway. Finally after 3:00 we had arrived in our room, we had pool view, the room was larger than my dadâ€™s but ours was more worn. I noticed the light on the phone was flashingâ€¦it was a message from my mom; she said sheâ€™d be in her room or in the casino. After freshening up a bit, we headed to the IP to meet up with my mom. I tried her room and tried paging in the casino, but I couldnâ€™t reach herâ€¦figured because it was just my luck. In attempt to pass some time I tried a favorite 0.05 slot machine from last trip â€œpress your luckâ€ well didnâ€™t have any luck, I couldnâ€™t even get the bonus round. Decided to try mom againâ€¦still no answer. Frank decided to try some blackjackâ€¦he had no luck either. It was after 4:00 still couldnâ€™t find my mom; I was incredibly stressed so I told Frank I needed a drink. We sat at the bar ordered a couple long island iced teas, and no sooner than my first sipâ€¦I saw my moms head bobbing down the casino floor. I jumped out of my seat and ran (frank thought I had lost my mind) Finally, found her and her boyfriend, Blaineâ€¦I was so relieved. They got hungry so they went over to Harrahâ€™s buffet. We went up to her room because I really wanted to see what the rooms were like. The elevators were very, very slowâ€¦the room was smaller than ours at the Flamingo, the colors were very busy and bright, they had strip view w/ a balcony over carnival court. I though the balcony was great. The room was worn but no worse than ours at the Flamingo. Even though my mom and Blaine had eaten they wanted to check out the Palms, so we went back to Flamingo, Frankâ€™s uncle picked us up and we headed to the Palms. Mom and Blaine gambled while we met up with the rest of Frankâ€™s family at the buffet. After waiting 45minutes for a table for 6, we headed to the FOOD, I was starving I hadnâ€™t eaten anything since white castles. Overall I was very disgusted by the Palms buffet. Every plate I picked up was dirty, the knifes at the table were dirty, the food wasnâ€™t very good, service was slow and to top it off the waitress spilled a glass of pink lemonade down frankâ€™s uncles back. A while later the manager offered to give him his money back for his meal, but it was comped so they credited his slot card 4000 the points. After the buffet went to find my mom again, luckily I found her right away. She wanted to leave she couldnâ€™t win a thing and was very upset with the poor drink service. We took a look around, I was very disappointed with the Palms it had nothing that interested me. I had heard it compared to Hard Rock and it was supposed to be a hip place. I thought HR is much nicer and Palms was really dead for Friday night. We left Palms and headed to Paris, my mom hadnâ€™t seen it yet. We picked up the new Park Place connection cards and gambled for a bit. No winnings for any of us, at least we had decent drink service. Franks uncle wanted to call it a night, so he dropped us off at the IP. We decided to stay and gamble there. Finally the day started to improve, too bad it took until nearly 11:00. We had a great time at the IP. I played $5 on press your luck and lets make a deal on both machines I cashed out with $40. I finally started to recover some of my losses from earlier in the day. Drinks were plentiful I was feeling pretty good. My mom is the most frugal gambler Iâ€™ve ever seen, she was a â€œhigh rollerâ€ this trip betting $20 a day. The funniest thing is she makes it last. She sat on a 3-coin nickel machine for 2 hours, only began with 2.00 and cashed out with $25. Frank wasnâ€™t able to hit anything but he was having a great time watching my mom. Blaine was making a killing on .05 Jeanie machines. I ended up cashing in another $50. It was a past 2:00am LV time, since we were awake for over 24hrs Frank and I decided to call it a night. Mom and Blaine were leaving Sat. so we wouldnâ€™t see the again. We walked back to Flamingo, I counted my money and I had more than I came with, but Frank was down. As soon as our heads hit the pillow we were out. **Day 2 the wedding and gambling** After about 6 hours of sleep, Frank and I met up with my dad, brother, and sister we had lunch at Lindyâ€™s. Service was fast, food was good, and the bill was 52.00 for the 5 of us. After lunch, we headed over to the Mirage to meet up with the rest of the familyâ€¦my first real day of Vegas sunshine I was in heaven. The family was going to see the Secret Garden, Frank and I have seen it on a past trip, so we opted to go gamble. Frank headed straight for the spin to win .25 machines. I went looking for some .25 double diamond machines. I was down $40 found a DD machine calling meâ€¦4th reel I hit for 95.00 I was thrilledâ€¦it was TITO so I took my ticket and cashed it in, I was up 55.00. Frank didnâ€™t have much luckâ€¦he was down. Met up with the family and headed back to Flamingo to get ready for the wedding. The wedding was in the garden chapel outside at 4:00. I was disappointed by the ceremonyâ€¦the gardens are gorgeous as well as the gazebo, but the chairs were in the sun, (I love the Vegas sun but it was hot! When youâ€™re all dressed up) the seating went downhill so you really couldnâ€™t see anything besides the person in front of you. The bride and groom had microphones but you could really hear the vows because of the loud hum from the speakers. After they were wed, they began pictures at 4:30 the next wedding party came walking up the sidewalk. Talk about a tight schedule. The reception was held in one of Flamingoâ€™s banquet rooms. The DJ coordinated everything the moment we walked through the door. It was a fun evening, the DJ really kept things moving and had all guests involved. We were served Caesars salad, blackened chicken with potatoes, spinach, carrots, artichokes, and asparagus. The food was pretty good although Iâ€™m not a veggie person. I was surprised how many people came out for the wedding; there were at least 60, not bad considering everyone came out from Chicago. After the wedding, we walked down to see the Bellagio fountains (my favorite) I Saw a few shows that I hadnâ€™t seen before. Afterwards, we walked back to the Mirage, my brother wanted to see the volcano. We watched it erupt once, then my brother and sister went back to the hotel room. Frank went back to his spin to win machines. I showed my dad how to play the slots, he was curious about wheel of fortune. Found some TITO .25 WF after a few spins, he got to spin the wheel, landed on 150 I showed him the, Oh so important cash out button and he took his ticket for 38.00. I had a nickel machine calling me, played $5 cashed out with $45. Frank won a small amount but he was still down. Headed over to Harrahâ€™s had really bad luck on every .05 machine I touched. Found a DD machine $5 in another $45 out. Frank and my dad had no luck at Harrahâ€™s. My dad headed back to the room. Frank wanted to eat, we tried Harrahâ€™s garden cafÃ© but the wait was really long. Decided weâ€™d try Lindyâ€™s again for the 5.95 steak and eggs, this time service was sloooowwww. BE ADVISED: donâ€™t eat the steak and eggs at Lindyâ€™s. I couldnâ€™t eat my eggs they were so bad, at least the steak was edible. It was almost 3:00 so we headed to the room for some sleep. **Day 3 more gambling and the Improv** Sunday we began gambling at Flamingo, everything was cold and greedy. We couldnâ€™t win a thing, I didnâ€™t even see a single cocktail waitress in the Flamingo the entire trip. We decided to head to Ballyâ€™s sidewalk cafÃ©. The food and service was good as always. Afterwards, we tried are luck still werenâ€™t able to win a thing. Did see slot machines with T.V. screens I thought that was pretty funny. Franks aunt and uncle picked us up, to see his grandparents that live in Summerlin. I absolutely love their house, it up the mountains the view from the back yard it the LV strip. Itâ€™s truly an amazing sight to see. We had tickets to see the Improv at Harrahâ€™sâ€¦a must do on every Vegas trip. Once again, the show was great, 6 for 6 havenâ€™t been disappointed yet. After the show, we walked over to Venetian played some slotsâ€¦found a .25 winning for dummyâ€™s I won about $30, Frank gave it a try and lost. Played some DD but they were teasing me big timeâ€¦seen the DD symbols land in every possible position besides on the pay line. Tried to find cheap BJ at Casino Royale but no open tablesâ€¦went back to Ballyâ€™s we had some 2 for 1 coupons for margaritas. Had a couple of drinks played some games. Still no big winsâ€¦we were getting hungry again. Decided to have the steak and eggs at Sidewalk cafÃ©, again it was great. We grabbed some more margaritas and headed over to Paris, then to Aladdin. I had to try and play the machine I won 750.00 on last trip. No wins here either, but drink service was good and we had a blast. It was after 4:00 so we called it a night and headed back to Flamingo. **Day 4 lots of walking** We met up with my dad, brother and sister then started the day, with the lunch buffet at Harrahâ€™s. Took advantage of the $3 off coupon handed out in the carnival court. The buffet was great, good service and selection loved the shrimp. Then we headed to Ballyâ€™s to catch the monorail to MGM, on the way Frank and I stopped at the sports book bar for another 2for1 margarita. The bartender told Frankâ€¦the young lady would have to step away from the bar, I told him I was 22â€¦he said Iâ€™ll check your ID and weâ€™ll see about that. I proudly showed him my ID he seemed upset that he misjudged my age. No margarita though, only had them on the rocks we wanted the frozen kind. We were waiting for the monorail, it was so hot in the tram station, I wish they would have misters in there. It was the only time I sweat the entire trip. We crossed over to Tropicana for the Chicken Challenge but the lines were way to long. Walked over to Excalibur took the tram to Mandalay. Frank and I gambled while they went to see the shark reef. Frank finally started winning, but I couldnâ€™t hit anything. Afterwards we took the walkway to Luxor, my brother and sister went to the arcade and we went to gamble some more. Frank was happy because he finally found an open $5 BJ table. I had a .25 crystal 5 machine calling my name; I won 150.00 my 4th spin. My dad lost his winnings from the night at the Mirage. I found another DD cashed out another $50. Found Frank he was doing well with BJ. But it was time to get my brother and sister. They went to catch the shuttle to Hard Rock and Frank and I went back to MGM. I was disappointed they had the family feud corner blocked off. I thought that was really neat last trip. Frank tried roulette ended up hitting a number, and taking the winnings. Played some slots and had some drinks. Then took the monorail back to Ballyâ€™s. Picked up our margaritas and headed to Bellagio to watch the fountains. Again we saw shows we hadnâ€™t seen before, plus some of our favorites. We were getting hungry so we decided to eat at the Bellagio cafÃ©, the line was long we were told it would be a 15min wait, it turned out to be over 1/2hr. The menu was way over priced, the food was all right and the service was terrible. I was really disappointed. We hit the slots, couldnâ€™t win anything didnâ€™t see any cocktail waitresses here either. We decided to go back to the IP, Frank sat at a BJ table for a few hours, I tried some .05 and couldnâ€™t get bonus rounds on anything. They all sucked up my money. Frank was up at the table so he gave me some money. I put $5 into a triple diamond machine and cashed out with 95.00. It was after 4:00 our feet were killing us, so we went back to our room. **Day 5 the last day** We checked out of our rooms, my grandparents kept theirs until 3pm so we left our bags in their room. I made arrangement with LVL to have a limo pick us up, only 7 of us returned on the same flight, so we were able to get the limo for 38.00 it would pick us up at 3:30. Frank and I took my brother and sister to Mirageâ€™s lunch buffet. I was really disappointed with the quality, service, and selection on this trip. It was my favorite strip buffet. Not sure if its went down hill or if we caught it at a bad time. Afterwards Frank went to play spin to win again, he finally had some winnings. But was still down for the trip. I tried some DD, but didnâ€™t winâ€¦I was done gambling. I did pretty well I was only down 200.00 that covered gaming, drink and food expenses. We made a stop at the Ghirardelli ice cream shopâ€¦another must do every Vegas trip. Itâ€™s expensive but so good. We stopped in the IP to say good-bye to Frankâ€™s uncle and headed back to the Flamingo. The limo picked us up on time, we had no problems at McCarran. We were in the SW gates by 4:00 they didnâ€™t start the boarding passes until 4:25 (90 min before the flight). We had no trouble getting Aâ€™s for everyone. We were able to get the exit row, and the flight was a time. We arrived back in Chicago by 11:00pm It gets harder and harder to leave every trip. It was too depressing to be home so we booked another trip 8/21-8/26 only 2 weeks until Frank and I are back to our favorite cityâ€¦LAS VEGAS!