1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

First Timers do Vegas! The Stratosphere and a little bit of Everything Else!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by katie3472, Mar 30, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. katie3472

    katie3472 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    0

    My Trip Report

    A little background first….

    Hubby and I are both 30 and are really micro-rollers and we love to gamble locally. We’ve spent time in Gulfport/Biloxi (pre-Katrina) as well as Tunica. We’ve wanted to go to Las Vegas for a long time, but with two small kids, we always defaulted to a family vacation. We finally decided that we needed to get away, and had originally planned on taking a cruise, but the dates and airfare never worked out. I suggested that maybe it was time to go to Vegas instead, and hubby agreed.

    We started researching packages through Southwest, but after a bit of research decided to book separately. We ended up booking a room at the Stratosphere for less than $250 for five nights and our flights out of Rockford, IL through Allegiant for $580 for the two of us. We thought both we good deals.

    Somehow, we stumbled upon the MyVegas Facebook game and played religiously for the six weeks prior to our trip. We ended up amassing enough points for the Circus Circus Steakhouse, Tender Steakhouse, $50 Food and Beverage credit at Monte Carlo, The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage, The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, and 2 Lunch Buffets at Bellagio. We were incredibly excited as we would have never splurged on most of these things, so it really made for a great trip.

    Now, to the main event….

    We flew out on Sunday, March 17 from Rockford. We’d never flown Allegiant before, but the price was right and the location much more convenient than driving all the way to Chicago. We paid $50 each way for one checked bag and somehow stuffed all of our things in the one bag (with a weight limit of 40 pounds!) The incoming flight from Vegas was about 30 minutes late, which in turn made our departure late. When the plane finally arrived, there was a “minor maintenance issue” which took another 30 minutes or so to fix, and we finally took-off about an hour late. The flight was fine, we purchased two sodas, beef jerky, and some cashews for $12 total. We arrived in Vegas about 11:00 PM local time, and really enjoyed watching the Strip light up below us while landing. Our luggage was waiting for us at baggage claim, and we were off to the car rental center. We easily found the bus, and after a short ride, arrived. We’d originally reserved a car through Payless, but after reading some pretty awful reviews, cancelled and rebooked with a better deal through Budget for $120 for six days, including taxes and fees. The line at the Budget counter was about seven people deep when we arrived, and the line didn’t move for at least 20 minutes. The manager finally came out and opened up another terminal, so the line finally started to move. We waited in line for about 45 minutes total, listening to a hippie from Hawaii debate religion with a suburban lady from Oregon. Interesting, to say the least  We finally got our car, a VW GTI, and headed to the hotel. We had planned on taking the back way to avoid traffic on the Strip since it was so late, but we were too excited – we had to see it. So, against better judgment, we took off down Las Vegas Avenue.

    To say it was amazing is an understatement. It was really hard for hubby to keep his eyes on the road with all of the scenery. Two things that made me look – a girl walking down the sidewalk, barefoot (yuck!), and a walking billboard. What can I say, I’m a little green  We finally arrived at the Stratosphere at 1:30 AM. We’d booked the cheapest room possible, but after a bit of research, realized that the Premiere tower was the most desirable location, so hubby decided to give the $20 trick a try. He made the sandwich, and asked the girl at the desk if there were any complimentary upgrades to the Premiere tower available. She seemed sort of shocked when she saw the $20, and set it down on the counter close to hubby and said she’d check. After looking for a minute, she said she could get us a room in the Premiere tower, and left the $20 next to hubby during check-in. Hubby handed it back to her afterward, and she seemed very grateful. In retrospect, I’m sure that we could have gotten that upgrade without the $20, but it was fun to try for the first time. We hauled our luggage to our room, and then decided we were hungry. Hubby had already mapped out a Jack-in-the-Box near the hotel, so off we went. Neither one of us had ever been to one before, so we had no idea what to get. On an impulse, I decided to order some churro bites, and man, were they delicious! We took our grub back to the hotel, ate, and finally died about 3:30 AM (5:30 our time – that’s what time I get up in the morning – yikes!).
     
  2. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,656
    Can't wait to read the rest! Especially about all your freebies.
     
  3. Liondownnow

    Liondownnow Tourist

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    35
    I agree, a great start...hope you finish..
     
  4. katie3472

    katie3472 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    0
    Day 2 - Hoover Dam, Bellagio, and LOVE

    We had big plans for Monday. First, our friend Jen decided to meet us in Vegas. She lives in Austin currently, but her and hubby worked together when we all lived in Jackson, MS. We hadn’t seen her in almost five years since we moved, so we were happy to finally be reunited. We woke up at 5:45 to my phone alarm that I’d forgotten to turn off, and of course couldn’t fall back asleep. We got ready and went to Circus Circus to pick up Jen around 8:00. We got Krispy Kremes for breakfast, as that’s a treat we hadn’t had since we lived in Mississippi, and then left for the Hoover Dam.

    At the Hoover Dam, we did the power plant tour and then walked around for awhile. Neither of us has been West before, so to us the landscape was amazing! Everything was so big and beautiful!
    [​IMG]
    After the Hoover Dam, hubby decided that he needed to buy a Powerball ticket, and of course the only place to do that is in Arizona. We used the GPS to find the nearest gas station in Arizona – 20 miles away - and set off. When we finally got to where the GPS was leading us, there was no gas station. It was just some lonely road through the desert, so no Powerball ticket for us. Either way, it was a beautiful drive with good company and I’m glad we went. When we made it back to Nevada, we stopped at the “Welcome to Nevada” sign to take some pictures. I also decided that I needed some desert rocks for my collection – I’m a Pre-K teacher and they will make a perfect addition to our science center! The whole time I was searching for rocks, hubby and Jen kept teasing me about rattlesnakes – I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy! That’s okay, though – I got a bag full of rocks and left without a snake bite :)
    [​IMG]
    We then headed back to Las Vegas and were back in the city by 1:15. Our first stop was the Bellagio, as we had our MyVegas reward for the lunch buffet. As we’d been snacking on donuts all morning, we weren’t quite ready for lunch yet, so we went to the Conservatory. It was beautiful and had just been redone for spring.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    We walked around the Bellagio a bit, and were feeling a bit thirsty, so decided to go sit down at a video poker bar for a drink. Hubby and I put our money in and played a few hands and got our drinks free, but Jen was just standing with us and was charged $16 for a vodka and Red Bull! I about fell out of my chair. We decided that it was time to start gambling, so we found some machines and dug in. I hit a $50 bonus on a Wizard of Oz machine right away, so that made me happy. Hubby enjoyed a Let it Ride poker machine, but unfortunately didn’t win on it. We were starting to get hungry, so we headed over to the Mlife desk to redeem our MyVegas award, and it was super simple. We headed to the buffet and were in line by 2:45. After about a 10 minute wait, we were seated. We noticed several other MyVegas players in line at the buffet too, so it must be a popular reward choice. Jen decided to do the all-you-can drink package at the buffet for $8, but she found it difficult to get refills in a timely manner. Service in general was just average, but the food was great. We hit it right at the lunch/dinner switch, which worked out well for us. Some highlights from the buffet – sushi was yummy, flank steak was above what I’d expected, and the bread pudding was to die for. We left the buffet around 5:00 and decided to go check out the Luxor.

    Jen was feeling thirsty again, so we stopped at Evening Call in the Luxor for one of those frozen drink concoctions. Hubby doesn’t drink at all (he’s never had alcohol once!), and I’m not a huge drinker, either, but went ahead and got one of the smaller drinks for $11. It was okay – I probably wouldn’t do one of these again - too sweet for me. We decided to try some slots, and after playing for a bit I hit a $116 bonus on a penny Crystal machine! Hubby lost all that I had won, and we ended up leaving Luxor around 7:00 even with what we’d came.

    We dropped Jen back off at Circus Circus, and then headed back to the Strat to get ready for our show. Hubby’s mom bought us tickets to see Love, and the show was at 9:30. We freshened up, and then popped into the Player’s Club at the Strat to sign up for a card, since we knew it would be closed when we returned later that night. We then took off for the Mirage and arrived there around 8:30. We gambled just long enough to get a drink and lose $25, and then went to get in line for the show. While in line, we met a guy from Milwaukee and chatted with him for a while.

    I really enjoyed the show, but hubby wasn’t impressed. He’s a huge Beatles fan, so I was surprised that he didn’t like it. He said it was too “foo-foo”, plus he was tired and kept falling asleep during the quiet parts. I, however, thought it was exceptional and had no trouble staying awake :cheers: After the show, we played a bit more and I won back that $25 on a Grease machine. We went back to the Stratosphere and decided to try our luck there, but easily lost a quick $100. Nothing hit, but we did earn enough points to get two free buffets. We went upstairs and died around 2:00.

    Day 3 coming soon.....
     
  5. VegasSteven

    VegasSteven Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Colorado
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    Although I've never stayed there, something about the Stratosphere I've always liked. I guess it's the vibe. I make a visit there to shoot dice every trip.

    Really enjoying your report so far. Looking forward to the rest.
     
  6. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    314
    Location:
    Twin Cities/Western Wisconsin
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    22
    Great pics & I can't wait to hear the rest of the trip.
     
  7. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Messages:
    11,334
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    175
    Good start so far.
    After some of the recent posts about the CC Steakhouse, I'm anxiously awaiting your review.
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.