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FIRST Trip, 20th Anniversary, June 2012

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by carlyzmom, Jun 22, 2012.

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  1. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Alrighty, this is my first attempt at a trip report. I'm an enthusiastic newbie to Vegas - actually a convert now!

    Background: Me, 40 yrs old and an RN. Husband, 44 yrs old and an IT Manager. Married for 20 years this June! We wanted to give Vegas a try. Always talked about it, but never seemed to fit it in.

    Friday, June 15: Drove to Houston (100 miles from home) and stayed at Hampton Inn by Hobby Airport. Had a free night. We love Hampton Inns. Nice, clean, free breakfast. Had a nice dinner at TGI Fridays. Went back and TRIED to sleep. I was SOOO excited!

    Saturday, June 16: Woke up (after tossing and turning) at 4:45 am. Got dressed, grabbed coffee and went to park the car. Flight left at 7:45 am. Nice, uneventful flight. Because of time change, we arrived at McCarran at 8:45 am!! Bonus!! I was surprised to see the Strip from the tarmac. I wasn't expecting that! I never realized it was so close.

    Took a cab to the Bellagio. Check in was quick and easy. Thanks to these helpful boards, I tried the $20 trick! That, combined with our 20th anniversary/first trip got us a complimentary upgrade from a Resort Deluxe to a Jr. Suite with a fountain/Strip view!!! SCORE! :beer: I asked when we needed to check back for our room and she said it was ready!! So, we were in our room by 9:30 am! That was a nice surprise!

    The room was amazing, and the view was outstanding!! I felt like a kid on Chrstmas morning. We called our kids via FaceTime and gave them a tour of the room and the view. I took a ton of pics before we messed up the room. Unpacked a little and headed out to start our adventure.

    We took some pics of the Conservatory in the Bellagio. Just gorgeous! Then we headed to the Strip. Went to Caesar's Palace first and looked around. Ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. It was delicious.

    After lunch, we headed to the Venetian. What a gorgeous place! Took lots of pics and watched the gondolas. We really enjoyed touring the hotels. Left the venetian and walked back South. Took the monorail to MGM and walked back North.

    Went to the M & M store. That was a fun place. Got some neat things for the kids! Also went to the Coca Cola store. Did some more shopping and headed back to the Bellagio to clean up for dinner. I enjoyed a bubble bath in the huge tub!!

    Went to the Bellagio Buffet for dinner. We had about a 45 minute wait. I wasn't expecting that, but the buffet was really good. Maybe not quite worth what we paid, but I enjoyed it. Pasta was good. My husband enjoyed the cold shrimp. The dessert section was pretty amazing.

    After dinner we headed to Bally's for Jubilee! My husband wasn't really excited about it, but he was being agreeable. :kiss: The show was wonderful. He was VERY impressed. He enjoyed it as much or more than me (and not just because there were topless girls). The show itself was impressive. The stage props, the costumes, the dancing. It was all good.

    By then, it was late! We had been up for hours and walked for miles, so we headed back to our nice room! I'll take a break here, and continue with the next day in a little while.
     
  2. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

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    Sounds good so far:beer:
     
  3. Vegas Dave

    Vegas Dave Newbie

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    Great trip report, I totally got excited with you during the start! Could feel the emotion.

    Have to question Cheesecake Factory being your first meal in Vegas, lol.
     
  4. kel3420

    kel3420 VIP Whale

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    I can feel your excitement! I love reading newbie trip reports. Hubbie and I were in Vegas for our 20th anniversay last October. Except that was our 39th trip. LOL

    Can't wait for more!!

    Happy Anniverary!
     
  5. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    Well, we don't have one where we live. Closest one is about 100 miles away. Food is awesome! Cheesecake is awesome-r!!
     
  6. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    Thanks!! Don't know what took us so long to go. Definitely won't be 20 years until our next trip!!!!
     
  7. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    OK, on to day two!

    Sunday, June 17 - Father's Day!! Only slept til about 9:00 - much to my dismay! Got up and ordered room service coffee (no coffee pot in room). Enjoyed my coffee looking at the gorgeous view of Paris and the fountains. Fountains started early and went all day because of Father's day.

    Wanted to check out some more resorts. Went to the Cosmopolitan. It was gorgeous! Then went to check out Planet Hollywood. My husband fell in LOVE with this place!! He wants to stay there next time. I told him we were too old according to some! LOL But he doesn't care! Played a few slots and had some lunch at the Earl of Sandwich (another place we don't have at home). It was very good!!

    Continued on to the M shops and did some shopping. Then decided to take the Deuce to Mandalay Bay. Went inside and got turned around and ended up coming out WAY past the front entrance. So, we trekked off up the strip. By then, it was 3 pm and hot as hell! Finally got to the Luxor and decided to skip it. I really wanted to see NY NY. After what seemed like days, we reached NY NY. I loved the feel of this place! I am a huge NY fan and loved the inside of the hotel. Had me a hot pretzel. Yum!!! Cooled off a bit and then headed back down the strip.

    Ended up back at the Bellagio. We couldn't believe we had walked that far! Geez, we were tired! Showered up and got ready for dinner. We had tix for Mystere at TI so we took the Deuce to TI. Decided to give their buffet a try. It was pretty good. Much better price, in my opinion, than Bellagio and good selection. Unfortunately, I was too full for dessert :( But desserts looked so good!!

    Decided to check out the pirate show outside. Not sure about all the hype. We thought it was kind of corny. So, we headed back in for the show. Mystere was awesome. It was my second Cirque show and my husband's first. We had awesome seats!

    Great, but exhausting second day. I can see why people say 3 days is plenty. I realize we tried to cover a lot of ground, but it was our first time and we were just so excited! Oh, and as a side note, the beds at the Bellagio were SOOO comfy!
     
  8. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

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    What fun! Love reading your TR (esp since it's your first time!) -- I would love to see it as a newbie again....there's nothing like that first overwhelming trip. Eager for your third day report. :thumbsup:
     
  9. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    Thank you! Yes, nothing like the first trip, I'm sure. I am so anxious to go back!
     
  10. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    Day 3.

    Monday, June 18

    Slept in a little later today. Ordered my coffee again. Love the room service at Bellagio. They are very courteous and very punctual!! Enjoyed coffee by the window again. Started to plan our day. We decided to take it a little easier today. We were pretty worn out from all the walking.

    Took the Deuce down to the Mirage. Had not toured it yet. Very nice hotel. Had lunch at BLT burger. VERY good burgers and fries. The shakes looked pretty amazing too, but we were too full to order one. Walked around the Mirage a little. Then headed back down the Strip to Caesar's Palace again. Did a little shopping in the mall there. Such an awesome mall. I wanted to take some pics of the revolving escalators for the kids.

    Got some gelato at the Bellagio and sat outside to take some videos of the fountains. They are gorgeous day and night! Got a laugh from some drunk, filthy guy dressed as Minnie Mouse. He was sitting on the sidewalk taking a break with his "head" off. He was looking pretty rough! LOL

    Went back to our room to get ready for dinner. We had 6:30 reservations at the Top of the World Restaurant at the Stratosphere . Took the Deuce down to the Stratosphere. Arrived a little early to do some shopping. I was surprised at how low-rent the shopping area was!! I felt like I was at a flea market. We did get some very cheap stuff for the kids, so I guess that worked out OK.

    When it was time for our reservation, they did the quick security check and we got on the elevator. A sweet little old man rode us up on the elevator. We were immediately brought to our table. A booth on the second level. I was a bit disappointed to not be by the window, so I asked if this was possible. No problem! They sat us at a nice table for 2 right next to the window!! :thumbsup:

    They view was spectacular!!! I couldn't stop staring out the window!! Our waiter was terrific! Very attentive. He didn't rush us at all. We did want to take our time to enjoy the view. I ordered the Four Course Tasting Menu. I had a Caesar salad, crab cake, filet mignon, and dessert (two small samplings). I also got the wine pairing with it. I really enjoyed that. My husband got a ribeye and a salad. He was a little disappointed with his steak. He said it was VERY fatty - more than usual, but the taste was nice.

    Our total bill, with tax and tip, was $262. OK, I don't mind paying a lot for a really nice dinner and I realize that the view has a LOT to do with the price, but I do feel this was a bit over priced for the dinner we had. The part of town, along with the feel of the Stratosphere shopping area, etc., it just seemed a bit pricey. Maybe I'm wrong. I am SO glad we did it once, for the experience, but I probably wouldn't eat there again.

    We went back to the hotel to change clothes and head to Fremont Street. Took the Deuce back up the Strip to downtown. As soon as I saw Fremont Street, I was like a kid in a candy store!! Not sure what it was, but I absolutely, positively LOVED it!!! I really wanted to do the zip line, but the line was very long. We did some shopping. GREAT place to pick up some cheap souvenirs!

    Played some slots and enjoyed some free Coronas at the Golden Nugget!! Then, we wondered down to Binions. My husband started playing roulette. There was the sweetest older Asian lady running the game. She kept trying to get me to play but I had never done anything but slots. After a while, I gave in. IT WAS FUN!!! She was very patient and helpful. I played for a good while - had a few more free Coronas - and ended up ahead!! That's when I cashed out! :beer:

    We walked down to check on the zip lining, but it had just closed. Bummer!! Guess I'll have to go back to do that! Walked around some more, listened to a band for a while, and by then it was 2 am. Had to take a cab back to the Bellagio because the buses were not running.

    What a fun day!! We were tired. I was happy to jump into my comfy Bellagio bed!!
     
  11. sammowhammo

    sammowhammo VIP Whale

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    Sounds like you guys had a blast! Where are you planning on staying the next trip?
     
  12. MNVegasgal

    MNVegasgal Low-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing.. We are going with newbies in October and they are around you age. It is nice to see Vegas from your new perspective! (hubby and i have been about 15 times together)
     
  13. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    That's a tough one!! We had such a dang blast on Fremont Street, I'd consider the Golden Nugget! I also like the feel of Paris or Planet Hollywood. I guess where I could get the best deal. Bellagio was amazing, but I'm the kind that always wants to try something new!
     
  14. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    A couple of side notes I'd like to add. First, I don't guess I'm a huge buffet fan. Kinda of knew that going in, but I had heard so much about Vegas buffets. Probably wouldn't do one next time. We weren't on a huge food budget (just got back from a 7 day cruise with the kids and weren't trying to spend a ton of money). Wish we had tried a Bellagio restaurant.

    Another thing is the people. Now, we are from Texas. Most everyone is friendly. I have been all over the US and don't always run into the friendliest folks in the world. BUT, almost EVERY SINGLE PERSON we came in contact with (I'm referring to the locals) were SOOOO friendly and helpful. Even those who weren't even expecting tips. Everyone was friendly and helpful with directions, suggestions, etc. Kudos to the fine folks of Las Vegas!! :beer:
     
  15. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

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    I'm glad you had a great time on your first trip! Now you have the fun of planning your next trip :thumbsup:

    Cheers!
     
  16. Clarkson7

    Clarkson7 Tourist

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    Excellent trip report---your enthusiasm is obvious and gets me thinking about my next Vegas trip where 80% of the time is spent Downtown.:peace:
     
  17. VermonterJohn

    VermonterJohn Low-Roller

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    Wow, it sure sounds like you had a great time. Now you know what the excitement is all about!

    My wife and I have traveled to Las Vegas around 30 times. Since we live in New England, it's a full days travel out and back, so we usually stay 7-9 nights. We are not high rollers, and have never received any comps (nor do we seek any). Part of the fun, in my opinion, is finding the best deals and taking advantage of them. That generally means staying in the 4 star hotels as opposed to the 5 stars, but we don't mind. Over the years we've stayed at:

    Circus Circus (our earliest visits when we were REALLY on a budget)
    Bally's
    Caesar's Palace (business trip)
    Flamingo
    MGM Grand
    Mirage
    NYNY
    Paris
    Rio
    Tropicana
    Golden Nugget
    South Point
    Bill's Gambling Hall
    Wynn

    ...and maybe a few others I can't remember right now.

    By the way, don't expect to get a room upgrade every trip...with or without the $20 trick. In our 30 visits, we've only been upgraded once (Tropicana many years ago).

    Unlike you, my wife and I really enjoy the buffets. I think you should give them a fair try, and would recommend the Wynn, Cosmopolitan and M resort for starters. You and your husband could dine at all three of them for what you paid for your single dinner at Top of the World. (We also always hit the Cheesecake Factory since there are none anywhere near where we live). Other reasonably priced favorites are the Grand Luxe Cafe and Maggiano's Little Italy.

    Also, on your next trip you might consider renting a car (very cheap rates - always bid for one on Hotwire) and taking a trip to Hoover Dam, Redrocks Canyon and Mt. Charleston.

    Just a few thoughts.

    John
     
  18. carlyzmom

    carlyzmom Tourist

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    Thanks John for your input! No, I would never actually book a room any less than I really wanted. An upgrade would just be a bonus. Views are important to me, so I would always book a view. Anything else would just be an added bonus!

    Yeah, I am sure I'd try another buffet. My husband really likes them. Next time, I will start with dessert first! :thumbsup:

    Appreciate your thoughts :)
     
  19. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    Nice report

    Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.

    Now that your feet are wet you can plan better for the next trip and try to see the things you missed as you now know your way around and how long a Vegas block is.


    Fair warning, the beds downtown do not compare to the beds on the strip. At all. I would recommend getting one night downtown, as the rooms are not expensive, but still have all the nights rented at the Bellagio or Cosmo or Four Seasons or the Hotel.

    That way, when you see your room downtown you will immediately head back to the strip.

    The Vegas buffets use to be awesome back in the day when prime rib was $4.99. Now, the lush resort restaurants make more money than gambling, so they try to steer you to the expensive restaurants over the buffets.

    I love to eat at the restaurants with the night time city light views. Those are great.

    Vegas quit offering coffee at the resorts in the last few years. Cost cutting. They want you downstairs gambling for a cup of coffee or doing as you did and get the room service coffee.


    My brother paid the extra money to see the behind the scenes tour of Jubilee. He said that was great. My friends paid for the meet and greet of Donny and marie, they said that was great. As for Cirque show, I loved Mystere and Ka. I still have not seen Love, but I will once I bring my wife out again.

    Come back soon to Fabulous Las Vegas.
     
  20. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    great report! sounds like you had a blast! :thumbsup: i completely forgot to check out the bellagio conservatory on my trip there last week! :grrr: and yeah, the pirate show used to be fun back in the day. i avoid it now, silly sirens.

    i'm only a buffet person when in vegas. :evillaugh
     
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