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Harrah's AC for AC Boardwalk Con: 05/13/16-05/15/16

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by lithium78, May 18, 2016.

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  1. lithium78

    lithium78 VIP Whale

    Sep 8, 2013
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Last year, we had a ball at Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, which is a new comic book convention held at the AC Convention Center just off the Boardwalk, so we decided to return this year. We bought discount advance tickets months before the event, because we figured it was a sure thing, so we got a 30% discount for a total of $91 for two three-day passes. Then, I booked a weekend at Harrah's AC, where I had never stayed before, because it was the least expensive of the three CET casinos for that weekend. We ended up booking two nights in a "premium" (highest tier standard room) in the Bayview Tower.

    Before we even got to the convention, there were already problems. Apparently, there were a few other conventions going on in Detroit, Ottawa, and elsewhere that weekend, so the con was having trouble booking celebrity guests. Instead of booking 35 guests, like they did last year, they ended up booking only 9 guests. Then several of those guests -- including Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black), and Rosario Dawson (Daredevil) -- all cancelled their appearances the night before the con started. They still had some great guests -- Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), Teddy Sears (The Flash), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Revolution, Once Upon A Time), and R.J. Mitte (Breaking Bad) -- but it was really disappointing that so many many guests cancelled.

    We came down early to be there right at the opening of the convention and were shocked to see that the con was much smaller than last year. It was maybe 1/4 the size. All the big comic book publishers who had been there last year -- like Marvel -- were nowhere to be found. Probably the biggest publisher with a presence at the con was Zenescope who publish sexist fairy tale comics. There were some independent publishers who were trying to promote their stuff, but after getting a sneak peak at Marvel's Secret Wars last year and getting to check out Stan Lee's personal comic book collection, it was really a letdown.

    The panels on Friday were also entirely focused on cosplay -- dressing up like your favorite comic book characters. I don't mind learning a little more about it because cosplay is fun, but every single panel was focused on it. Most conventions would mix it up with panels about current and classic comic books, science fiction shows, upcoming movies, comic book artists, etc. So we didn't really have a lot to do for that first day.

    We did go shopping a bit, although there were fewer vendors to buy stuff from. There were some really weird booths too, like T-Mobile, an Asian massage parlor, a vacation sweepstakes scam, and tattoo parlors. We did find some old comics and some geeky t-shirts that we liked, but the pickings were slim.

    Artist alley was a little more interesting. We found some good independent comics and had a nice time talking with the creators and artists who autographed their stuff for us. We also commissioned some art from one of the artists we liked, which they are going to be working on for a while before shipping it to us.

    Overall, though, the first day of the convention was a real disappointment. We had been talking up this con to our friends for months, so we felt a little foolish.

    We left earlier than anticipated and went back to Harrah's to check in. The Bayview Tower is advertised as their second best tower after the Waterfront Tower, but it really wasn't any different than a "luxury" (mid-tier room) at Bally's AC. The room was generally pretty clean but the furniture was really basic and worn. There was still an old packet of used coffee in the coffee pot when we got to the room and there was no "Do Not Disturb" sign for the door or bathmat in the bathroom. The "bay view" was a view of the swamp. We did get a deal on this room because of my Total Rewards status, but I would have felt ripped off if I had paid the regular rate of $300 a night on weekends. We also had some frustration with the elevators because two of the four elevators were out-of-order when we arrived. One plus side is that even though we were on the same side of the tower as the pool, we did not hear the party going on down there either night. The sound proofing is rather good.

    We went downstairs for dinner to try the buffet. CET recently cut my comps for no apparent reason, so my two free buffet pass turned into a buy one, get one free deal. I used reward credits to pay for the other buffet. If I had paid $37.99/person for the buffet, I would have felt really ripped off. It is not even close to being as good as the Caesars AC buffet. Whereas the Caesars buffet has lots of gourmet dishes, the Harrah's buffet has a bunch of comfort food. There wasn't a lot of variety and it tasted rather bland. They also didn't have a soft-serve ice cream machine for some reason. It was free, though, so I guess I can't complain too much.

    After dinner, I hit the slots. I decided to play quarter slots at $1.25 spin for a few hours and I actually lasted a really long time on my money, which surprised me. After getting about 1000 tier credits, I switched to playing dollar slots at $5 a spin, which didn't last me too long. I got no major hits and no jackpots, which is typical for CET. I have only had one decent win and two wins total with them in about three years. All told, I ended up with 3000 tier credits for the weekend.

    Saturday went much better at the convention. We met and got autographs from Edward James Olmos, Teddy Sears, and Giancarlo Esposito and went to panels on Star Trek, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Galactica, and Wonder Woman. The Wonder Woman panel featured a documentary about the character and how she has influenced women followed by a Q&A with the founder of the convention. It was really the best panel of the entire convention. While the convention was still really small, Saturday was a lot of fun.

    We went back out onto the convention floor to see if we could get a reservation from the Caesars booth, but the booth wasn't even set up or manned at 4 pm on the convention weekend. Did I mention that Caesars was a sponsor of the convention? The Rainforest Cafe didn't have their booth set up either, but our friend is a Landry's Select member, so we went there anyway for dinner. After dinner, we headed back to Harrah's, but since I had already lost $1200 the night before, I decided to just call it an early night and relax for the rest of the evening.

    On Sunday, we went to Teddy Sears' The Flash panel and it was really nice. Teddy Sears was great about answering everyone's questions, even the goofy questions from guys who seemed like they would have been at home on The Big Bang Theory. Since Ming Na Wen cancelled her appearance, we had no reason to stay longer than mid-afternoon, so we headed home.

    It ended up being an okay convention, but it was a real letdown after how awesome it was last year. If I had known it was going to be like there, I would not have booked a hotel room and I would have only gotten a Saturday pass instead. If we return next year, we will wait and see what they are planning and whether they are going to step up their game to get more comic book artists and creators and more celebrity guests for interesting panels. I don't think we'll get advance tickets again and we will have to seriously consider whether we want to make this an all-weekend event again.

    Fun Tip: If you drive an electric car or plug-in hybrid, the Wave garage a couple blocks from the convention center has free charging stations when you pay for parking.
    Harrah's Atlantic City for the Teachers Convention
  2. Harry Lyme

    Harry Lyme High-Roller

    Sep 4, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    That sucks the convention didn't go as planned. I was eye'ing it up this year, even considering going last minute, but it wasn't going to work out, and that was before I knew about the drop off from last year. Also sucks you didn't have a winning trip, but 3000 points is pretty good for the weekend, and that should help drive that tier boost promotion.

    I like Harrah's, particularly for breakfast (it's my favorite morning buffet over there, so far), but we've been really impressed by the vast improvement in quality at Caesars. Not to mention you don't have to wait an hour or more to eat.

    Nice TR, especially the part about catching Zoom's panel!
  3. spdandpwr

    spdandpwr VIP Whale

    Feb 25, 2016
    East Coast
    3,000 tier credits off of $1,200 in play is actually pretty good -- at least in my eyes. Anyway, sorry about your room. I stayed at the Marina Luxury room and loved it -- despite the Marina tower not being as nice (supposedly) as the newer ones. That said, I do like the energy of the Harrah's casino and it draws a great crowd. If it's worth anything, I lost a lot at Harrahs too a couple weeks ago but that was because I was being stupid at the Roulette table. And, I only accrued a 1,200 in player credits.
  4. Jerseyguy

    Jerseyguy VIP Whale

    Sep 6, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Stayed in Bayview friday eve also. Furniture is fine with me ,Mrs. not too thrilled. The one thing I like about the room is that it's big esp. the bathroom . Mrs. won a few bucks on VP ,me no.
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