This trip wasnâ€™t even planned in advance. We came home from our trip to St. Louis & Memphis & were supposed to have an overnight on the way home. Instead we drove 13 hours home and I was CRANKY the next day â€“ too tired to go into work (& I had already scheduled the day off) and not getting to have any fun on the way home. So I was irritated. I was playing around with airline fares & discovered I could use miles to go from our regional airport just 5 weeks out (although it cost an extra 12,500 miles â€“ bummer). So I called work to make sure no one was off that week & booked. I checked for offers available & Flamingo had a Price is Right slot tourney. Also â€“ the Great Gift Wrap Up would start on Thursday & I would be able to visit that also as you donâ€™t need to be booked under the promo to attend that. I had a feeling this trip was not going to start on a good noteâ€¦..I played Russian Roulette with â€˜Fly Nowâ€™ on Delta & lost. Took me all the way thru being able to leave earlier and then comes up that my credit card was invalid (uhâ€¦.nope). When I tried again of course the Fly Now was no longer available. B**stardsâ€¦â€¦. The reason for trying to get out earlier was a late discovery that the Smothers Brothers would be playing at the Orleans â€“ but only one show at 8pm. And my flight was scheduled to arrive at 6:57â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. Either way, left from the regional airport. My mom dropped me off as my vehicle might be needed at home. Flew to MSP where I had an exciting 2.5 hour layover. I was braving it this trip with just a carry-on & back-pack so no waiting for luggage. And I had cancelled the full-trip rental car since it was in $170 range so no wait for rental shuttle. Flight was smooth and actually arrived a few minutes early. Pushing my short legs as fast as they would go, I was at the taxi entry area at 7:00 p.m. I had a highly delectable meal on the airplane of Pringles potato chips & soda (which ended up costing $17 because she didnâ€™t clear the credit card machine vs. the $3 they are supposed to charge). I donâ€™t think I even got a receipt but I filed the dispute. (After starting to write this, Chase gave me credit back for the dispute â€“ it was probably in their â€˜too small to even bother with filingâ€™ range LOL so worked out ok. Either way flight was very smooth. Several people in taxi line but they were running quickly through. It was now 7:15 by the time I got loaded & he pulled out. I said no tunnel â€“ who knows maybe to Orleans would be more efficient by tunnel? However, he complied and I believe (considering we kept continually hitting stop lights) we were there around $18 before tip. I hauled my backpack & carry on to bell services and headed for the box office. 7:30 when I walked up â€“ score! As I only needed a single ticket there was one available in 3rd row (at highest price of course LOL) but I took it. Figured I was only going to see them one time & I wanted to enjoy it. So ok, I am 50/50 in my success for the day! Show was great; however, it could have been longer. I really enjoyed it. Have made a point over the last few years to see the people I have grown up listening to. Those memories are very special. I was born in â€™62 so I grew up in the height of the Smothers Brothers, Peter Paul & Mary, Glenn Yarbrough and George Carlin. (I know â€“ you probably havenâ€™t heard of a few of those). I was able to see George a couple of years ago at Orleans, PPM at Wisconsin Dells and Smothers Brothers now. I saw Glenn when I was young â€“ front row seats with my mom & dad & their friends & son. Either way â€“ those special memories that come back when you see some of these performers are very special. I often fell asleep at night listening to the records on the old stereo. And even my kids are familiar with them â€“ I tried to pass along the special things like Puff the Magic Dragon & my son was growing up when the SB had a show on again for a few years. Either way I left with a smile on my face. I have read you canâ€™t take luggage on the shuttle to the strip, so I just coughed it up and paid for the taxi (about $15 with tip) to Paris. Again hit mostly red lights â€“ figures. Probably should have attempted the shuttle with my bags. Hit Platinum check-in. Did not try $20 trick. As it was now pushing 10pm, the standard Diamond check-in was closed & they were running both thru the normal Platinum area. She asked when I got there if I was Diamond & I said no â€“ Platinum â€“ but would be Diamond tomorrow. She chuckled & said well I will find you a nice room with a view anyway. Room was 2094 which was not a Red room, normal style with 2 beds. However, view was AWESOME â€“ best fountain view I have ever had as it was on north side of the Eiffel Tower so that did not block the view. I will say I was very burnt out this trip and was up to bed fairly early each night for Vegas anyway. In retrospect a back view would have made sleeping easier as those fountains â€˜boomâ€™ and really echo against the windows!!! Normally I am up very late, but my body was just in shut down mode. I didnâ€™t do much variety for breakfast. Buffets are by far the best value for a breakfast meal for me. I did the Flamingo buffet one time, LeVillage Buffet two times, Mon Ami Gabi on the patio & Nosh @ Ballys once. I did the Flamingo buffet for breakfast Monday a.m. after I registered for the Price is Right slot tourney. Breakfast buffet at Flamingo was fine â€“ no problems whatsoever other than MASSIVE crowds of people waiting to get in. I think a lot of people doing late registration or playing Monday a.m. in the tourney were just eating there for convenience. I donâ€™t find the food quiet as interesting or fresh at Flamingo Buffet, but service was good this time (wasnâ€™t in July) and there was a sufficient variety of everything to make sure I was full when I left. I don't ever consider Flamingo buffet a quality match to Paris, but it was fine. Full coffee pot, full juice glass, table pre-bussed. It doesn't take much to make me happy. Comments on Mon Ami Gabi â€“ Breakfast was very nice out on the patio, however, it was a bit windy. But I donâ€™t know that I will do it again. I donâ€™t like their â€˜toastâ€™ at all, so it limits my selections & by the time I get done I have spent several dollars more than I would have at the buffets. But I am glad I did it for the experience. Next time at Mon Ami it will probably be supper again as dining on the patio with the fountains going is nicer. Comments on Le Village Buffet that I posted in the Restaurant section: 1. You may now purchase an 'Express' pass. It is $5 for breakfast and $7 for dinner. I didn't catch lunch but obviously one of the two. It allows you to go directly to the Diamond/Platinum entry. They still take D/P players thru first but then do some alternating with the Express customers. You can just pay at the register for the privilege. I would definitely do this if I needed to eat in a hurry & was not able to use the fast entry due to player status - could be a big benefit for someone diabetic like me. And again, as I mentioned in value with the amount of food you can eat at a buffet for breakfast it cuts back massively on what I spend for lunch. 2. For breakfast the omelet station has been moved to the far side of the bakery 'square'. This made an extreme difference in getting through the normal hot food line. You used to get backed up there waiting for people with omelets, even if you didn't want one. I had mentioned this on every suggestion card I had ever filled out in the past and I am so glad they finally did something with it. I had previously had people YELL at me because I wanted to get 2 strips of bacon from the hot food area. SUCH A NICE CHANGE (and Iâ€™m sure it was thanks to me, LOL!!!) 3. As a further omelet enhancement, if you are Diamond (?and possible Plat?) on the weekend (started on Fri) you can fill out a blue slip with your omelet selections and give it to your waitress. She will then take it into a separate omelet station set up in the back Diamond/Platinum room & a separate chef will prepare your omelet so you don't even have to stand in the omelet line. Nice touch but I didnâ€™t want an omlette. 4. Bottled water for VIP's (although I didn't get it on Friday). I actually liked this perk as I felt like I didnâ€™t want to waste what they had brought me & I drank most of it (wine bottle size). I have a tendency to not drink enough water & this really helped - wish I would have had the bottle on Saturday. Still a bit of inconsistency in size of juices brought out. I had a small one on Wednesday & a large one on Friday. Considering there are free refills I consider the large glasses a big waste of juice for a lot of people that gets dumped - especially for me. Food was being refilled consistently. A few times things were empty but the next time I would go back up they were filled up again - I think people were just moving thru there a lot faster with not having to get stuck in the long hot food line. All food was good & fresh - nothing to complain about. Large variety and I was so full I never ate again until supper both days @ Paris buffet (and the day @ Flamingo buffet). Only complaint would be that they needed 2 crepe stations running on Friday - there were 15 people in crepe line and only one set of two griddles running. The fellow for the other one was too busy restocking. Sorry that got a bit lengthyâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦ I also ate at Margaritaville (good as always), DQ @ downtown outlet center (so-so), JJâ€™s, Ceasarâ€™s Food Court (brisket topped baked potato), World Buffet @ Rio & crepeâ€™ stand @ Paris for non-breakfast meals. Iâ€™m trying to figure out if there is a place to complain about restaurant standards in Vegas? Anyone know of one? The most disgusting thing that I saw was at DQ & it wasnâ€™t even dirt. It was the fact that they had the basket of plastic forks for the customers sitting with the TINES UP. Ok â€“ swine flu & regular flu season is rampant â€“ so you put out the forks with the TINES being handled by EVERYONE? Despite my promise to myself that I would win the slot tourney, I placed 325th out of about 800+ people. So much for the free return trip to Vegas, and not even any free play. I also trashed my budget with my trip to MGM as I stuck myself on the Life of Luxury progressive that I love, and lost horribly. Also fed $100 through Magestic Lions without hardly any rotation. In July I played over an hour on a $100 & earned about 350 points but this one went through so fast. Somehow I did earn about 800 points in a very short period of time (stupid max bets on LOLuxury) so hopefully offers will keep coming from MGM properties as I may decide to stay there at some point. My offers are only normally for 3 early week nights & maybe $25 freeplay. But hopefully 800 points in an hour & a half will ring some bell. MGM was the only one I visited this time â€“ didnâ€™t even walk over to NYNY â€“ nor did I stop at Mirage which I promised I would do this trip. I did spend a lot of time watching the Lions as they were fascinating and it kept me away from the slot machines. The â€˜giftâ€™ for the Flamingo tourney was 2 Price is Right t-shirts which I will end up using to sleep in I am sure. In my suggestion form for the tourney I indicated a food comp would be nicer as it is hard for some of us to carry extra items home with the airlines forcing us to do carry-on to save money. I am sure bigger players than me have surplus comp dollars anyway, however, it would be nice to have some extra food dollars to eat at a nice place without worrying about burning comps - or maybe be able to use the comp dollars in a retail setting. I seriously enjoyed that in July when my birthday offer @ Flaming was $100 in food â€“ I had a wonderful meal at Steakhouse 46 with those â€˜extraâ€™ comp dollars. Slot tourney was M/T. Tuesday I strip walked north â€“I had played at Flamingo long enough Monday to break that last few tier credits to Diamond level & was able to pick up a voucher for a free show. Chose one for HN & one for Legends as they let me split my tickets (just had to do both right then). Walked to Imperial Palace â€“ picked up ticket for Human Nature for Tuesday night show. I also picked up my ticket for Legends for Thursday night but hate to say I didnâ€™t go to that show â€“ just not up to it. I visited Wynn (Iâ€™m sure that $25 I dropped will score me tons of offers), TI (fought a long line to get a new players card â€“ didnâ€™t play enough to see any offers). Headed further south to Ceasars â€“ this was my food court stuffed baked potato which was great. I intended to eat at the buffet @ Ceasarâ€™s but missed the 4 pm price change cut-off by about 15 minutes (wasnâ€™t paying attention) so back to food court. There was no way I could eat the amount of food that would justify the supper price- even if I could pay for most of it with points. Had 2 sets of coupon for two free frozen hot chocolates at the shop outside of Ceasarâ€™s. Was realy hoping someone in line behind me would be ordering one also as I sure couldnâ€™t eat two! Luckily a group of 3 guys behind me were getting them also so I told them to only order 2 & they could have my extra one. In retrospect since I never made it back there I should have asked if I could redeem both coupons at that time (although probably not) so they wouldnâ€™t have had to pay at all. However, the frozen hot chocolate was very good & I ate way too much of it â€“ dig out the extra insulinâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. The show for Human Nature was FANTASTIC, however, I will say to pay for the best seating you can get. Seats were very limited for the show as I bought the same afternoon & I was mid-to rear of a table on first level up from floor off to the side. If I were at the front of the table it would have been fine, however, I had too many people in front of me. I was behind one gentleman who made a point of sitting off to the side so I could see however, the fellow at front of the table was VERY big and blocked most of my view most of the night. I had to push off to the left to see the action. So make sure you get a good front of the table view. I would not hesitate to see the show again â€“ it was awesome â€“ but I would make sure I booked a few days ahead so hopefully could get a front of table seat. Wednesday a.m. I did a one day car rental from Paris. With a discount code this came out to $47 with tax. I figured for $23, $15, $47 & $20 for transport I still came in way under the $170 for rental. And as I had no exciting Hoover Dam, Red Rock, etc plans it worked fine for me. If I did this again, I would probably investigate returning the Hertz to the airport location and renting the day before I leave. That way I would eliminate the taxi return to the airport & really help with keeping costs down. My first stop was the carnage at MGM â€“ but the amusing part was when I went to pick up my rental car I heard someone shouting my name â€“ here the gal that we always had cut my kids hair (gave them both their first haircuts) & who used to date a friend of my DHâ€™s is now living in Vegas for a few years and is a big-shot at a gaming company â€“ was visiting with the MGM big shots. This is why you BEHAVE in Vegas!!! You never know who you will run into. During my rental outage I headed to the outlet mall. Picked up one Xmas gift that looked appealing and bought several items at Coach. I have a tendency to impulse buy at Coach. However, they would ship it to me for $10 and that way I was able to pay 5.5% sales tax instead of 8.1%. Tax savings paid for shipping. Will give 2 of the items as Xmas gifts for sure â€“ last purse I will probably either return to the one an hour or so away or just sell on eBay to recoup the amount I spent. Sometimes itâ€™s just easier to buy & return vs. sending photos to figure out who wants what. As I had the rental I headed to Fremont Street & wandered around for an hour or so. Caught last few minutes of one show, ate an order of fried Oreos. Then off to RIO with a free coupon to World Buffet. Food there was good but I was not hungry enough to really do it justice. I was seated in the circular room for Diamond members â€“ a bit dark when one of your hobbies is to sit & read during supper, LOL. The server brought all my beverages very quickly, but then I never really saw her again. Irritated me a bit as I did want a beverage refill on something â€“ Iâ€™m afraid I only left $2 as she really didnâ€™t even do much pre-bussing at my table. Being a waitress, I was stacking & consolidating my plates myself. Dumped some money very quickly through a progressive train machine & headed back for Paris. I had hoped that I could see the Show in the Sky but evidently it is now Thur-Sun and no longer plays on Wednesday either. Nearly got creamed by someone who ran a red light & was beeping at me because I was in their way â€“ yikes. Returning the car the next morning I encountered a line but just took my express card & keys up & laid them on the counter by her â€“ she smiled & thanked me and my bill arrived perfectly via e-mail. Thursday was just a putz around & relax day. I walked up to the Great Gift Wrap Up & redeemed my points. Managed a small handheld cooler, Flamingo blanket, 2 pairs of topaz earrings for Xmas gifts & a handheld stick blender (like they show on late night tv but a couple more bells & whistles) and a cordless screwdriver for me. They were all delivered within a week to home â€“ I am always impressed with their GGWU service and I really wish there was a way to earn more points â€“ but you only can in Vegas. I should have just got a bunch of the small Flamingo blankets as I love those for the car etc, but you had to take the cooler/gift type items with you & I only had the carry-on & back-pack. Played penny area at Harrahâ€™s for a long time (BUSY due to GGWUP event) and before I knew it the afternoon was gone. Played the slots & watched CSI & Mentalist on TV with a crepeâ€™ for supper. Tried to catch Big Elvis on the way back but only caught the last song or two of the other gentleman (also very good). So no luck on B.E. for me this trip. Nearly locked myself out of the room when I grabbed players card instead of room key! But caught it just before I closed the door â€“ whew! There are bargains if you hunt â€“ I did the text messaging program for Paris, Rio, Harrahs/Flamingo & Ballys. I sent for the Ceasarâ€™s one but never received anything (including sign-up confirmation) from them. I will post a current list in another thread but I know I received 2 of the B1 coffee ($4 min purch) & get a free bagel @ Nosh, 2 for 20% off LeVillage Buffet, 1 for $5 off Flavors/Flamingo, etc. Also during the trip I received several business cards with stickers on from the cage people (one place had them just sitting out) for 10% off several locations including LeVillage, LeProvencal, Steakhouse etc where 10% could make a significant difference in the price. The business cards you just present â€“ the text offers you present to the TR desk & they give you the coupons. They make you delete them when they give you the coupons. I started the texts on Friday so I didnâ€™t get any too late in the trip to use (I arrived on Sunday). You normally have 3 days after you receive them so I could redeem any of the first ones received right away on Monday. You will note this trip has no great significant wins â€“ no surprise. However I didnâ€™t overspend either. I played about 2/3 of the cash I had planned and Â½ of what I borrowed from my husband for the trip. (Yeah I know â€“ give him the rest of my cash to pay off my borrowed funds â€“ nope!) Monday night I was saved when I had about $30 left of that days budget & figured I would be headed into Tuesdays â€“ I played Reel Em In & instead of winning about $6 in the fishing race bonus for some reason it came up with a sign & I won $400. So back on track for that day. I would have been in very nice shape for the trip if I had avoided MGM totally. That sucked a full days budget out of my pocket in about an hour & 15 minutes! The rest of the days I managed to keep it in the $400 a day range. I probably would have been smarter to eliminate or cut back my play at HETâ€™s properties after I made it to Diamond and invest that money at MGM properties, but I actually enjoy and am comfortable at the Harrahâ€™s properties. I know my way around and with the exception of Ceasarâ€™s they are not so overwhelming in size. Other than the $400 fishing win, I was unable to hit any large significant wins on any games. However did manage to again get 50 free games on Sun & Moon. Always like to do that and just sit back and watch it spin. As with every trip I manage to not get things done that I plan to doâ€¦â€¦â€¦. Never hit Miracle Mile mall (normally like to hit GAP body store) and also wanted to visit the thunderstorm they have in the back that I have never hit. Never used 2nd set of free frozen hot chocolate coupons. Didnâ€™t feel like seeing Legends. Just wanted to go back and sit & watch CSI. Couldnâ€™t find that lucky machine at Ceasarâ€™s that seems to be popular-something with triple in it? I was viewing numbers on every set of machines & got close but then numbers took off in a different direction. Never made it to Ellis Island or Bahama Breeze. The limitations of having the car for only one day kept me closer to center strip. Did a total brain cramp & never went to Bellagio to have a Bellagio cocktail. Drink service was decent in all HET properties with the exception of Ceasarâ€™s near the Forum Shoppes. It was non-existent there. In the casino near front area she was through quite often. At MGM the service was non-existent in the dollar slot area with all of the Lionâ€™s machines, but she came thru a couple times when I was down closer to the live lions area. At Paris the server commented she was the only one on duty for the entire casino on T/W mornings. However, she was a good waitress & I saw her covering areas quite quickly. Flamingo was fairly steady overall. Harrahâ€™s during the GGWU was not good â€“ too many people â€“ all the machines full and not enough servers â€“ but they were trying. My budget for a return trip is non-existent at this moment. My waitress job has been quiet and no hours to be had there â€“ even the full-time girls are only getting about 3 days a week until the trails open back up again. And today we purchased a repossessed house/property at sheriff's sale so money will be dumped into that..... So Iâ€™ll be waiting for a tax refund I am sure and praying I can at least take a budget trip. Hopefully March will give me something to look forward to. Pictures in follow-up reply below.