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Just Starting the plan process for next summer...

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by chager, Sep 24, 2014.

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  1. chager

    chager Newbie

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    HI, I am new here and feeling a bit overwhelmed. My son turns 21 next summer and it was always a joke that we would take him to Vegas for his 21st birthday. Well it appears that joke is becoming reality. I am overwhelmed by all the choices. Trying to figure best place to stay that won't break the bank, room type, etc. I have planned WDW trips and never felt this stressed! (I always start planning about a year ahead of time because at WDW you have to make certain dinner ressies really early!)
    I have only been to Vegas once with the husband on a work trip for him about 10 years ago. At that time we spent 2 nights in a place on the strip that turned out to be not so nice and then switched to the Rio and loved it. We have a few other people joining us on this trip though. So once I figure out a place to stay I need to figure out how to get all our rooms semi close. Then I need to determine activities and food. Sooo much to figure out.
    Is it best to do all this on my own or have a travel agent help? Do I look at package deals or individual places? Where to start.....:confused2:
     
  2. zNaturaL

    zNaturaL Low-Roller

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    I don't think you need a travel agent but that is up to you.

    As far as hotels, I'm partial to the south end of the strip, particularly MGM Grand which might be a good choice for you. Not too expensive and I think it is a good spot for a first trip (I stayed there my first trip and thought it was awesome). Some cheaper options down on that end are Luxor, Excalibur, NYNY. NYNY is pretty decent and just across from MGM, both of which aren't too far of a walk to mid strip, maybe a 15 minute walk once you are outside of MGM..

    There are some cheaper options mid strip but they won't be as nice as an MGM, etc..
     
  3. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    for this part here: "So once I figure out a place to stay I need to figure out how to get all our rooms semi close."

    if you are all staying at the same hotel then when you make reservations, and then again when you check in, let the person at the front desk know you are a group and want your rooms close together - they will try to keep you all together if thats what you want... might be side by side or across the hall, but if they can't do that then they would try at least to keep everybody on the same floor.

    for where to stay:
    the cheap places that are mid strip, like flamingo and bally's, are mostly crappy old places. they have great locations and some decent rooms (that will cost extra to get) but overall the places are worn down and showing their age poorly... so the big question will be if you want to spring for the better rooms (ie: at flamingo it would be for the "GO Rooms")

    at the south end of the strip you will find the mgm properties which will overall have better rooms for the price than somewhere like flamingo or bally's, but the catch will be if you want to go to the main cluster of properties on the strip (the middle part of the strip) then you will need to drive, take a bus, take a taxi or use the monorail - you can walk, but from a place like luxor or excalibur it can take 20-30 minutes to get there by foot.

    the places i would check would probably be: Monte Carlo, nyny, mgm grand and then excalibur for room rates, in that order. monte carlo has a nice property and nice rooms, but it can be a little pricey depending on the time of year. nyny and mgm are both nice properties and are usually a little cheaper, and then excalibur is always cheap - the property is fine, its the place that looks like a castle, and the renovated rooms are nice with comfy beds... its just not as glamorous and high end as some of the other places in the immediate area
     
  4. Ty

    Ty ?

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    When you go to WDW, where do you stay and where do you eat?

    edit to add: Welcome to VMB!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  5. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    This will be an interesting thread.

    Think I'll follow.

    I have taken two of my kids (along with an entourage of friends & relatives) for 21st birthday celebrations.

    Let me start by saying that there are MANY good ways to do it. So, I certainly respect everybody's experiences and opinions. I am not being critical if I say that we did it differently.

    I have been the ringleader for half a dozen WDW trips. They were all wonderful, but required much more planning & wore me out.

    So, having stated the above, my family was very satisfied with the Mirage. The location was excellent. The pool was great for young adults. The rooms were nice without being overly expensive. The whole "vibration" was just right for the 20s to 50s American crowd.

    I will try to respond to questions.

    Best wishes!
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    First things first: Calm down, take a breath, this is a very simple process. Seriously. You need a flight. You need a handful of rooms. Obviously there is the big decision of which hotel that all newbies face, but the actual process of booking this will require just a few clicks on websites. Sometimes packages save money, packages always lock you in (I like flexibility), and gamblers here will tell you booking outside the hotel system will negate any chance to have your room discounted should you gamble enough to accrue comps. I'd give serious thought to not thinking about this whole comp thing. You don't need a travel agent.

    Location: Anywhere on the Strip from Encore and Wynn on down to Mandalay will be fine. My wife and I never bought into that whole "best" part of the Strip thing, keying on property instead, because we always amble up and down the Strip, and you guys most certainly will do that. You'll leave your room in the morn, do all sorts of stuff, make it back at night. Hotel more than where it is -- within the confines above -- is your key.

    Activities and Food: Vegas is a very freeform place. Sure, if there is a must-eat restaurant and a must-see show, reservations lock that in, but you will find having less on your schedule to be highly advantageous. Life won't end if you have 10 musts on your list and you only make it to five because in trying to frantically race past and tag all 10 boxes, some really cool stuff will go by unnoticed. Give yourselves the advantage of free range, and don't try to orchestrate each person's day down to the nanosecond; you will at times want to split off.

    Rooms: Clustering is nice, and as noted ask when you check in and they will accommodate your needs as best they can. However, the bottom line is you're all in the same hotel and that's all that really matters.

    Hotel: Everyone here has a fave or faves, and will say they are the ONLY way for you to go. That's bull. My way is the only way. Just kidding. Some people would be happy at Circus Circus, Bellagio might not be swank enough for others. Figure out your nightly room budget, plug your dates into a search engine like expedia or hotels or booking or whatever.com, and see who has what. (And remember, some of these places will have resort fees that mostly don't show up at first glance. Just keep that in mind.) Let's say that gives you NY-NY, Monte Carlo, TI, MGM and Flamingo (just tossing out names) within your budget. Then start figuring out what sounds cool or uncool about each, come back and ask for comparos here, check other website and do so with a big grain of salt. I say that because some people really identity, and I mean personally, with "their" casino-hotel. That's not a bad thing, it's actually a good thing, I just can really taint one's neutrality.

    Booking: Flights are self-explanatory. Once you figure out which hotel you likely will book through that hotel since most match whatever legit rate might exist through a third-party site. But those booking sites, as noted above, are a great research tool. And booking through the hotel typically involves less restrictive change/cancellation policies and if one of you does end up spending the whole trip in the high-roller part of the casino, you'll get stuff comped. (Don't TRY to do this, btw. Never gamble to get a cheap buffet or a room comped. Take the comps that accrue as part of your normal gambling cycle, and if that's no comps, that's fine, too. The most important rule to remember about Vegas is that all that "free" stuff you hear about has a cost.)

    You have a lot of time to pull this together, so as I suggested, just chill, have fun learning and planning, and when you get closer squeeze the trigger.

    Happy 21st to the young man!!
     
  7. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    First off, kudos to you for being the cool parent bringing your kid to Vegas for their 21st! My mom and I did the same thing in July 2013 after years of saying how cool it would be. Like Ken said, take a deep breath! I too felt very overwhelmed planning our trip simply due to the huge amount of options and information available online. Also similar to you, I have planned two WDW vacations and understand the need (want?) to get it figured out well ahead of time. We stayed at MGM, and since you will be there in about a year it will be pool season and MGM has a fabulous pool complex.

    I usually go on smartervegas.com first to check out some promo codes for MGM and see if it fits in the budget. Most of the rooms have been renovated, it has a massive casino, numerous restaurants and as I mentioned, a terrific pool. If it is not in the budget (or not your taste etc) keep looking at promo codes until your budget and your needs line up with a particular hotel.
    Book direct with the hotel you choose, and you can re-book as many times as you would like, so don't fret about finding something perfect right away.

    Lastly, enjoy the planning! While it seems like a lot right now, everyone on this board is more than willing to help out with any questions you have about activities, food etc once you have a better idea of what you want to do and dates etc. I planned our whole 1st Vegas trip with the help of this board and it was a trip of a lifetime. Use this board as your resource and you won't regret it : )
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  8. gradytripp

    gradytripp Low-Roller

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    This would be helpful to know, as it would give an idea of what kind of accomodations and vibe you associate with "vacation." Animal Kingdom Lodge or All-Star Sports?

    Ken has good suggestions, and he's right--each of us has the "right answer" for you. My first stay was at Bellagio (on Dad's dime) and I loved it. My second stay was at Bally's (on my dime) and I loved it. Since then I've been an advocate for center(ish) strip, especially for first-timers. (Say Mirage down to Monte Carlo.) It's hot in the summer...
     
  9. mike mc

    mike mc High-Roller

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    If you got time to plan and dates are flexable, thats best. Airfares tend to be less on Sat, Tues and Wed as well as Rooms are lest Sun-Thurs, Weekend and or big events/conventions can triple your hotel budgets.
    If you fly Southwest can sign up for CC and get free Rt airfare for I think $100 fee and charging a few grand in the next few months, or opt for another card for travel points.
    Have everyone sign up online for MGM or CET players cards and this will give immediate discounts on rooms (also can rebook if prices drop if you book direct no extra charges).
    For a general Age groups of 21-55 I would recommend mid strip with plenty of options for young and old from cheap eats to elegant dining, With plenty of hotels within reasonable distance Bally's is usually a good option its within most budgets and next to higher end places like CP, Bellagio, Cosmo

    I would first determine where I want to Stay and when, then work on what you want to Do, see, and where to eat. way too many options and tastes available in Vegas and I have gone 8 times and there is still many things I have yet to see. But follow the" Keep it Simple Rule" and you will be fine

    hope this helps
     
    Just Click The Book It Button It's Easy
  10. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

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    Since many here have been to Disney....are you looking to stay in a deluxe, moderate or value resort....hint hint....no matter where you stay Fri and Sat will be MUCH more expensive than the other days of the week. As a previous responder stated...go to smartervegas.com to check for discount rates. It is too early for the best sales for next summer but you can get an idea when looking at the rate calendar how much of a mood swing the rates can be if something is going on in town.

    So #1 decide on dates and what level of hotel you are looking to stay at. Once you decide that go to youtube and you will be shocked at all the room videos that are posted there. You get a much better idea of the rooms/suites that way as opposed to the hotels "perfect" pictures. Once you narrow down your hotel choices go on their websites and sign up for their email list. You will be able to catch sales that way. No need to fret about it now, you have plenty of time and unlike WDW you do not have to book your dining 6 months in advance. :thumbsup: Take a breath and enjoy!
     
  11. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    Once you decide on a few hotels you might want to stay at call those hotels on Cyber-Monday, the Monday after Black Friday during Thanksgiving weekend. Last year I got an incredibly low rate for a room. Most places will only ask for a deposit for the first night and you can get the deposit back if you cancel before 24 hours of check-in. Cyber-Mondays are very attractive. Also, I've found it best to deal directly with hotels vs. a third party like Orbitz or Expedia.
     
    Annual Summer Bliss in the Land of Milk and Honey!!!
  12. chager

    chager Newbie

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    Depending on the codes/specials we either stay at Port Orleans Riverside or Wilderness Lodge. As far as meals we usually do the dining plan. It allows for A LOT of food. lol We spread out where we eat, but always make an attempt to eat at Le Cellier if we can get in, Crystal Palace, Whispering Canyon, Sci Fi Dine in, and a few others including some character meals :)

    Planning WDW is easy lol

    I figure in Vegas we will find a nice nice place to eat for our son's birthday and then maybe buffets or not expensive places the rest of the time. We are planning on arriving July 28 and staying until leaving the 31st. Go home date is still being decided and agreed on.
     
  13. chager

    chager Newbie

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    Thank you all for all the input. I do think it feels overwhelming due to the number of choices. What is funny is that I have told several people "to breath" when they are planning WDW for the first time. lol We are definitely being the awesome parents! I am so glad I found this board. :)
     
  14. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Cool. That provides a nice comparison for Vegas. Your budget will be comfortable with most of the Strip properties and restaurants. I would suggest something north of Bellagio, that end of the strip seems to have more diversity. I've stayed at a few in that area and found Mirage to be very easy to venture from.

    If you are arriving on the 28th and leaving on the 31st that basically gives you two full days of exploring Vegas. That really compares to spending two or three days at WDW. You are going to have a lot of fun learning about Vegas on VMB! I'm guessing you are a member of Disboards. Check in here often and ask lots of questions, the folks on this board are usually very nice and welcoming.

    We suckered our son in to asking for Pepsi at Wilderness Lodge, he got the big straw.
    (Chager, you're making me want to go to WDW. When is the Food and Wine Fest?)
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  15. newmans

    newmans VIP Whale

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    Good to know there are other "OCD" people out there that plan that far in advance. I thought I was the only one.
     
  16. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    Since it's summer, I think I would start with the pool. Is it important and if it is, what kind of atmosphere do you need? You would be amazed at how figuring that out will narrow down your possibilities.
     
  17. chager

    chager Newbie

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    LOL...Ask for the biggest water next time! ROFL Food and Wine is mid Sept - mid Nov. Weekends are crazy busy then. My fav time to go was week right before Thanksgiving week. Yep, DisBoards member. Under same same name there. :) Haven't been active for a bit though since our son is older now.
     
  18. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    i agree with so much of what was already said. i felt like you feel now, but when i was planning my first WDW trip!:eek: planning WDW is waaaaay more difficult and requires more OCD traits. :D if you've planned WDW trips, then you definitely don't need a travel agent to plan a vegas trip.

    i don't think you mentioned it, but how long are you staying in vegas? you say the trip will be next summer, will it be june, july, or august? i agree with leo21 about the pool. right away, my hotel suggestion is mgm. mgm will be pricier than some of the mid strip hotels (like flamingo and harrahs), but their pool is awesome. granted, it's been about 4 years since i've been at their pool. we had a basic room at mgm, and we were perfectly satisfied. but we also are value resort people when we go to WDW, so it doesn't take much to make us happy. we prefer mid strip properties for the location. we kinda plan our days like "south strip today" and "north strip tomorrow" since we tend to walk everywhere. this cuts down on walking too much in one day. Are the other people joining you your son's friends or your friends?

    i don't have advice for airfare (are you traveling far, like from the east coast?). do you plan to rent a car while there? we've never rented a car there and have just relied on buses and monorails (i thought the bus system was very convenient). also, keep in mind that walking on the strip is usually a longer walk than it appears on a map. for example, we walked from mgm to paris at about 7:30am (read: no one out on the sidewalks yet), and it took us roughly 30 minutes (it took us about 8 minutes just to get from our room in mgm out to the strip; mgm is pretty big).

    so as others suggested, figure out the hotel first. most hotels have a 72 hour refund policy when booking directly with them (please check the terms and conditions before reserving!), so i often book multiple hotels at the same time and decide later. i also check back often for any new deals (smartervegas usually has some good promos). we're big fans of bally's, and i didn't think there was a huge difference between the basic rooms there and basic rooms at monte carlo. paris's basic rooms were good too and better kept than bally's. luxor was just ok but too far down the strip for us. it really boils down to what you want the most in your hotel. we want mid strip location and good, clean basic rooms (with a view is preferable). so bally's works for us. it is hard to decide on the hotel, but read reviews to try to get a feel for them. also, check out the oyster.com for reviews of hotels.

    we'll keep giving suggestions as we learn more about you. as it is on the dis board, i am sure you will run into all kinds of travelers here (frugal to fancy). find out which ones you identify most with and rely more on their opinions.
     
  19. Ty

    Ty ?

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    She mentioned "arriving July 28 and leaving the 31st".
     
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  20. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    drats, i couldn't find that info. thanks!
     
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