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LONG TR: July 9-15-Vegas Virgins No More!-Bally's, Mystere, Grand Canyon & More

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by FortMacDude, Jul 31, 2006.

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  1. FortMacDude

    FortMacDude Newbie

    Jul 31, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    General : We (My wife LP and I)are a early 40’s Canadian couple, visiting Vegas for our first time, so most of time was for touring, shopping , shows and a little low-rollers gambling. I had spent at least 4 months before our trip researching on the net on this site and others.

    Sunday, July 9
    Flew Horizon Airlines/Air Alaska. Flights were smooth and on-time. Horizon offered complimentary glasses of wine or draft beer. I’ve had better, but you gotta love free ..right?. Arrived in Vegas about 5:20PM and found the Bally’s Airport Hotel Registration Desk. Unfortunately, I got an older rude lady as a clerk. I pleasantly asked for a non-smoking room in the North Tower, with a King Bed and a high floor. She promptly said that would require a $20/night upgrade fee for the north tower. I smiled and asked nicely if she was sure she just couldn’t put us in the North Tower for free…discretely showing my $20 tip…no dice! As non-smoking was vital to LP, I bit my lip and agreed to pay the fee. To top it off, the clerk said that we would have to check in to Bally’s registration desk anyway for the keys as the room was not ready yet!

    Anyway, not the best of starts, but we easily found our shuttle (From Showtime Tours) George, our driver was friendly and helpful but an aggressive driver! He got us there in 1 piece though and also got a well deserved $5 tip. Soon after we got dropped off at Bally’s we had the scariest moment that I never want to live through again. About 5 minutes standing in line in Bally’s lobby, LP finally noticed that our largest suitcase was lighter then it should have been, it was the same model as ours but not the same ribbons we usually attach to it. George, had given us the wrong suitcase! We desperately called Showtime tours and to their credit (and George’s), within 10 minutes he came back to Bally’s met us, and we got our correct suitcase and gave him the one that should have gone to the nice Caribbean couple we shared shuttle with. He was so relieved..even more then we were ! Kudos to Showtime and George for saving our vacation!

    Checked in with Bally’s desk. Should have done this in the first place rather then trying the airport check-in! The clerk was helpful and friendly. She indicated that our room still wasn’t ready but another larger room was available in the north tower but just had a queen bed but had extra furniture, vanity area and most important – a Fridge! We grabbed that room and easily found the elevators. Elevators in Bally’s are fast, little wait time !. Room 1633A was HUGE, CLEAN and very comfortable. The fridge and extra furniture(couch, sitting area) were appreciated! We hurriedly unpacked, and took off for the strip to Aladdin Dessert Passage to pick up our 2for1 I VIP Fab Four Tickets for $69 (2for1 Ticket Available here : http://www.vegas4locals.com/couponfabfour.html ). We also went to ABC Store in the Dessert Passage to pick up water bottles, pop and snacks. Didn’t really find prices there a deal, but still better then hotel gift shops.
    We tried to get into PF Chang’s at Alladin for dinner but 1.5 hrs wait was too long for 2 starving Canucks! We thought about Dragon Noodle at the Monte Carlo but too far away for our tired bodies. We decided to go back to Bally’s and went to Chang’s – A Chinese restaurant there. The place was almost empty. We ordered cocktails and read over the menu. Not the hugest selection so we decided just to order the “Gourmet Dinner for 2â€. $95 gets you a Shrimp&Crab appetizer, wonton soup, chicken and black bean sauce, fried rice with shrimp and veggies, a pork dish, another chicken dish and custard for desert. Was this the best Chinese food you can find on the strip? Was it worth $130 incl tip and cocktails? Most people would say no to both questions but we thought everything tasted excellent and we were tired and starving..so it suited us just fine! Service was lightning quick, friendly and efficient and water glasses never allowed to less then half full.

    I’d recommend Chang’s at Bally’s for its excellent Americanized Chinese food and service but beware that it wouldn’t rank as the best ever nor the cheapest you can find.

    After dinner we had a short nap and then headed out to Bellagio. Toured the beautiful lobby and the glass flowers on the ceiling, then around the conservatory to see the flowers and the model trains running around. We went to Fontana’s Bar in Bellagio but it was near midnight, no band was playing and the place practically empty. We just stayed on the patio for the last fountain show and though we were told when entering that we need to buy at least 2 drinks for the patio, no waitress came buy to order them…there loss. We then walked to Ceaser’s & were impressed with the architecture, statutes and general beauty. We found Cleopatra’s Barge lounge and a good live band was playing. We sat down and ordered two cocktails and my Long Isle Ice Tea was $12! and was in a short glass and tasted like sewer water. (Sheesh..I thought..I’m never going to get wasted drinking at these prices!). As soon as we ordered the drinks, the bank took a break and stayed on their break while we nursed our high priced alcohol. We got wise to this, and left without ordering any others.

    Trekked back to Bally’s to sign up for Harrah’s Connection Card (Free T-Shirt & Keychain thrown in for good measure) and tried to find any $5 BJ or 3 card poker tables with no luck. After seeing Bellagio’s and Ceaser’s casinos, Bally’s casino looks like a closet in comparison! By this time it was 2:30AM and though that’s early in Vegas, these 2 Canucks hit the bed after a very long travel day!

    Monday (Centre Strip Touring Day)

    Bounded out of bed by 8:00, I don’t know what it is about holidays, but the adrelinen and energy levels I had all week astounded me!. I went downstairs to a $5 minimum 3 card poker table Friendly dealer and players and settled in for a good time and my first free gambling drink (just coffee for now..double double for you Tim Horton fans). Bought in for $100 and had hot hands and was up $100 until LP finally joined me. The cards got cold quick (That’s ok sweetie..I still love ya!) but I still walked away up $130.

    For breakfast, we sauntered over to Paris to Le Creperie. I had the St. Louis Crepe and the Ham&Basil one with 2 juices came out to $21. Crepes were tasty but a tad too rich for us first thing in the morning. From Paris we walked to Caesar’s Forum Shops to appease LP’s shopping addiction..The most interesting shop there was called “Antiquitiesâ€. It had memorabilia (most of it signed by musicians and actors) from the music and film world. One cool item was an original “Gone With The Wind†Book signed by the cast and all done up in a very large frame.

    :cry: The holiday then took a sudden turn for the worse, I had went to the washroom in the mall and somehow my digital camera looped around my belt slipped off without my noticing. It was only 30 minutes later that I felt the camera was gone and frantically backtracked my steps and searched that washroom.We checked with Security and checked back off and on during the week to see if it had been turned in but to no avail. A $300 camera gone like a puff of smoke didn’t make me a happy camper but we both agreed we wouldn’t let it spoil our entire trip.

    We decided to go to Mirage and see the Dolphin Habitat and Secret Gardens. The dolphins were very cool, playful and did a number of jumps and flips for the crowd which I understand isn’t that common. The tigers and cheetahs were sleepy but impressive anyway. We checked out the huge aquarium behind Mirage’s lobby and sat down for ½ hour for $5 BJ. Fast cocktail service served up an excellent Tall Long Isle Iced Tea that was far better tasting then the swill I had the night before for $12.. Lost a whole $5 in that time but had fine.

    From the Mirage we crossed the street to Harrah’s and popped into Casino Royale for a $1 Ice Cold Michelob….ahhhh…gotta love a city that allows open liquor when you’re walking in the heat! We went over to the Venetian, watched a few gondoliers singing and checked out the overpriced Venetian shops. Coming back through Harrah’s strolled through Carnival Court but no live band was playing.

    Entered the Flamingo to check out the Wildlife Habitat in the back. The flamingos and ducks were cool but the huge fish in the ponds were the most fascinating. Back to Bally’s to get ready for our big show and supper night.

    The show was the “FAB FOURâ€, playing most nights a week at the Aladdin’s V Theatre at the Dessert Passage Mall. :nworthy: RUN..Do not walk to see this show !!! If you have any love for the Beatles or their music…RUN NOW ! I’m a huge Beatles nut and they are better then what everyone on this forum and other websites rave about! The music, the gestures, the voices..all VERY similar to the real thing..and quite a bit of humour (Ed Sullivan impressionist is a blast!) thrown into the mix as well. The first set “The Mop Tops Period†was mind blowing..and the second set “The Psychedelic†and later years was even better! Too many highlights to mention but “Here Comes the Sun†and “Imagine†were my favorites. They received 2 or 3 standing ovations, all well deserved. Though we only paid ½ price, they were worth full price and more!

    We cabbed it ($8) from Aladdin to Lawry’s Prime Rib..we could have walked ..but still over 100 outside and about 6-7 blocks away..I had been looking forward to Lawry’s since I first read about it..but it disappointed me a little. The service and atmosphere was top notch, and all the other food (asparagus, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding,etc) was excellent but the prime rib itself was not prepared as ordered for either of us (almost rare when we both ordered medium) and both had too much fat on the edges. We’re from Alberta, Beef Country..so this didn’t’ even compare to what we can get at home..oh well..still glad we came and the price was reasonable ($100 for both of us and we were full to the brim!). Straight to bed after this long touring and gorging ourselves kinda day!.

    Tuesday (South Strip Touring & Big Gambling Win Day..at least BIG to me!)
    LP slept in and I slipped out at 6:30! AM to try $5BJ, but quickly lost $50. Disgruntled, I found a multi-game, multi-denominational JOB video poker machine that wasn’t 9/6 full pay but close enough for me that morning (8/5). Hit some straights and some flushes and smaller wins and was up $100. Now..that was a better way to start the day. !

    I tried a slot machine and lost $10 in about a minute, I really hate the slots..I know you can win big on them..but I just start to zone out too fast on them and theren’t fun for me.
    Woke up LP to go to the Barbary Coast Victorian Room for breakfast. They were pretty busy and we had to wait for ½ hour for a table but once seated service was good and the coffee hit the spot. Ordered the Ham-n-2 Eggs. Ham was huge and tastey. After breakie, we took a cab from Bally’s cab stand to the nearest Best Buy to get a new camera for the 1 I lost yesterday. Found a camera, bag, accessories and an xbox game ($400).

    From Best Buy we cabbed it to the Shark Reef Exhibit at Mandalay Bay. It’s worth the price of admission but there was a large group of kids there that made it noisy and hectic. Walked through Mandalay Bay (didn’t even see the casino) and took the tram to the Luxor. At Luxor we had lunch at the food court and I figured I would try a Nathan’s famous hot dog to see what all the fuss is about ..I’m still trying to figure that out as I found it tasteless and mundane at best. We rode the “Search For the Obelisk†motion simulator ride and that was by far the ROUGHEST ride I’ve been on for a looong time. Didn’t really enjoy it , nor did I find the roughness equaled excitement.

    Took the Tram then over to Excalibur and luckily LP talked me into sitting at a empty 3-card poker table. A few hands went buy without much going on, then it happened. I turned over three 8’s..and the dealer’s jaw hit the ground. I didn’t’ think they were that rare but the dealer and pit boss made a big deal of it. I won over $200 with that single $5 bet and LP and I skipped away giggling like school kids.

    Went over to NY NY had a look around then across the Blvd. To Showcase Mall where I walked around the Coke store and LP browsed through the M&M store. Belly’d up to the Coke bar on the 2nd floor and had a great conversation with the bartender..Checked out “Gameworks†the arcade there and wasn’t’ impressed with it, again, we have bigger arcades at home. Picked up 2-4-1 tickets for the Star Trek Experience at Tickets2Nite at the Coke Bottle stand. Be advised that they accept all competitor coupons, so using the Tix4Tonight $2 off service charge coupon, we saved a couple bucks. The 2 tickets came out to forty something..

    Went inside MGM just to have a quick dinner at the Rainforest Café. I should have only ordered an appetizer but ordered the chicken fried chicken instead. Too much food by a bushel full but the service was good. We took the Deuce back to Bally’s to drop off stuff and then took the Monorail to the Hilton and the Star Trek Experience. Liked both the Borg 4D ride and the Klingon Encounter but would only recommend them to Star Trek fans. Found a couple hilarious T-Shirts “ Real Men Don’t’ Set For Stunâ€..and “If you’re wearing a red shirt..run!â€.

    Back to Bally’s and Bed.


    Today started off on a slower pace, Thank God, ..Did a little R&R at Bally’s pool. The pool is not fancy or exciting, but lots of chairs, and it has a rare deep end for Vegas..in the heat..you appreciate that!. LP went for a little spa treatment and she was nice enough to get me a bagel. After a while, we headed to TI(after a long wait in the heat for the Deuce Bus..sometimes we got lucky and had no wait..othertimes..well..) to pick up our Cirque De Soleil-Mystere Tickets and by then it was lunch time so we hit “Dishes†the buffet there. Even though the buffet wasn’t the largest, the selections were of good quality and we didn’t regret eating there a few hours later..if you know what I mean! The drink and clean up services were impressive as well.

    LP took off for a day of shopping the outlet malls while I just wanted to stroll around. I sauntered to Mirage for more 3 card poler but lost $100 faster then I care to remember. Strolled to Casino Royale and drowned my sorrows with free beers while I rode a penny slot for a couple hours with a $2 investment….maybe I’m clueing in here on why slots are so popular! My mood also brightened when it dawned on me that here I was, sinning in Sin City..with a free beer in my hand..and even if I was losing some dough..this was still better then my best day at work !!

    I then hit the Imperial Palace and won $50 on Let it Ride. Didn’t like the overall vibe of the place though but I liked the low limit tables. Next was O’Sheas casino and back to the room for a couple hour nap.

    Then walked back to TI to meet LP for Mystere and we had impressive seats at Section 203 GG, Seats 17,18. We had booked these a couple months ago. These are on the 2nd level but straight ahead of the stage. I gave the show 4.5/5…Highlight was the overall choreography and athleticism displayed. The comedy intermissions (The Baby) were entertaining but grew tiresome and silly after awhile. The show overall was worth the $95 tickets.

    After the show we walked to the Grand Lux Café at the Venetian for a late dinner. I had a big boring cheese burger and LP had a good California pizza. Portions here are huge, appetizers are more then enough if you’re hungry, entrees are only for the purely starving! We hit the bed early as the next day was our big Grand Canyon tour!


    We had booked an Air/Bus combo tour through BestLasVegasTours.com but the actual tour is run by Grand Canyon Airlines. The tour was great though! The shuttle picked us up on time (5:45AM!) from the hotel and took us to Boulder’s airport about a 45 minute ride. The flight to the Grand Canyon was smooth and there was only 4 couples on board but I was disappointed we didn’t fly over the whole canyon. Also, with the brush fires in California, there was smoke and haze in the air and the view wasn’t the clearest. The Bus Tour was cool though and we had a good guide. We stopped at Mather Point for an hour then at Angel Lodge Point for another hour. We then headed to the Best Western in town for a buffet that wasn’t as bad as I feared it was going to be. Only the hockey puck hard buns were inedible.

    We then were dropped off at the IMAX movie and though it was done well, it was hard to stay awake!. Flight back was more scenic but rougher but landed safely.

    That evening we decided we wanted to splurge for King Crab legs for dinner. Found “Alan Alberts†in the phone book and we walked to it. It’s located on the strip, north of MGM, across the Monte Carlo. It’s a very old style steakhouse, dim, candlelight, and servers were all older men in tuxedos. The service and atmosphere were exemplary and LP tried the 1.5 lb crab legs, and I had the 1 lb legs with a small filet mignon. These legs were HUGE..and were pre-cut so that the meat was on display and no cracking and fishing out the meat was necessary. The crab was delicious (only ones better we’ve had were on the coast of Washington) and the filet was excellent as well. The meal with 2 sides and 2 cocktails and 1 desert was $145. Left $30 tip and I highly recommend the place ! It’s not cheap..but you pay for quality!


    Today was a free day to do what we wanted. LP hit the outlet malls while I did some picture taking on the Centre Strip. I then took the Deuce Bus to Excalibur and lost $45 on Let it Ride. The “losing†would continue all day unfortunately. Walked over to the Tropicana and there were openings on the $5 BJ table, so I sat down on a $10 table..big mistake. Lost $50 there in record time. Went to MGM to take pictures of the lions at the Wildlife Exhibit and found a good nickel video BJ game. Won $30 on that and cocktails came fast and were good and strong. It was early afternoon by then so checked out Fat Burger not far from MGM. Tried their Grilled Chicken burger and though it’s better then MCD’s or Wendys, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Walked up the street in the extreme heat to Paris and lost about $10 in a bad rules video BJ game (doubling only on 10,11, no DAS). Went back to Bally’s and lost $100 at 3 card poker. All the cards today for me were as cold as ice!

    Folded my tail between my legs and retreated back to the room to crash for a couple hours. Waited for LP as we were planning to go downtown for the night, but she was 2 hours late coming back from shopping. Instead we went to Dessert Passage Mall to get another suitcase to stuff all the shopping goods LP managed to accumulate. We had a quick meal (Pizza Slices) there and headed to Bellagio to watch and record a few fountain shows. The crowds Friday night were something else! LP was beat and went to bed and I felt my luck was bound to change (but later I found I was wrong on that point). I took a nice walk to Ellis Island Casino (about 2 blocks behind Bally’s..if that..I was alone and felt safe – 11:00PM).. I sat down at a single deck blackjack that didn’t have rules posted but quickly found out that Blackjack only paid even money! Found a full pay 9/6 video poker machine but didn’t hit anything and was down to my last $5 in my pocket.

    I desperately wanted to try the famous $4.95 steak special so I played video BJ and doubled by bankroll to $10. About 2:00AM, went to the restaurant and it took forever for a waiter to take my order. I went for the ceaser salad starter, mashed potatoes and steak (medium) Salad was big for an appetizer and the steak arrived and it was very thick! A little to rare however but still tasty. With a pop, the meal was $6.95, the BEST deal in Vegas, BAR NONE!.

    Saturday was travel day back home, uneventful but we were glad to go.


    The trip was exciting and the time together alone with LP was great for our marriage. I would give the overall experience a 4/5. The shows, meals and sites were well worth it, but got bored surrounded by gambling and shopping all the time. I didn't find the "strip" as long as I imagined it but the casinos were bigger then my fantasies! Next trip will be probably in 5-10 years and will be only 3-4 nights.

    The heat (over 100 every day) was bearable but drains you after a week’s exposure.

    Gambling Score:
    Monday ---------+ $130
    Wednesday--------- - $75
    Friday---------------- -$275

    Total Minus $20 (Approx).
  2. evesixer

    evesixer Guest

    Sounds like an extremely well planned out trip to Vegas! Glad the 2 of you had fun.
  3. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

    Apr 20, 2004
    thanks for the trip report, sorry about the camera loss.

    guessing that you are from fort macleod, and if that is correct, need to know if you flew from calgary, or from lethbridge? and what kind of fares, converted to u.s., did you have to pay?

    we fly from great falls, montana, but are absolutely getting killed on fares from delta, which is our only choice that fits our usual travel schedule to las vegas, on business, three times a year. we could drive to lethbridge in about 3 hours, if it would save us some serious money!
  4. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

    Mar 14, 2006
    There can only be one [site].

    But nice report...like reading all the little details.
  5. FortMacDude

    FortMacDude Newbie

    Jul 31, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Hi Kitson..

    Actually we're from Ft. McMurray..not Mcleod..but we had a package deal from Alaska Airlines...flights, hotel and shuttle was $1560 U.S. back when the dollar was 90 cents..LOL
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