Vegas November 15th thru November 23rd, 2010 Flights: We left Monday for the Milwaukee airport about 11:30 from home. Our friend drove us. Nice to be dropped off at the curb. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:13 PM. I can't remember if we pulled out of the gate on time but we had a smooth flight and landed 2 minutes early. I always try to get a window seat for hubby and an aisle seat for me. I hate that feeling of entrapment next to a stranger. Sometimes we luck out and the middle seat stays empty. Not this trip going or coming home. I took some crosswords and the DVD player along. I hate to sleep on the plane because I'm afraid I will snore. lol. So I keep occupied, stay alert and hope the time flies fast. Flight home at McCarren was delayed by at least an hour. I think maybe closer to 90 minutes. Our plane coming in to pick us up had real strong head winds and was slowed down getting there. After we finally boarded we took off on the runway without delay. We had the strong tailwind so our flight time was boosted and we landed only 15 minutes later than scheduled. Yay. I thought with all the media talk and chatter about the revamped security scrutiny we might run into a few glitches going through. But all the worry was for not. It wasn't too busy on a Tuesday coming home. We buzzed right through as hoped. Mirage: Monday Nov 15th This was our first stay at the Mirage. As we got there after 4PM we decided not to check our bags. Thinking at that hour our room would be ready and we could just keep the bags with us and not have to wait for Bell check to bring them up. We had been waiting to get here a whole year this time and wanted to get our Vegas on. We did get our room right away as I had assumed we would. After talking with the really cute young man checking us in... he found a tower room on the 29th floor. A great upgrade. It has a jetted tub and separate shower. We overlooked the volcano and had a nice strip view. We tipped him $20 for being so sweet and helpful... and with a smile on his face the whole time. The Mirage bed and pillows were super comfortable. The whole room lay out was done with thought and comfort. I was very pleased with the storage and counter space. Simply, well thought out. If you stay at the Mirage... check your bags before you go to the desk. The room elevators are nowhere near the desk. And our floor was not marked so we had lots of confusion as to where the elevator was for us. After schlepping all over the casino in circles we finally asked someone. She took us back to where we were before. ARGH. I usually like to get stuff a bit organized in the room then hit the casino, It took so long to get up to our room with those bags I decided not to deal with them. I followed hubby straight down to find a slot machine and a cocktail waitress. So down we go to look around and case all the new games. We played around a few hours then decided to walk across to the Venetian and get a sandwich. We played at the V about an hour and headed to the food court. Debated whether to go to Grand Luxe but we were not too hungry. Ordered a chicken parm at San Genneros and split. Came with fries too. It was just okay. Last year I had this same sandwich and it was delicious. This time it just was okay. Nothing I would recommend to anyone. Even the fresh cut fries tasted a little flat after they started to cool. We ate about 9:30 PM then headed back to Mirage to play some more. I don't think this was a real late night. With it being travel day and us both losing we called it at maybe midnight or 1AM. Up to the comfy bed and pillows. I slipped into the whirlpool and Hubby hit the bed right away. It's a one person tub BTW. LOl. Tuesday Nov 16th We got up early Tuesday and went for the Cravings breakfast buffet. We had a BOGO coupy so that was a nice deal. I stood in a not too long line for an omelet. Cheese, extra mushroom, green pepper and onion. This cook was not as fantastic as the guy there last year. But he got the omelets out pretty fast and efficient. After breakfast I went to find some machines to play. I soon sat down at an Amazing Race that had a "community" bonus feature. If one player gets the bonus you all do. I had a ton of fun playing for at least 2 hours. Started with a lady to my left. She then moved to the far left machine (3 on each side of the bank). Then another lady sat at the middle and we all 3 played for a few hours. Had lots of fun with lots of bonuses and cheered each other on the whole time. I think I cashed out a little ahead or close to my $20 buy-in finally. Played that machine a few more times over the 4 days there. The other times I kept getting the dig for the ticket in the sand bonus and broke a few nails. Don't care for that bonus much at all. We decided to take the tram to TI. We walked through but did not play there. It seemed like they have brightened it up and also brought in some newer games. We walked past the ship and up the strip to cross over to Wynn. We had a few hours playing there and good drink service too. After that we walked back to Mirage via Palazzo and Venetian. Got back to Mirage. I think we played slots here then got a sandwich from Carnegie Deli to take back to the room to eat and relax. This was about 11:00 PM by now. Portions are huge there. Order to split. I'm glad I took a friend's advice on that. lol. I think this was another losing day for Hubby and I. Wednesday Nov 17th Today we are up and on our way to visit the other MGM properties and see City Center. We make our way past Caesars and into the Bellagio to catch the monorail. We spent a bit of time at the machines after looking at the conservatory and the chocolate fountain. There was absolutely no drink service this visit. Very disapponting. We didn't get much play on what we tried so decided to move on. We found the monorail spot and waited a few minutes to get on. We got off on the Crystals Aria stop. This brought us into the mall and a bit of a walk to Aria. If you want to get off real close to the Aria casino ride to the Monte Carlo stop. It's a very pretty but streamlined property. I had some really good play on a Racing For The Gold Goldfish game at Aria. I cashed out over $100 or maybe about $130 on it. Also some really fun play on a Survivor machine. My 1st time ever playing that game and doing anything fun or cash outable. At Aria I ordered a strawberry margherita which was very good. I might have had 2 while we were there. lol. Drink service was good here. After our time walking around and playing at Aria we caught the monorail back to Bellagio. Walked from there back to Mirage and played there some more. After awhile we decided to walk over to Venetian Palazzo and eat at the Grand Luxe. We prefer the Palazzo location so went there. We each ordered a small dinner salad and a chicken sandwich and fries to share. I think it was chicken. I can't find the receipt to double check. Grand Luxe food and service almost never disappoints. There was one time at the V Luxe my sandwich was terrrible and it took forever to get our food. It has always been great at the P Luxe. After that we went back to Mirage. I think this is the night we caught the volcano show as we walked back to the Mirage. Pretty sure I like the show better before they revamped it. Then up to the room for a little rest. I watched a few more volcano eruptions from our room window and tried to get some decent pics of it. This is Survivor night but for some very strange reason I didn't feel I had to watch it. I knew we had it DVRed at home so decided to wait til we got home to see it. I did have to peek the next day online and saw that Brenda got the boot. lol. And of course after we ate and refreshed we headed back down to the casino to play some more. I took another whirlpool bath late this night after we were turned in for the day. Thursday Nov 18th Today we have tix for the 7 PM LOVE performance. I got the tickets on a winter special tipped off by by a friend. Called the tix office and got them for $80 each. With the tax and fees ended up totaling $191. Section 209 row S seats 40 and 41. Good seats. Up a little ways but not up in the nose bleed section. Seating is in the round there. I think any seats in the house would provide a great view. The show was great. I enjoyed it immensely. One of my favs was the big white canvas sheet that extended into the audience. A few times I thought to myself...what are they going to do for a finale that will top this or that? lol. We decided to order the Carnegie Deli and take it back to the room to eat and relax awhile before the show. We ordered the roast beef sandwich and a chicken soup. Both HUGE. Split them again and so glad we did. Had to take turns eating the soup though. Later that night I went back to the casino by myself. Hubby had had enough and wanted to just veg in the room. I played around maybe an hour or two at the most. Then I thought about getting a piece of cheesecake to take back to the room to share. He won't always help me out on eating some so I opted for the Sugar Factory instead. I also thought I might get off a little cheaper. LOL. $18 later at the SF I was heading back to the room with my mixed bag of sweet tooth heaven. He was a happy camper. I got some chocolate almonds and red licorice and a few other candies. Some of his favs. He said it really hit the spot. So it was a good decision. I just knew he wouldn't leave me holding the whole bag myself as he might have with the cheesecake. This is our last night at Mirage. Check-out is at noon Friday. We plan to go to the players club and see if we get anything comped. After he is snoring away I decide to check our bill on the TV and it comes up with no items and 0 balance. hmmm. This is interesting and really nice. Maybe. I will have to confirm this tomorrow morning. Friday Nov 19th We get up via phone alarm and get ready and packed up. I'm thinking that 11 is the check out time. We go down and get coffees. Drink those and head to the Players desk. BTW I had looked at the TV again this morning. All the charges were there. Boo. I had my suspicions anyways. Talked with Amy from Nigeria. She was a lovely... very pleasant lady. Everyone at Mirage in customer service to the housekeeping service was friendly and made us feel like welcomed and wanted guests the entire stay. Amy says after looking eveything over she can comp us one night and our food. But wait... we didn't charge any food to the room. Okay she says, " If you would like to go have breakfast before you leave I will comp that for you." Well... we say "It's almost 11... check out time. So probably not. Oh no... it is at noon she tells us. LOL. Okay, we will go have the buffet. Even though Hubby or I really are not hungry. Hey...it's a "free" meal! We played good money to get "free". LOL. Okay... complimentary. I guess I should be socially correct with my wording. Yes? We eat our Craving buffet breakfast and head back to the room to express check out and get our bags. Off to PH we go.......... Planet Hollywood: We pull up in the cab and there is a bag check helper there immediately. I love that when it happens. Check our bags with bell and head in to the diamond check in desk. With Harrahs props there is no question where diamond, platinum, gold or whatever one is, is supposed to go. We are NOT diamond. But our host told me that's where we should check in months ago. We walk through the coveted glass diamond doors and are immediately greeted with eye contact and "Welcome". I ask if for our host. "Sorry. She is home sick today but I can help you." We give the gal Hubby's player card, CC and his license. She punched it up on the puter. "Oh. This is the diamond check in. In the future unless you achieve diamond the desk is on the outside of these doors, blah blah blah" I look her at her and say, "This is where our host told us to come. So this is where we are." With a smile on my face of course. She scrolls and types further and then softens a bit. She says she sees we are there complimentary stay and the room requested isn't ready yet. I tell her we want a king with the little window seat. I don't care if it's a strip view. But I want the window seat. She does not know how to tell which rooms have that. She looks at our last room # from last year. Oh I can get you in 2 doors down from that overlooking the fountains and part of the pool. I say okay. As long as I have the little bit bigger window with the seat. We ask her if she can accept a tip. She smiles and says yes. We hand her a $20. She is very nice and tells us she will now take her son to the movies tonight and buy some popcorn. She ended up being very nice and personable. Even before the tip. lol. Out the big glass doors and up the escalator. We walk through the casino and over to the North elevators. Up to our room. It is exactly what I wanted. We have the double armoir and a full length view of the Bellagio fountains. And my window seat! And a safe that works. Last year the safe did not open. And we never got a maintenance person up there after waiting way too long that first day. Hubby heads for the casino and I decide to unpack and organize. It takes me maybe 30 minutes. I freshen up then head down to find him. We play around on a few machines and have fun. Kind of feels like home away from home for us. They took ALL my Tiki Torch machines out! errrr. Even the brand new ones they had last November are gone. We stayed around PH, played and walked around outside in front to people watch all afternoon. About 6:30 or 7 Pm we decided to have the Spice Market buffet. It was very good and all the familiar favorites were there. The prime rib was flavorful and melt in your mouth good. We also had the boiled shrimp, tempura fried shrimp, split crab legs and some beautiful desserts. Of course we left stuffed... but happy. The rest of the evening was spent playing some slots and walking our dinner off. Saturday Nov 21st Today is my sister's birthday. I will give her a call later. I had left a wrapped gift for her to open this day. I sent her birthday card out from the Mirage on the 17th. She should have received it by now. When I called her she said she got it. But she was still waiting to open the gift I made her sit on for the last month. She was still waiting to open it with the other gifts she had there with her kids and grands watching. Today we walk north and visit Paris, Ballys, Flamingo, and Harrahs. We were going to stop in O'Sheas but there were crowds of people at the doors so walked passed. We also walked into Bill's. I was really hoping to catch Big Elvis. NOT. He wasn't there on the weekend. Another big BOO. HOO. I think we played at all except Flamingo and Bills. Flamingo had a Tiki Torch last year. But either they moved it or it was gone too. Boo. Harrahs and Paris still have the ones they have had so that was my game of choice this afternoon. I did not do good on them either. Boo. After how ever long at Harrahs we walked back to PH. We played around for awhile and decided to walk across to Bellagio. We had Point Play dollars we could use. That is what we did. We both got some really fun play on machines there and excellant drink service this visit. I know I drank a banana daq and maybe one or two other drinks. I turned my point play into about $65 and left with it. I think the machines took all of Hubby's play. This is when we would usually go up close to watch a fountain show or two but it was pretty cold out this night. So when we left we went back into PH and hung out. I have no idea what time we retired to our room but I know I awoke early on Sunday. The Cosmopolitan across the street is all lit up and looks ready to open. You can spy the slot machines through the glass windows. We could see the pool level from our room and all the hardscaping they have in place there. I think the Big O day is December 15th. No idea if it will be a soft open or a great big loud todo. Anyone know if it's just the casino opening and/or the rooms too? Sunday Nov 22nd Today is pretty cold and windy outside. Brrr. I wake up at 6:15. I don't know why. I should be tired as I don't think I got to sleep much before 2AM. But I'm up and get showered and dressed. I head down to the casino and play on a few machines after getting a coffee at Earls. $2 for the one size fits all there. Kona coffee I guess it is. Faster and shorter line than Starbucks. I know it's too early to head back with a coffee for Hubby so I play a few machines and stay ahead with some little cash outs. After some time I go back to Earls and get him a coffee. Maybe another one for me. Not sure. I wake him up and sit around waiting for him to wake up and get ready for the day. Today we hang around PH all day playing slots and people watching. We walk outside a few times but the cold and wind send us back in quickly. Even doing not too much or running around to other places the day goes by in a blur. I think we ate the Spice Market buffet again today. The only complaint I have is the guacamole is runny and not too appetizing today. But the prime rib and all the other selections I try are great. This time I had creme brulee and some mini baklava for dessert. Along with some fresh pineapple and melon. I love the sauteed and sauced mixed mushrooms they have at one station also. Along with the candied yams. Yum. Monday Nov 22nd Today we are getting up and ready to meet up with some friends. The time line is anywhere between 10AM and 11:30 AM. I told them to text or call when they get here and are ready to meet up. Hubby and I are just about ready to head to the casino and I get a text. Okay! I am excited for this meeting. I text back at some point and give our general location where we are playing. I tell her to come by whenever she is done looking/doing whatever and we will be there. It's not too long and they find us at a couple penny machines. Big hugs and smiles. It is so nice to finally meet a person in person that I have liked so dearly for years online. The four of us walk out into the Miracle Mile mall a ways and gab and take some pics by the water. lol. One store is having a grand opening samples giveaway. Of course I let the lady pull me in thinking she is going to hand me a little item and a coupon. NOT. She wants me to start smelling and trying on these oil based perfumes. I smelled the 1st spray on the paper and did not even like it. I said thanks but not now and sceedaddled outta there as fast as I could. The meeting was arranged for Earls of Sandwich place at 11:30. It is located at the edge of the casino and mall way. It is now open 24 hours too. It's a order and go down the line place. Pay for your sandwich order and whatever items you grab and pay at the end. It has a soft drink and coffee fountain to help yourself. We snagged us a table for 6 and we all got our selections and sat down to eat and converse. The time seemed to fly too fast and before I knew it one couple had to leave. That's okay. In Vegas the time is short and so many things to do. I appreciate the time they did find to come and spend with us. I would have loved to meet up later again for dinner too. Besides a sweetroll and coffee from Starbucks that afternoon the Earls was all I ate Monday. And Hubby ate nothing else that day. I don't think it was the Earls or the buffets. Our tummies were in a little distress but I think it was just a short lived tummy bug. The next morning I was really worried about the flight home. I went into ABC store and bought Immodium for us. We ended up okay with out it but it was dicey for awhile not knowing how we would feel on the flight home. Tuesday Nov 23rd This is pack up and fly home day. BooHoo. But it's time and I am kind of anxious to get home too. I did stay up late Monday night and get most all my stuff packed. I aways worry if it will fit back in. Especially since I had about 10 pounds of hotel toiletries to carry home. Mirage was very generous. Without my asking for more. PH was not. lol. I did call last night and ask our host if we could get our usual late check out. No problem. She gave us til 3 PM. Even though we had to head for the taxi stand about 2:30 for our 5:15 flight. I was not sure what we would encounter at airport security so wanted to be there early enough. As it turned out it was a breeze. No pat down or body search. I did not have to open any bags or pull out any cash. I didn't even have to remove my rings walking throught the metal detector. The line was not long to get through at all either. Not sure what time it was but hubby and I went to the diamond check-in/out place as our host said that's where she would be. And she was the first face we saw sitting at the desk before the counter. We three talked awhile and she checked our account. Everything was taken care of. We didn't have much food charged. One or two buffets and a couple Starbuck visits. She told us to go eat breakfast before we checked out and she would take care of it too. We declined as the tummies were still rumbly and didn't want to chance any food yet. We talked a bit more about her travels and family. We talked about our 35th anniversary coming up next year. We had a thank you card ready and handed it to her as we got up after a few hugs and saying good bye til next year. Hubby and I headed back up to the room after we stood out front , gazed the strip traffic, looked at all the buildings and people watched awhile. We sat around the room looking out the window and me checking every drawer, the closet, the bathroom. Again and then again before we grabbed our jackets, bags and headed for the taxi to the airport. Our flight was delayed almost 90 minutes. We got home about 15 minutes late due to a strong tailwind. Our younger son came to pick us up. Our older son had a pot of chili hot and ready for us all to eat when we got here. The dog was excited we were home. The first thing I did was reach in the cupboard and give him a few treats after he gave me paw. One paw then the other. He would sit and patiently and attentively for 15 minutes giving me paw non stop if he thought he was in for a treat of a dog biscuit or two. LOL And then if I put it in my mouth and bent down to let him have it he would take it very gently. He is a pit bull. A great big lovable brindle. I slept until about 11 AM on Wednesday then started the multiple loads of laundry and put other things away. Back to reality and my real world. For awhile. Note: photobucket is hanging up on me. I will try and get back to adding a few more pics later. I don't want to lose what I have here already.