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my birthday trip 6/19-6/26

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by raraavis, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,118
    Location:
    NJ
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9

    My Trip Report

    YES. This will be a long, rambling report. I am probably the most detailed person I know. If you’re comfortable reading long-winded senseless writings, then you’ll love this!

    part 1: saturday through monday
    Ahh, vegas. My home away from home…no seriously, I keep trying to pressure my boyfriend to move there. I’m a northern state kinda gal, so I am absolutely enamored with the scenery and weather in that area. And to be honest, I am sure part of me wants to move there only because my dad lives there. All of my family and friends live in Michigan, and I am never going back to that state. I am all alone out here. So the logical answer is to move to vegas! So a trip out there is always bittersweet. The week I am visiting, I am in bliss. The days after, I am depressed and lonely. I was tempted to just send my boyfriend back home while I stayed for the summer since I’m unemployed anyway. But I decided to be responsible and continue my job search back in the northeast. *sigh*

    Alright, so we’ve been counting down to this trip since January when we first booked our room. We ended up rebooking a different deal in May because it was so much better than our first one. Airfare was bought much later (we were trying to catch a deal here too but didn’t). my poor boyfriend has been on travel for work constantly. He got back on Thursday only to jump on a plane again on Saturday. Poor guy. We planned on getting up at 3:45am on Saturday the 19th for our 7:45am flight. We had to be at the bus stop by 5am (first bus of the day is at 5:15, and it’s about an hour commute). We had never done this commute by public transportation, so we gave ourselves plenty of time. Usually, our area is pretty quiet. We finally are able to go to bed around 11:30pm on friday. Eh, we’re already not going to get a lot of sleep. Then we hear heavy machinery outside our bedroom window. Huh? We live right on a pretty busy 4 lane road. Well turns out they decided to repave the WHOLE road on Friday night. Seriously? You guys couldn’t start on Saturday night once we left for a week? Come on! Needless to say, we didn’t really sleep that night. The next morning, everything was on schedule, and the bus ride took less than 45 minutes, so we were pretty early, which I prefer. Flight was good. We flew continental, and I usually like continental because they give you food when so few airlines even give you a drink. Since it was such an early flight, we got breakfast. I’m not a big fan of breakfast type food. Give me a hamburger, fries, and coke at 7am any day. But they gave some good stuff I have to say. Better than we expected for sure. We got a little box of cheerios, carton of 2% milk, a banana, and a muffin. Then they came by with drinks. Yes, I got a coke. My bf slept most of the plane ride. I had trouble sleeping, so I went back and forth from reading a wrinkle in time (I finished the wheel of time series about a week before we left darn it!), to watching in-flight movies (they showed the proposal-which I liked-and when in rome-which was a bit cheesy), to listening to harry potter on audio book (which I must say the narrator, stephen fry, does a fabulous job). I took some pics of the beautiful scenery from the airplane as well. The 5.5 hours went by pretty quickly. We arrived about 30 minutes late (have no idea why), and I texted my dad to let him know. He works nearby the strip/airport, so he was on his way. Stepping into the airport, I felt like I was coming home. A little secret I will tell you now since it will appear throughout: I am addicted to the lights and sounds of gaming machines (not just slots). I don’t really gamble or anything. I just love the colors, lights, and sounds. Yes, I am like a small child. We walk the mile from our gate to our baggage claim (tram ride included). Our bags were not lost; we’re off to a good start!

    First stop? In and out burger of course!! Why oh why can’t these people put them in the northeast? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have a sonic here at least. But I sure would love to see an in and out. I love the simplicity of the place. After chatting with my dad and eating a yummy burger, we head to Mandalay Bay for the shark reef. They were celebrating their 10th anniversary, so we got tickets for only $10 each (instead of $16 I think). Yes, I researched all this stuff before the trip. I found lots of coupons and deals, and I created an itinerary (I like schedule, what can I say?). so my dad of course paid for our tickets. In fact, my dad paid for a lot of things on this trip. I expected it but not in a snooty kind of way. I expected it because I know my dad too well. You have to be pretty sneaky to be able to pay around him. My bf tried several times and failed haha. the shark reef was something my dad and I have never done (the cost was just too high), so this was a new experience for all 3 of us. We even wore the silly hats they gave away (meant for kids I am sure). I was pleasantly pleased with the exhibit, but I wouldn’t pay the original price (call me cheap). Also as part of their celebration, they had a cake contest. Apparently top chefs from different strip hotels created a shark reef themed cake, and patrons of the shark reef were given ballots to vote for their favorite ones. The celebration also included free cookies (yes!!), balloon animals (the line was just too long and filled with kids for me to wait), and face painting (again, crowded with kids. What gives?).

    Now we have some time to kill until we go to dinner with my dad’s gf and family. So we head to my dad’s place and settle in (we stayed there for the first night since our hotel was booked for Sunday through Thursday). A couple hours later, we go to the casino my dad’s gf works at and eat at the buffet. Yay, our first buffet of the trip!! A little back story here: I have been dieting/exercising and trying to be healthier in general since January. Up to the trip, I had lost about 25 lbs (still have 30 to go to get to my weight before I developed a thyroid disorder). So I really wanted to try to be as good as possible on this trip even with all the buffets we planned on eating. And spoiler alert! I only gained about 4-5lbs on the whole trip (and I am already back down to what I was before I left! Yes!!). so at this first buffet, I got a plate of fruit and salad, no bread, only drank water. Then I had a plate of “regular” food, then a bowl of yummy gelato and a brownie. Overall, not too shabby. It’s getting late, so everyone leaves the casino except for me, my dad and my bf. We gambled a little (I like job video poker; my dad prefers that triple bonus poker-he should too, he’s won tons of money on those!). we make it back to his place around 11 (remember, we have been up since 3:45am my time. So by time we go to bed the first night, we had been up almost 24 hours). My dad’s gf had a little bday party set up just for the 5 of us. It was soooo sweet. There were party hats, party favors, matching napkins and plates, and a cake of course! I guess daddy’s little girl never grows up. I was still stuffed from the buffet, but I managed to fit a piece of cake in there haha. Then finally, we’re off to bed.

    Sunday is father’s day and my bday. We get up around 7am and head to ihop for breakfast for my dad (his choice). After that we go home and wait for another person to arrive. Once they arrive, we head to a park near my dad’s place. The purpose of this is for me to get my running in. so there I am exercising in the bright sun, while everyone else is just sitting in the shade watching me do laps. Hmmm, there is something wrong with this picture! Haha. Then we head back home to pack up and leave for check in at MGM Grand. We get in line while my dad goes to pick up our ka tickets (a bday present from him). Not very long lines at all at check in, and you can choose which line you get in. I think it was about 2pm when we were checking in. I tried to choose the friendliest face I could. They actually all looked kind of stern. I was super nervous because I wanted to ask for a complimentary upgrade to a suite for my bday. Nope, I didn’t try the $20 trick because frankly, I am poor and we were content with a tower room. But the clerk said they are not allowed to give comp upgrades. LIAR! The guy on the phone told me specifically to ask for one! Oh well. So then I ask for something smaller: can we get a comped fridge in our room? “sure. Let me go get that ready for you.” Yay! We only needed the fridge to keep our alcohol and drinks in. she also said she can give us a room with a view. this was our first time staying at mgm, so we were a little lost trying to find our room. The check in clerk didn’t tell us how to get to our rooms. I honestly didn’t know that the area of elevators went to ALL rooms, no matter what tower you are in. contrary to what a lot of people say on stupid trip advisor, mgm is not TOO big. It is super easy to get around. It only took about 5 min to get from our room to the pool and fitness center and only about 5 min to head to the strip (coming out the west wing exit near the Grand Canyon store). There are plenty of signs everywhere. Plus, not to toot my own horn, I am pretty awesome with directions and remembering layouts.

    So we head to our room; my dad wanted to see it. He was going to go with us to check out the pool, but he had to get going. The clerk wasn’t kidding about the view. It was great! We were right smack in front of ny, ny. We had a great view of Monte Carlo and city center as well. We could see the mgm grand sign really well too. It was wonderful. 26th floor and not too far from the elevators. We say our goodbyes and then head to the pool to use our first $25 pool credit (we wanted a drink but wouldn’t be actually swimming at the pool that day). We got a souvenir mug with a margarita on the rocks. It was pricey, $23, but worth it since we could refill that for only like $11. We used that mug twice daily to get our drink credits. Worked out well because we definitely would not have spent that of our own money. Oh and I should mention that they say you can’t bring in your own alcohol or food, but that’s not true. They do check bags when you go to the pool, but they’re just checking for glass. We saw tons of people with huge mugs (like the big gulp plastic mugs from 7/11) filled with something (we’re guessing alcohol). So we did that the next couple of times since we had jim beam and diet coke in the room. And you could bring in food too. We brought in mcdonald’s a few times. Really quick side note: the mcdonald’s there was actually not as pricey as we thought it would be. We‘re used to nyc pricing on fast food, and I would say it comparable except the mgm actually had a $1 menu! Yay! The pizza place next door was soooo expensive (like $22 for a cheese pizza). But the pizza place had good garlic knots (6 for $4). Ok, back to our day on Sunday (my birthday!). after getting our drink, we head back to the room to change. And we’re off!!

    Our first stop for my bday celebration (I’m 28 btw) is seablue right inside mgm. I had spotted info online about their happy hour and immediately added it to my itinerary. The lobster corndogs caught my eye. Their happy hour consists of: ½ off draft beer (choice of stella and fat tire), ½ lobster corn dogs (which still made it about $7.50), ½ off salt and pepper calamari ($5), $1 shrimp and $1 oysters (both had to be ordered in groups of ½ dozen at least). We both don’t like oysters, and the bf is allergic to shrimp (so he says-I have yet to see a reaction). I was dying to try the lobster corn dogs though. I love corn dogs in general, so adding lobster definitely piqued my interest. They were sooooo good! I recommend getting these. The single order came with 4 mini corn dogs, plenty for 2 people. The calamari was ok in taste. To be fair, I think my bf and I are accustomed to calamari served at thai restaurants. Seablue’s calamari’s taste was a little bland for us. But I have to say the calamari was extremely fresh. I think our bill was about $30 and included an order of lobster corndogs, calamari, and 3 beers. Good start to the birthday! Next we walk to paris for my requested dinner at mon ami gabi. I have wanted to go here since it opened, but most of my trips have been in January. So we got there about 7:20pm on Sunday night. I cancelled my indoor reservation and got a pager for the patio (the WHOLE point of me wanting to go to this particular restaurant). We waited about an hour and were seated in a perfect spot on the patio.

    We ordered a bottle of wine and a chicken entrée to share (the frites were sooooo damn good). The waitress brought over a baguette. I have not yet mentioned my obsession with bread, but you will see this recurring theme throughout the trip. I devoured this baguette. My poor bf maybe got some crumbs haha. Service was good, wine was good, food was good, and atmosphere was awesome! We watched about 4 or 5 of the Bellagio fountain shows (they were showing every 15 minutes by that time of night). I have no clue what the bill was since bf wouldn’t let me see it. I’m guessing it was about $50 (not bad at all). After dinner I stopped over at the star trek slots because I had read someone’s trip report that mentioned their love for them. Plus, my brother is obsessed with star trek in general, so I thought I would play a little to pay homage to my geeky brother. Uh oh. Bad move. I am officially addicted to the star trek slots. It didn’t happen that night I have to say. I was confused by the way it worked, and frankly, I have never played slots before. I was sitting next to some nerdy guy (there were only 2 machines in all of paris-I found out later that they are hard to find!). so he saw I was a damsel in distress and started explaining it to me. Then he noticed my 6’4” bf standing behind me, and he turned away mumbling whatever he was saying about the game. Haha. Thanks giant bf for scaring my teacher away; now I don’t know how to play! *no worries. I learned later and thus the addiction began. Well that was it for my bday. We were so exhausted from our first day still that we just strolled back to our hotel (it’s about a 25-30 min walk from paris to mgm in case anyone is interested).

    Monday started too early for my liking, then again, anything before 10am is too early for me. I got up at 6:30am and went to the fitness center (hey it was one of my daily freebies from the deal we booked-I would never spend $25 to have access to the spa and gym or $15 just for the gym. No way). I was surprised to see it full. Crazy people, working out in vegas when they could be sleeping or drinking. Oh wait, I was one of those crazy people. What happened to me?!?!?! As I mentioned earlier, I run for exercise (among other things). Since there was nowhere for me to run outside (I later discovered that an early morning strip run is perfect), I jumped on a treadmill. Can’t be that different from outside right? Wrong! I found out that I absolutely cannot run on a treadmill. I feel so enclosed and trapped. No thanks. So I tried other cardio equipment for an hour. The fitness center overlooks the pool, so I was getting antsy. Walked back to the room, and the walk was still quiet and empty. Definitely a benefit to getting up early. I wake up my lucky, non-exercising bf and we change into bathing suits and head to the pool. Well the pool opens at 8 (it was 9 when we got down there). But the lazy river doesn’t open until 10. What?!?! I’m not much for just sitting in a pool. Boring. All we wanted was an inner tube (also included in my daily freebies), a drink, and the lazy river. All of those things were closed until 10am. Seriously? That sucks butt. We were only staying at the pool until noon anyway. Grrrr. So we sat by some other pool (don’t get me wrong, the other pools are gorgeous-it’s just not my thing). My bf worried about me burning (yeah, I am about as pale as they get while he is a dark tan Puerto Rican god), so we moved to the shade. We had no drink and no sun. the worst thing for me was I had no book (yep, I am one of those people who if I am sitting still I need to be doing something, and my choice activity is reading). But sitting here, we discovered all the info about bringing in your own food and drink. Finally, the lazy river opens, and the people flood it! We were worried we wouldn’t get a seat, but the seating area is huge! No need to worry. We got a nice partly sunny/partly shady spot. I went to get the drink (luckily the bar opened on time). Then I walked to the inner tube rental, which was NOT open yet. The girl didn’t show for like another 15 minutes! If I had known, I would have just gone back to the chairs and waded through the river myself. Grrr. Can you tell I need things to be on time and according to a schedule? Finally, I am halfway through my yummy margarita when I get my tube. Walk back to my bf, and he’s like “where’s the rest of the drink?” I point to my tummy. Haha. I guess a benefit to waiting for the tube is I didn’t have to share the drink mwuhahahaha! Mgm knows you need more than one tube, and that is why they only comp you one. They expect you to shell out the $16 for another one. Yeah right! Not these cheapos! So the lazy river is only about 3 ft deep. When I stand up straight, I have from my waist up showing. When my bf stands, he has from about 6 inches below his waist showing. It's quite a funny sight actually haha. And he couldn’t float through the river very easily without scraping his legs or feet. So I gave him the tube since I could just hang on and be dragged. He tried this too but almost flipped the tube with me in it over! We had fun. It wasn’t very crowded (i.e., you could move through the river easily). We left around 12:15, went back to the room and got ready for lunch.

    We headed to tacos and tequila in the luxor. I bought a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com for only $2. Woohoo! Of course, we know that you need to spend $35 to be able to use it. Well, the menu items are priced a certain way that you pretty much have to spend like $50. No biggie. In hindsight, we should have gotten two appetizers and one entrée since the entree's were so big. Oh well. We were seated right away (probably was 2pm by now). I think there was only 1 waiter, and he was working hard. No complaints there. We were given chips and salsa pretty quickly. We only ordered water. We ordered a sample platter for our app. It had nachos, tamales, shrimp quesadillas and beef flautas. The shrimp quesadillas were to die for! I recommend ordering that as the full app. The nachos were super tasty too. I didn’t like the other stuff, so bf ate those. Bf got enchiladas (which I can make at home-I have a rule never to order anything from a restaurant that I can make decently at home). I got a chicken burrito. These dishes came with rice and beans of course. My burrito was ginormous! I ate about 4 bites and had to have it boxed. The sample app platter was a meal on its own. We left feeling extremely full. This is when I started to not feel well. No, it wasn’t the food. I think I was extremely dehydrated. Before vegas, I normally drink about 18-24 glasses of water a day. In vegas, I was struggling to get 10 glasses. My body was not used to this lack of water, the dry heat (it was about 105 mostly), and all the direct sun. so I was miserable. We walked to madame tussaud’s since bf has never been to one (I have been to vegas, nyc, and Amsterdam). My dad had bought us tickets because they are running a special for Nevada residents. Only $10 per ticket! That’s a $15 saving! But they told us we could only use them on the day they are bought (I guess that keeps residents from buying tons in advance and maybe selling them for profit?). my dad had picked us up from our hotel earlier to go to the venetian to get them, then dropped us at luxor for lunch. So now we are walking the extremely long way to venetian. This does not help my condition. We should have taken the bus, but I was stubborn. Shocker. It is now about 5pm. My dad bought the tickets at 2:08pm. We get there, and it is closed. Wtf?!?! An attendant is standing by a sign that says the museum was open from 10am-3pm and is now closed for a private event. Wtf??? So I ask what’s going on? I told him we bought these tickets at 2, and my dad had asked if we could come back any time since we were going to lunch at that time. The cashier said yes, they were open until 10pm. In fact, they won’t sell you a ticket if you try to buy one when there is less than one hour left of the museum being open. So why in the world did they allow us to buy a ticket at 2:08pm when the museum closed at 3pm? And why would the cashier not know anything about the event that night? And why wasn’t that sign in place for the whole day? The attendant didn’t have answers. He simply said, sorry, we’re closed. So I told him that we were told we could only use the tickets on the day they were bought. He said “no I am here all day tomorrow, come back. You can use them.” Ok. So I took his picture and a picture of the sign to prove my case for Tuesday. I was beyond pissed! Did I mention my necessity for adhering to a schedule? Yeah, I am neurotic. So I am already feeling shitty because of the lack of water, now my plans are completely askew! I specifically planned this. I didn’t want to do madame tussaud’s on Tuesday because we were doing buffet of buffets. I would be so fat that day and wearing an outfit that can handle 3 buffets in one day. I didn’t want tons of pics from the wax museum on the same day as that! Plus, I had a cute outfit on today! Damn them! Yeah I know, sounds childish. I swear I didn’t throw a public tantrum, just one in my head.

    So we left. I was pretty pissed mostly because we walked for an hour to get there. We had to keep stopping in casinos so I could get some ac and some water. We found out on this long trek that no casinos have drinking fountains. Really? They want you to pay $4 for water? Don’t think so. Luckily, the bartenders were nice enough to give us some ice water, which I transferred to my water bottle (yep, I actually brought my reusable water bottle on this trip because I knew I needed to drink water). After being rejected by madame tussaud, we went inside to get bf a player’s card. And I found my star trek machines! This is when the actual addiction began. I was getting bonuses! I was addicted to bonuses. I could care less about the money. Just give me a bonus! I think I accrued about 40 medals while in vegas. After winning about $50 (which is huge for me!), we head across the street just in time for the volcano show (it is 8pm now). We walk to Flamingo (I wanted to go through the wildlife habitat, but I wasn’t feeling well, and it was dark by time we got there) for our first buffet of buffets. We sit down probably around 8:30pm. No line whatsoever. We weren’t too impressed with the spread. But I will say I must have needed food because I felt 100% better after eating something. I have to say that even though the buffet was about average fare, they had a great fruit selection. They had cotton candy, but it wasn’t as good as harrah’s cotton candy (lunch for the next day). For some reason, the buffet gets packed at 9:30 (they close at 10). We wondered if maybe there was some sort of half off deal if you came at 9:30. We left stuffed but content. We walk back to our hotel. We played some video poker at mgm. I won about $40; bf lost about $40. Then we headed up and went to bed. How in the world do these people handle drinking all day and partying at clubs all night? Crazy. We were so tired.
     
  2. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,118
    Location:
    NJ
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    part 2

    No working out on Tuesday morning because there was literally no time. We had started buffet of buffets last night, and this morning was time for our favorite buffet: Paris (it’s our favorite for breakfast; Bellagio is our all time favorite). I knew we needed to get there early, so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. We got up at 6 with the intention of leaving by 7. Oops, I always take longer than expected, especially in the morning. I am so slow. We finally left at 7:30am. The walk was so incredibly pleasant. The sun had yet to shine on the eastern side of the strip; the sidewalks were so empty. It was wonderful. It took about 25 minutes. We walk to the paris buffet, and there is NO line. Maybe a few people inside that little cash register area. But we decided to use the restroom since there never is one in the buffet itself. I told bf I know there is one nearby, so we went off looking. We couldn’t find it, so we went back to the one near the check in. by time we got back (about 10 min after all the looking and such), there were only a few more people in line. No biggie. As we’re in line, we notice a bathroom right across from the line. Duh! Oh well. We waited about 20 minutes. It was about 8:15 when we officially got in line and were seated by 8:40 or so. I love the bread selection there. I ate about 4 mini baguettes. I know, some of you may think bread is a waste at a buffet because it just fills you up, but I adore bread. The scrambled eggs were good, bacon was good, crepe was good, but I was not happy with the selection of filling. No strawberries! They had bananas, which would have gone wonderfully with strawberries. So I got cherry. Tasted like canned pie filling. Last year, I was able to just get a plain crepe with chocolate inside. Not available this time. Bummer. My bf fell in love with the steel cut oatmeal. He usually hates oatmeal because he eats it every morning for his cholesterol. But paris did wonderful things to that oatmeal, and he is still raving about it a week later. Everything there was very good though, and I would go back again. We left about 9:30, and the line was super long! I would say at least a 1.5 hr wait by now. So if you want to go there for breakfast, go early!

    The rest of the day is just filled with strip walking because we still had 2 buffets to go. I felt so full after the paris breakfast, I didn’t think I could eat again for a day. We had planned harrah’s for lunch but didn’t make it there until 4pm, after we did madame tussaud’s. the wax museum was ok. Glad we only paid $10 for it. Don’t spend $25 doing it if you can avoid it. There was a slight hiccup when the girl scanned our tickets. I was ready to argue my way through it (I’m a great debater haha). She looked confused and asked if we had already been there today. We looked confused in return and said no. she let us pass, but she still looked really confused. Maybe they prescan them when you buy this specific discount because they worry people will abuse it? So we came up as already being there? Who knows? I didn’t have to argue with them, which is good (for them haha). Ok, on to harrah’s buffet. At 4pm, there was absolutely no line. I guess dinner had just started. The buffet was on par with the flamingo. No complaints but also no outstanding comments. Oh wait, I forgot that the clam chowder was very good. The cotton candy was yummy too. We still weren’t all that hungry from breakfast 7 hours earlier, but we stuffed it in anyway. I think I only had one plate. As we left the buffet (probably around 5:15), the line was sooo long! So beware. We continued to walk the strip, slowly making our way back to Planet Hollywood (our final buffet was to be at spice market). I stopped at paris to play star trek (I told you I was addicted, always looking for machines). I won a little. My bf actually liked the sex and the city machines but only because he got bonuses. It was fun watching him try to dress Samantha and carrie haha. I couldn’t afford those machines. If you want a bonus, you need to play $2 a spin! Forget that! You never made your money back unless you hit a good bonus, like my bf did. Star trek only takes a penny, and I play 25 lines at a time. So I only am betting $.25 a spin, and you get way more of a payout per spin. Plus, the chairs have sound effects and vibrate! How cool is that? Ok, so it is now about 7pm, so we need to get to spice market. We have to be done by 8:15 because we need to head back to our room to change for ka. Our show was at 9:30. The line for spice market was doable. I think we got in line about 7:05 and were seated by 7:35. The buffet should not be voted #1 (not sure who voted it that, but they have signs everywhere). It was ok. The steamed pork buns were yummy though. I haven’t had those since my visits to Chinatown in nyc. Of course the ones in Chinatown are much better, but I was happy with just getting a decent one. Now all I needed was some bubble tea! When we left the buffet, the line was once again super long. Looks like we keep getting lucky with the lines. We left about 8:15pm.

    *overall, my opinion on the buffet of buffets deal is good. Even if you only do two buffets, you will come close to spending the $35 anyway (depends on which ones you do). Would we do it again? Hell no. we ended up eating way too much and hardly able to move. It takes so much time out of your trip. I say try it at least once. It was fun trying out buffets that we would never had tried. But next year, we are sticking with 1 or 2 buffets, which would be paris for breakfast and Bellagio for lunch (not in the same day of course). The money you save is great. Even if we were eating mcdonald’s for 4 meals, we would probably come close to paying $35. So it’s definitely worth the money. But boy is it a pain. We’re content with grabbing small meals here and there for our trip.

    We change in our room and head down to the ka theater (which is like a 2 minute walk from our room). We sat in section 103, row e, seats 7 and 8. My dad bought these tickets for me for my bday, so I wasn’t going to complain about the seats. I was a little worried because I had read on the message boards that these were bad seats. This was my first time seeing this show, so I had no way to compare these seats to others. My dad said he sat in a similar area when he went, and he really enjoyed the show. The cons to sitting there: we did have to crane our neck for a few of the scenes, and I am sure we did miss minute parts of some scenes. The pros: we could see the costumes and characters up close. Overall, I didn’t have a problem with these seats. I thought the show was absolutely amazing and would see it again in a heartbeat. Just amazing. The night ended there since it was about 11:30 by time we got back to our room, and we had been up since 6.

    Wednesday morning we spent at the pool, but we needed to leave around 11. We got there at about 9:30, this time knowing the bar and lazy river don’t open until 10. We pick our spot at the lazy river, and my bf is not happy with it. I don’t understand the problem since we aren’t even going to be sitting here. We’re just placing our items there (btw, we left our flip flops and my tote bag there the whole time, and no one touched them. I didn’t have valuables in there though to be on the safe side). Anyway, we got in a teeny fight because he was crabby; I probably was too. So we spent another 10 minutes looking for a new spot. And he was pouting because all the good ones were taken. I thought this was all irrelevant since we would be in the water the whole time. So off I go to get the drink and tube (the room was in my name, so we weren’t sure if he would be able to charge things to the room). NONE of the bars were open. Not even ones outside of the lazy river. Wtf? It’s already 10:15 by now. So I go get the tube. At least this person was on time today, unlike on Monday. But the line is long. I finally get the tube and go all the way back to the chairs. Believe me, I think we chose the farthest away seats. Ugh. Now I am really crabby because I have no drink, and we are leaving the pool in like 30 minutes. We had yet to get in the water. So we hop in the water then. Bf gets in the tube (which takes about 5 tries). We decide they gave us a tube that was not inflated enough. So we get close to the tube rental, and I tell him to go get a big one while I get a drink. Well, the bars are still not open!!! Here I am carrying an empty mug, not drinking! Unacceptable! I finally walk up to the front of the pool area and ask the towel girl. She’s pretty young (probably can’t even drink) and says she thinks they open at 11. I nicely tell her that’s not probable since they opened at 10 on Monday. She asks someone else, and he is surprised they are not open either. He points me to a bar at the other end of the complex that is open and says he will find someone to take care of the other bars. Well I don’t know how long that will take, so I go to the other bar, where there is a huge line. Of course, it’s the only bar that’s open. I finally head back to where I left bf. He had a much bigger tube, and I finally had a drink. We had maybe 20 minutes left. That pissed me off. And of course by time I get back to the lazy river, the other bars are open. Grrr! We take a few spins around and decided to leave. It was already 11:15 anyway. The lazy river was so crowded. You couldn’t flow freely at all. My biggest complaint about the river? Parents allowed their children to play in it. Hey, I have no problem with children in the river, whether on a tube or swimming through. But these kids were playing. I mean, they had their goggles on and everything. They were diving; they were jumping; they certainly were not moving with the current. They were clogging it up! Besides the point of it being annoying that we couldn’t move through the river, it was dangerous for these kids to be playing in a lazy river. I don’t know how many kids I knocked over just by floating (I wasn’t kicking or swimming). There are plenty of pools in this complex. Please parents, take your children there if they want to play. The lazy river is meant for relaxing, floating, and gliding. As you can see, Wednesday was not a great morning for us. As we are drying off, we asked the group of young guys next to us if they wanted our tube. We weren’t sure on Monday if we had to return it, or if we could just leave it lying around. Might as well let someone else enjoy it. So we found out that we didn’t have to return them; we just couldn’t leave the facility with them. So we gave those guys our tube. That made us feel better, that mgm was screwing one less person. Side note about tubes: they say you can’t bring your own in, but we saw plenty of people with their own. I don’t know how they did it or how they blew it up.

    The whole plan for the rest of the day is to be downtown, where the gambling is cheaper. We changed in the room and caught the ace bus right outside mgm (near the grand canyon store) around 2. It took about 30 minutes to get downtown. We both fell asleep on the bus (we’re old fogies I guess). We go to el cortez first since I have never been there, and I heard good things about it on the message boards. It was very depressing and way too smoky for me. We got a player’s card. I wanted to try table bj, but the cheap tables were really full. So we left. It was sooo hot too. We headed under the canopy and went to fitz and got a player’s card there. I got a shot glass! We also got a coupon for 2 for 1 burger. We got that (it came with fries!) and headed to vue bar and got a $1 draft (blue moon). We sat on the patio overlooking Fremont street and enjoyed our food. Then we wandered a bit and gambled a bit. Lost a lot! I thought downtown was supposed to yield greater wins? No way. Lost all the money I had won on the strip. Then my dad called and was going to meet us for dinner and the summer of 70s concert. Today was an eagles tribute band. I was stoked. I also was sad when I saw the line up for the rest of the summer. I was going to miss a pink Floyd tribute, aerosmith, led zeppelin, rolling stones, just to name a few. At least I got to see the eagles concert. So we decide to eat at magnolias in the 4 queens. I had a coupon for buy 1 entrée get 1 free. I wasn’t very hungry since we ate those big burgers only 3 hours ago (btw, they were very good). So I just ordered the chicken finger app; bf and dad ordered bigger meals. I had heard decent things about magnolia’s on the message boards but have to disagree. It was not even good if you considered them a diner. It was mediocre at best. The mashed potatoes were definitely from a box (believe me, I know my mashed potatoes). The chicken my bf got was rubbery. I didn’t try my dad’s salmon though. It was hard to get them to come around and fill the water glasses too. I was shocked at how busy this place was for how crummy the food was. Oh well, out to the canopy we go. We watched the first light show (this is bf’s second time in vegas ever and my 6th or 7th, so I have seen this a zillion times). Dad’s gf met up with us for the eagles concert. We enjoyed that a lot. Then they left, and we stayed for about another hour, gambling (and losing might I add).

    We jumped the bus back to the strip. It took about 45 min this time (it was around 11pm when we got on). It was slow going once we got to the middle of the strip. We wanted to get off at Bellagio, and the traffic was horrendous. Finally made it to paris for my star trek slots, and they were full. These women were in for the long haul! I saw one who already had $50 in there, slip $100 more in. come on! And the cocktail waitress was bringing drinks regularly without even being asked. This means they were there for awhile. Speaking of drink service, it was horrible downtown. Here I expected to have more fun downtown because of the cheaper gambling and free flowing drinks, but nope. Horrible drink service. But on the strip, I was always being asked. My overall opinion still stands that I like the strip better. I tried to give downtown a chance. But the strip still has way more appeal for me (plus it’s nowhere near as smoky, yuck!). anyway, those ladies aren’t getting off my machines, so I remember reading on the forums that there are some star trek ones in bally’s. at this point, it’s almost midnight, and my bf is seriously considering setting up an intervention for my star trek addiction. He tried saying that logically if the paris ones are full, then the bally’s one are too. I argued and said not true at all. The paris is a much more popular hotel, and these machines are right in front of the door. The door to the paris is much more accessible from the strip, but you have to walk a very long time to get to the bally’s entrance. Plus, the bally’s star trek weren’t set near the entrance. We found them empty at bally’s. I love when I win, especially against my logic loving engineer bf. Ha! So we play for a bit, and I lose. But I did get some bonuses, so I was happy. He was like “you weren’t kidding that you only care about the bonuses. You just lost $20, but you’re as happy as can be.” I told him it wasn’t about money for me. I LOVE the lights and sounds! Of course, the casino biz knows this and makes all those machines flashy. Ooohh, aaaahhh. We finally leave and go to mcdonald’s in the mgm (the one on the strip was packed!). we ate in our room and then went to bed. It was our last night in those nice comfy beds.

    Thursday morning is all about packing and checking out. Packing went well, except I left my wonderful eye mask in the drawer. I really thought I checked the drawer, but we were in a rush to make it to the 11 check out. The tv check out wasn’t working. The elevators were packed of course, and we had about 4 elevators we had to pass because they were full. We get to check out around 11:15. I have to say it wasn’t a horrible wait considering the time we were checking out and that the tv check out wasn’t working. I found out why the tv check out wasn’t working. Apparently, mgm was switching their check in/check out computer program, right in the middle of our trip. So on one system was our stay for Sunday and Monday. The new system had tues-wed. they were having problems with transferring from one system to another and tack on we had goofy comps they had to figure out (which they had screwed up). I said I only waited a short time in line, but I spent a good 20 minutes once I was actually checking out. They messed up. I didn’t get mad. I can imagine how crazy the situation is. I was just persistent and patient. They tried telling me I only had $50 in pool comps available when I had $100. But they couldn’t see that because of this split system fiasco. Then they charged me $5 for a tube. Huh? Even the manager (yeah, I was working with a manager) was confused about that since tubes cost $16. I wonder if they just add stuff and hope you don’t notice? Well, I scrutinize every bill I get, even at the dollar store. They also had several of our pool drinks still on there, but the prices were odd. Turns out the $25 pool credit doesn’t include TAXES or TIPS! Wtf? Nowhere in the fine print did it say that! And at the pool bars, the only price listed was a whole amount and did not say tax was included or excluded. Who knew?? So we didn’t use our full credits because we were including tax and tip on our tallies. We could have at least gotten a few more beers. So that is just a warning for those of you who are ignorant like I was. Finally, we get it all straightened out. Phew! The total cost for our 4 night stay at a tower room was $266 (that included taxes). We booked early enough that we didn’t have a resort fee. Our DAILY (so multiply by 4) freebies were: $25 pool credit (could be used toward food, drinks, or cabana rental), 1 all day pass to the spa (which included the fitness center), 1 tube rental, and 1 free pass to studio 54 or tabu (we didn’t use since we both hate the club scene). I think overall, we got a magnificent deal. The stay was pleasant, no complaints about the room or hotel (besides the sneaky non-existent fine print about the pool credit).

    My dad picked us up, and we went to a thai place for lunch (off strip, definitely for locals). My dad’s gf headed home, and we went to a station casino and played…you guessed it star trek! Haha. Later that night we went to texas de brazil ( a Brazilian steakhouse) for a combo father’s day/my bday dinner. I had a buy one get one entrée coupon since it was my bday, and my dad had the same coupon for father’s day. We saved over $100! Woohoo! I love saving money (well, my bf does since he paid for the dinner). It was sooo good. I recommend it (they are in other parts of the country as well but not in my area). The Brazilian bread was awesome (I’ve made it at home before too). The bananas were to die for! Then they came out with a surprise birthday cake. My family sang happy birthday to me. I was so embarrassed (but deep down loved it). I left that place more stuffed than when I left the buffets.

    Friday was our last full day. We were leaving at 6:45am on Saturday. I know, another early flight, but it was cheaper. So we went to another buffet in the morning but only because my dad’s gf got a 50% discount at this casino. Then we went to red rock canyon for about 4 hours. It was gorgeous. I hadn’t been there in about 10 years, and my bf has never been there. We were worried it would be too hot, but the strong breeze helped a lot. I think it was about 105 (but cooler as we climbed in elevation). Next time we go, bf and I want to spend a day hiking there. My dad has some injuries that prevent him from doing a lot of hiking, so we just did the scenic drive. But next time we go, we’ll get some hiking in. I’m trying to convince bf to do some horseback riding, but he swears he’s allergic. Frankly, I don’t care. I will put so many drugs in his system, anything to ride a horse (another obsession of mine). Then we went to my dad’s gf’s brother’s house for a nice bbq. I used this as a great opportunity to convince my bf to move to vegas. I think he is at least considering it now, but his job is just too good here to up and move for no reason. Maybe someday…..

    As you can tell, we did a minimal amount of drinking, to our dismay. It was just too hot for us to drink. Oh we did drink, and probably enough to get regular people at least buzzed. However, both of us (my bf even more so) have a high tolerance for alcohol. We are both bigger people and never have a problem with drinking. So no drunken debacles to talk about. Anyway, we went to bed around 12:30 and got up at 4 again. Ugh. Dad took us to the airport, and we were at our gate with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately, there was a mechanical problem, and we were delayed an hour and a half. The gate next to us was going to the same exact place we were , yet they left before us! Aaargh! I was so exhausted that I fell asleep sitting up in my chair while waiting. Finally, we’re on board. The take off is my absolute favorite part of flying, and I slept through it! That’s how tired I was. I had stupid little kids sitting behind me who nonstop kept banging my seat (they were sliding the tray back and forth into my seat). I even fell asleep with that going on. But it was getting so annoying that I stood up and turned around and told them to stop bumping my seat. Did the parent apologize or do anything? No. I wanted to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger in kindergarten cop and break a pencil and tell them that’s what I am gonna do to them if they don’t stop, but I didn’t have a pencil. They served a similar breakfast as the first one, and I watched extraordinary measures as my in-flight movie (never saw it before, but I thought it was good). but damn why do they show movies on a plane that will make me sob in front of people? The flight back always is quicker because of the jet stream, so we are back only about an hour late (arrived 3:30 our time, 12:30 vegas time). We are both grumpy and tired. I am even more so because I am forced back to this miserable state with its cloudy skies and humidity. We took the bus back home; it took a little longer since it was middle of the day but not bad. I wanted sonic for dinner since my bf promised it while in vegas, but now he said he was joking. He was sick of burgers and fries. What? How can you be sick of that! I love it! Anyway, we ordered Chinese, which I barely ate. Boo hoo. We had no food in the house, so we had to eat out. I kinda wanted a nice small salad. Gotta get back on the healthy track. Anyway, we slept for about 12 hours that night. And that concludes the trip report. Hope you didn’t fall asleep while reading it, and I’ll be back next year with a new one!
     
  3. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Wow! Good stuff. Thanks for posting.

    …ticked off about not being able to have your pics taken in your “cute outfit†at Madame T’s…hilarious! :haha:
     
  4. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Great report loved the detail and length, thanks for taking the time to share. Moving cross country especially if the boyfriend has to give up a good job is tough, hope you figure it out though.
     
  5. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Awesome report :) loved all the details, felt like I was there.... you certainly did a lot of stuff :thumbsup:
     
  6. Liondownnow

    Liondownnow Tourist

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    Thanks for the report. Loved your details throughout. Sorry you didn't get Sonic, your boyfriend better watch out or you'll leave him for a Sonic guy...lol.
     
  7. loonytoony

    loonytoony VIP Whale

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    Nice report, Vegas is awesome
     
  8. jaxjoe

    jaxjoe Guest

    Nice report. Thanks for sharing!:beer:
     
  9. Londonlady

    Londonlady Guest

    Really great trip report, the level of detail is amazing ( you managed to do a lot), lots of handy tips and hints for people. Thanks for taking the time to write it!!
     
  10. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    thanks for all the comments! it was a great trip! i took over 800 pictures, but i am not familiar with how to upload them on this site. so maybe i'll figure it out, and you will all get to see a few of the best pics :D.
     
  11. cougarenegade

    cougarenegade Tourist

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    taxes and tip are never included on any comp. surprised it wasnt in their fine print.
     
  12. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    Lobster Corndogs!

    Ooo, going to have to try those. Seablue at the MGM. Got it.

    KA is a great show. Glad you enjoyed it.

    People take their kids to Vegas only have one thing to let them do, play in the lazy river. As for me, kids do not belong in Las Vegas. Too many drunks, too much swearing, and the porn slapping. Not family friendly.

    Enjoyed the report, but you will have a hard time convincing me that slot machines are really, really fun, even if it is Star Trek machine.

    When do you go back to Las Vegas?

    Happy belated birthday!!
     
  13. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Happy Birthday!

    Hate to burst your bubble but there IS a restroom inside of the Paris buffet. When you go in it's at the very very far left in a hallway. However, only 1 stall in the ladies so don't wait till the last minute!!!!

    For other immediate needs, the one between the crepe' stand & JJ"s (which you mentioned).

    At Cafe El St Louis, there is a short hall by the bar area which has a single stall unit also for both men & women. (I actually believe this backs up to the ones in the buffet for running plumbing line purposes - but that should give you a location idea for both.)

    Otherwise head towards main casino & there are the ones down the long hallway just after Cafe Madeleine' & the 2 or 3 shops. So not too far from buffet!!!

    We won't get into the others - too far away, LOL - but can you tell I ALWAYS scope out where the restrooms are???
     
  14. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Oops - Pic directions!

    Upload the photos you want to a share to a free pic site such as Shutterfly. Once you have uploaded, choose the picture you want to display. Right click on the photo & view properties. Highlight the entire URL description (you will have to click & drag as it normally only shows 2 of the 3 lines) & right click & copy. Then click on the icon above that looks like a postcard with a stamp & a mountain on it. Right click & paste in the URL you copied. Hit ok or whatever the confirm option is. Continue to do this with as many pics as you want to share!!! When doing your copying, make sure you are actually clicked on the fuller size pic. Don't do it from the slideshow preview or the stamp size photo in shutterfly or comparable site - or that's all we will see is the mini view.

    Question - where is the entry from the strip to the West Wing hallway at MGM? And do you need a room key to enter from the strip there or can it be used as unadvertised public access? I get very tired of hauling all the way down to the end & backtracking.
     
  15. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    jgates the west wing entry is off the small side road on the strip between the grand canyon shop, instead of going up to front entrance of mgm, go down the street there and the west wing entrance is there. You can also use the exit of the West Wing to get to the center of the casino, but you have to pass a west wing 1st floor rooms, which during the day isn't an issue but at night they do check room keys.
     
  16. grover

    grover Tourist

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    supereee trip report! I love all the details :)
    I *really* want to see KA...but my Mom & I are already booked to see Mystere and she is not really familiar with Cirque so I don't know if she will want to see two Cirque shows..and she might think I only want to see KA because of the martial arts (I do taekwondo)..which I do..but not just because of that..teehee!
     
  17. Ricky Ricardo

    Ricky Ricardo Tourist

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    Great trip report. I wish I could remember that many details from my trips.
     
  18. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    oh man, go figure!

    thanks for the tip about the pics, but i don't like using those sites because i feel like anyone can view them (yeah, i know this is a public board too). i would rather just put them directly in my post. i'll look into it more. thanks again!

    and looks like someone already answered your west wing question. but i have to say they never checked for our room keys, and we entered around midnight or so. it leads directly to a bar; i didn't know there were rooms on the 1st floor as another poster mentioned. hmmm....
     
  19. jmp6477

    jmp6477 Tourist

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    Enjoyed the report. Thanks for sharing. Coming home from Vegas is always tough. Hard to get out of the depression. Glad you had a great time!
     
  20. myravenge

    myravenge Newbie

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    "Well, the bars are still not open!!! Here I am carrying an empty mug, not drinking! Unacceptable!"

    The pain of your situation really leapt off the screen!! Hillarious stuff :D

    Thanks for the tips and your honest evaluation of places. I never had much luck downtown either.
     
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