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Newbie Trip Report! July 10-20th MGM

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by pink_paradise, Jul 29, 2013.

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  1. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    So, I don't really know where to start! I was at first very unsure as to if I should even bother writing this, but said what the heck! I love reading trip reports myself, and learned a great deal from them. They got me super pumped for my trip, so hopefully somebody will get a good chuckle or a tiny tidbit of information that just might make their trip that much better.
    This trip consisted of myself (female, 21) and my Mom (50), and it was our first trip to Las Vegas. It certainly will not be our last. You know how when you've never been somewhere and you hear people who have been there so many times and you start to wonder how they don't get bored of it? Well that was us..until we too became addicted to Vegas and all it has to offer!
    As you can tell, I am super wordy, so if you are not a fan of long, detail-oriented, sometimes rambling TRs..stop now.

    Report to follow!
     
  2. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Looking forward to your report......though it was, it doesn't seem that long ago I was making my first trip to Vegas at the age of 21. I've been hooked ever since.
     
  3. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    Preface

    I will do this in sections, not day by day..as..well the days have a way of cleverly warping into one giant adventure.

    I will start this by admitting that I am a full-blown plan-a-holic. Many on this board have warned to not plan too much, how Vegas is a city where plans should be left at home, how you will be distracted by something and the plan will only ruin the trip. I should have listened. I am probably a little OCD, and will woefully admit that I had created index cards (laminated!) with a plan for each day, almost hour by hour. I could tell you 10 days in advance where we would be at any time on any day, and was proud of this. We learned by the end of day 1 that this would suck the fun out of everything, so we pretty much threw it out the door and went on our merry way.

    Also, we are savers. Super-savers. For us, vacation is a once a year escape from reality, usually a 10-14 day escape outside of Canada where we have no worries. To be able to afford this, we sacrifice a lot. It is just my mom and I, and I am a full time student. I know this is likely foreign for many of you on this board, and that is great too. Just trying to put a perspective on this, so you all can understand why this trip meant so much. We do not eat out at restaurants, go to a movie only on cheap night, dye our hair at home, use coupons, cut back spending funds considerably, pack lunches everyday etc..to be able to go on vacation. For us it is worth it. Just so you know where we are coming from.
    We are newborn minnows in the sea of gambling..our total gambling budget for the entire trip was..drumroll please....$320. For both of us. For 10 days. Yes you read that right. Not missing a zero..I promise! Get your giggles out now..!!

    And without further adieu..the report!
     
  4. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    Getting There and Our 1st Night

    We had planned for my Uncle to pick us up for the airport at 1:00pm for a 4:20pm flight out of Halifax. The airport is about a 20 minute drive away from us, so we figured we would have ample time to check in, go through customs, and grab a bite to eat. We were wrong.
    The first mishap of the vacation started when, trying to be on top of things, we decide to weight our suitcase, as we, the over-packers, always seem to go over on the baggage limit.
    61 lbs. Yep. 11 pounds needed to be taken out of the suitcase, with our ride waiting downstairs. We start frantically removing things, and re-weighing, remove some more and weigh again. Repeat. Finally we make it. 49 lbs. Crisis averted.

    Ride goes smoothly and we are at the airport around 1:40pm. We are super excited to see nobody in line to check in, go straight through customs and wait at the gate. We chill for a bit and decide to get up and grab a bite to eat at the one restaurant available. Just as we leave our seats, an announcement comes on. THE announcement. You know, the one nobody ever wants to hear on your way to Vegas...FLIGHT CANCELLED.
    Those two words are spoken and, I must admit, tears were about to fall. This was supposed to be a 21st birthday extravaganza, and, of course, this is not the time for rational thinking. Of course the first thing I think of is that we'll never make it..yada yada yada!
    We are taken back out into the domestic part of the airport, back to the US check in desk, get a new flight (now through Toronto-ugh!), go get our bags at baggage claim, check in to the new flight, hurry through security for the 2nd time that day, find the gate...and..we've got 15 minutes to boarding! Too close for comfort.
    They start the boarding process..and you guessed it..another problem. Seems our seats are both incorrect and need to be changed or we will not be allowed on the plane. They fix the problem and we get on the plane. We are no longer seated together. Now..I was just happy to get on any flight that day, but I am a nervous flyer and usually get severe ear pain when flying so was a bit unsettled.
    The flight goes off without a hitch as we land in Toronto, go to baggage again, check in again, go through security again and finally board a plane to Vegas. The flight was 4 hours, long, but not unbearably so (except for the Vegas-crazed woman sitting next to us who would not shut-up). We land at 10:40pm, to see all the lights of the Strip, just how you all said it would be- right outside the plane window! This had us both in awe, and we were more excited than ever to be in Vegas!
    We go to baggage, pick up the bags, follow the throng of people out to the taxi line-up, wait maybe 5 minutes, feel the first gush of hot-ass air on our faces and we already know this trip will be one of a lifetime! We politely mention that we would prefer the driver not take a tunnel to MGM, to which he politely responds that there is no way to use the tunnel to get to MGM. Of course, never being there, we didn't know if he was telling the truth or not, but he seemed cool and perfectly sane so we were happy. We arrived at MGM a few short minutes later, ready to take it all in.
    We go to the check in desk, exhausted and excited all at the same time and get the best clerk ever! \We ask for any complimentary upgrades (already had this on our file) and at first she said she couldn't help us for a 10 night stay. We were slightly disappointed, so my Mom, being the ultimate negotiator, asked instead to have the resort fees waived. (I know this is a bone of contention with some of you, but it was a great part of our check in experience so I am including it!). We explained that we would be paying upfront for the entire stay in cash. We also explained that we did not want a hold on our credit card (another long-ass thread on this from earlier explaining why), and she let us pay in full in cash, dropped all resort fees, did not put any hold on the card whatsoever, upgraded us to a high floor strip view room, and gave us two free buffets! I call that a success!
     
  5. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    Thanks Mom! You've already scored. Upgrade to a high floor strip view room AND waived resort fees AND 2 free buffets. Nice job, something tells me you and your mom are going to do just fine with this Vegas thing.!
    Looking forward to more!
     
  6. STPFan

    STPFan Low-Roller

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    Great report so far. I have relatives in Halifax. Nice Place.

    I also get ear pain and at the recommendation of a pharmacist started taking Sudafed about an hour before taking off and another four hours later (an hour before landing) and it has helped me tremendously.
     
  7. sporty8705

    sporty8705 VIP Whale

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    I had a comped room, no resort fees and they still wanted a deposit.. hmmmmmm
     
  8. BurlingtonDoodle

    BurlingtonDoodle Tourist

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    Great report so far! We are staying at MGM in 2 weeks - can't wait to read the rest :)
     
  9. Guy

    Guy Low-Roller

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    That's some organised planning :D
     
  10. kel3420

    kel3420 VIP Whale

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    Great start! Can't wait to read the rest. I love sitting by newbies on the flight to Vegas. I'll talk as much as you want to, or if you'd rather, just stay quiet :peace:
     
  11. LushLife

    LushLife Tourist

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    Looks good I look forward to hearing more. I too am a saver for many things in Vegas, sometimes I spoil myself (friends family) but typically it's saving as much!
     
  12. BlackJackLady

    BlackJackLady Low-Roller

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    You've done a great job so far, so please update us with more soon!
     
  13. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    What a great beginning! Come back!!!!
     
  14. 4Vegas

    4Vegas Low-Roller

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    Great start. Don't leave us hanging.
     
  15. redsteak22

    redsteak22 Newbie

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    keep them coming!
     
  16. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    I'm baaaack!

    Thanks for all the positive comments everyone! I'll keep this going!

    Hotel
    So, after the great success at check-in (which left us with an extra $280 thanks to no resort fees) we headed up to the room. Let me just say this- we were amazed! Usually when we travel, we find the cheapest (well, close to it) room we can find as we will only be sleeping etc, but since this was a special trip and the rates were so good, we decided to splurge (for us) on MGM and were so glad we did! As we headed up to the room on that first night we knew we were in for a treat! As we headed up the casino to the elevator bank, we realized we did indeed have a high room, 23rd floor, room 326. We stroll down the floral-carpeted hallway (which was not as long as we were expecting) and arrive at our room. We slip the key in and wa-la! A beautiful room..except there's this green haze over the window..and being more than slightly exhausted and nice-hotel-room-newbies we didn't realize that it was the automated blinds covering the window and not the wraparound of the building. Once we realized how to work the damn curtains we unveiled a spectacular view where we could see from Mandalay Bay (with a little stretching) to Aria (a little more stretching) with a dead-on view of NYNY across the street. We were very impressed.
    Overall, the room quality was superb, except for the dreaded water pressure in the shower..but I have yet to stay in a hotel that has the same water pressure as I have back home..so we'll live with it! We are in Vegas after all! There was a king sized bed, a pull-out couch, desk and chair, flat screen TV, closet, and lots of drawers for storage. One thing we really loved about the room was the artwork- they were truly beautiful, we wished we could take them home!
    Housekeeping was a bit of a letdown throughout the trip, just didn't really take the time to do the room properly- and we are certainly no snobs. Couch cushions were half on the floor, garbage still left there etc. But again, we let this fly off our backs, because again- we are in Vegas!
    I feel like this is getting crazy long..hope you're all still with me! The main reason why we chose MGM in the first place was the amazing pool. For us, a huge part of vacation in spending hours by the pool, so we wanted a fun experience where people would actually get in the water and yes- get their hair wet. MGM was perfect for this. Great music, great pools, lots of different body types (we are no models- more like curvaceous goddesses if you catch my drift), and a fabulous lazy river with a current strong enough that no tube is required (and at $16, thank god!).
    On a side note, we never once got burned while on our trip. For us, this has never happened- ever. I am about as white as a milk carton with blue eyes and freckles to boot, so the sun is usually not my friend. We had actually bought 8 cans of sunscreen (yes 8!) for a 10 day trip! We only ended up using one..and still no sunburn! Score!
    The casino was another highlight of this hotel. We loved that it didn't feel cramped, had a ton of different slot selections (although we only stuck to a few favourites), the dealers were for the most part friendly, and the general vibe was a good one. I'll talk more about this in the gambling section!
    Although MGM has a multitude of dining options, the only ones we actually ate at where Project Pie in the Underground and the food court for a quick snack!
    That's it for the hotel section, I'll be back with more later!
     
  17. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    Whoops- forgot to mention that the entire hotel stay including tax for ten nights in a Grand King Strip View room only cost us $800 including deposit. The clerk even mentioned how great of a deal we got! We were pretty happy with $80 a night all in for such a lovely place to call home!
     
  18. pink_paradise

    pink_paradise Low-Roller

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    Gambling
    I turned 21 on the 12th, so we only had one full day where we couldn't gamble. This proved to be a good thing, as gambling quickly became our way of ending the night, and luckily, usually with more money in our pockets than we started with.
    As we are from Canada, where the legal gambling age is 19, I have been at our local casino on various occasions through the last two years. However, the casino is mostly filled with older people, the vibe is pretty dead usually, no free drinks, the slots seem tight and there are no good machines with interactive bonus rounds.
    With that said, as you can imagine, stepping foot into a Vegas casino, passing the craps tables as someone is on a heater, with everyone hooting and hollering, the ding of the slot machines, the music, and the overall excitement is nothing at all like home. For us, this was heaven. I had read on here for months before going to Vegas, so knew of a few machines we really wanted to try, namely The Hangover slots and the Deal or No Deal machines (the big ones with the 5 seats and the Community Bonus). These machines saw us daily and they treated us very well. We played these two wherever we saw them, usually cheering like idiots as the bonus came on, hoping for low numbers in the cases on the screen, being pissed off at an automated screen when the biggest case was opened..etc. For any of you have played this game and actually won, you understand just how addicting they can be.
    Each morning we would look forward to "our date with Howie". Howie treated us great and so we kept coming back. We played a few other machines here and there, but none of them had the same pizzazz that our two favourites did so we stuck to those.
    On the last day of the trip, about an hour before we had to leave for the airport, we sat down to say our goodbyes to Howie and what do you know...I win the Howie Jackpot for $332! Now..if you remember before when I said our ENTIRE gambling budget for the trip was $320, this jackpot was crazy exciting, and the people around us probably thought we had won a car or some other elusive prize, but oh well! We were excited and I wanted to whole freaking casino to hear about it! I don't think I have ever guarded a single slip of paper so much as I did taking that voucher to the cashier, all proud, all the while knowing that a lot of the people around me would laugh at such excitement over such a small win. That win left us with $520 left in our gambling envelope, so $200 up on the trip, which was a major win for us.
    Also, a big part of this trip (I hoped) would be me finally getting up the balls to sit down at a real live blackjack table in Vegas- on my 21st birthday. I had said for months, possibly even years, that on my 21st the only place to be for me to have the perfect birthday was to be at the blackjack table in Las Vegas. The birthday (which will be mentioned quite a bit more) was a super day, but it was getting late, and my plan of going to the tables super early in the morning to avoid cranky people yelling at me over making the wrong plays (which I had heard horror stories of) had fallen through. So, knowing quite a bit thanks to this board, I knew one of the only places I was going to find some version of $5 blackjack on the strip on a Friday night was Casino Royale, so that's where we went. Walking in, I was instantly intimidated but the crowded tables, the super drunk guys, the non-smiling dealers, the weird versions of games I had never heard of etc. I was getting super down on myself that this one key point of making my birthday the best it could be was not going to happen and that I knew I would regret it in the morning (although I guess there could be worse things to regret..). My mom, being the ultimate fan, was not going to let me back down without a fight. She spotted a table of Free Bet Blackjack for 5 bucks a hand, where two spots had just opened up. She, who had never been within 10 feet of a table before, walks up to the pit boss and asks point blank if I can play and explains the whole she-doesn't-have-the-guts-but-I-don't-want-to-hear-about-it-in-the-morning situation and the lovely lady suggest I sit down and give it a go. So I do.
    I hear her tell the dealer (a cranky woman who looked like this was her most favourite place to be) that I was new and to be patient. The pit boss assured me the woman would be patient. Just as I was sitting down, this older guy sits down next to me. The pit boss explains that he knows this Free Bet game like the back of his hand and will walk me through the steps. Major Score! He is super nice, not at all cranky, and explains what I should do each hand and why. I start winning and he starts losing so he asks if I mind if he bets on top of my hand and then we can split the winnings since they won't let him play two hands. I say sure, and then I keep winning and we split the profits. The dealer is being a bit of a pain in the ass, hurrying my play, tapping on the table, getting me flustered, even though all the other guys at the table are super cool with me taking my time.
    I stay at the table for 1.5 hours, leave with 50 bucks from the 20 I had put on the table, happy as a peacock.
    I played at the tables twice more during the trip, once at a regular $5 BJ table, and again the next Friday at a regular $10 table. Both dealers were super friendly and patient, and both times I sat down I had the table to myself. Shortly people joined the table. On the $5 table a guy sat down who seemed even more confused than I was the previous night which was nice, and he explained that the night before he was playing $15 a hand and won big and then lost bigger. He said he learned his lesson and would be sticking to lower limits.
    The $10 table I was super nervous about. I know that it just about as low stakes as you can get, but for a newbie like me with such a small gambling budget, I was worried. Little did I know a guy with his tie half on and half off would consider me a good luck charm, fist bumping me on every other hand would sit down, most likely still drunk from the night before. I left that table with $90 from the $40 I put down. Again, happy as a peacock! I know, I'm easy to please! Just let me win : )
     
  19. dawnnut1

    dawnnut1 Tourist

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    Love your report. Can't wait to hear more about your birthday!
     
    VEGAS BABY!
  20. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Low-Roller

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    pink_paradise-

    Great job getting the resort fees waived. Congrats.
     
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