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Popping the Vegas cherry - 2/21-2/25

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by habs0nut, Feb 22, 2011.

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  1. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Sitting in Sandwhich of Earl enjoying my first morning coffee after arriving yesterday afternoon. Woke up at 5:30 which I never do on a vacation but I'm pretty excited!

    Arrived yesterday around 2pm and checking into PHo was a breeze. $20 trick worked perfectly. Went from a booked Hollywood Hip Room facing the back to a Resort room facing the Bellagio and Cosmo. Didn't even have to ask, as soon as she saw the $20 she said she'll see what she can do and she seemed really happy to do it.

    First thing I did after checking out the room as doing a lap of Miracle Mile and then outside onto the Strip and over to watch the fountains. Didn't do too much last night. Walked down to Mandaly Bay and ate at Burger Bar. Had the Kobe burger and it was great and so was the pint of Blue Moon White Ale I had with it. Walked back up that side of the strip until we got to Monte Carlo and then just headed back to the room and to bed. Can believe I was asleep at 11pm in Vegas but I had been up for 24 hours at that point and was running on 2 hours sleep.

    Plan today is to head up to the Strat and work our way down and hit the Atomic Testing museum. Hope to check out a show tonight but not sure what yet.
     
  2. joyglen

    joyglen MIA

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    You say, "Didn't do much"???

    Where is the gambling???? Gamble, bring it on!

    Last time I was there, as soon as I got to Planet Ho, before checking in, I was down playing Baccarat waiting on VegasBJ to wake up across the street. Made some bucks at the table and then scooted across the street to eat at Jasmine's.

    LOL. Enjoy.
     
  3. bcb1961

    bcb1961 Tourist

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    Thanks for the report on the $20 trick! I am checking into PHo on Thursday and was debating whether to try it or not. See ya there :thumbsup:
     
  4. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Have fun. The first time is always amazing. And the 2nd, and the 3rd, and the 4th...:cheers:
     
  5. sammowhammo

    sammowhammo VIP Whale

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    Good way to ease into Vegas - sounds like you are taking it all in.

    I really like your idea of walking around & seeing everything - Hey on your way to the Atomic Testing Museum you will go by (or go near) Ellis Island -it's such an often discussed place on the boards & worth seeing for yourself.
     
  6. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Sorry I haven't been updating, been busy and tired! Plus I've only got my iPhone so I'll do up a full report when I get home. I can tell you I'm having a blast and I am already thinking of when my next trip is going be. One thing I do want to say I you guys all lied about how big this place is, it's bigger!! Oh man my feet hurt. Thanks for all the advice and I'll post a full report when I get back home.
     
  7. Liondownnow

    Liondownnow Tourist

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    It really puts in to perspective how much effort is put into writing a live trip report. My hat is off to Beejay, gaggles, and the rest of you who somehow make it happen. I don't think I could ever pull off writing a live report. Clearly habs0nut is learning by fire.
     
  8. cpochick

    cpochick Low-Roller

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    Can't wait to read about it after you get home!
     
  9. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Just to give a little bit of background on me. Never been to Vegas before but have always been fascinated by it. Now I'm not a gambler and have always been asked, why am I interested in going to Vegas. Honestly I just wanted to see it and experience it. It's always come across as being larger than life and there's more to do than just gamble.

    Heading down on Monday was pretty smooth but long. I ended leaving Toronto at 3:00am to make it to Buffalo to catch my 5:45am flight and this was in the middle of a snow storm. Made it there in one piece and security wasn't bad however I did get pulled aside just as I was about to step through the metal detector to go through the body scanner. Don't see that the big deal is honestly. We had to deice but were on our way soon after that. After connecting at JFK, 5.5 hours after leaving there, we were over Lake Mead and I could just make out the Strip. We arrived late due to the wind and were on the ground at 1:30pm. Got in the cab and told the cabbie Planet Hollywood and asked if we could take Paradise and he started to laugh. He asked me if someone had tunneled me in the past. I explained it was my first trip and I had been warned. He thought that was funny.

    Got to the hotel and there was a very short line up for check-in. Did the $20 trick and the lady smiled as soon as she saw it and said she'll see what she can do, I didn't even have to ask. Like I said I ended up with a Resort Room facing the pool and Cosmo / Bellagio on the 15th floor. I think I could have gotten more if I didn't need the double beds. (I was traveling with someone but this turned out to be more of a solo trip as we had very different ideas of what to do once we got there. I wanted to play tourist, he wanted to reenact the Hangover. So this may get a little boring as there's no wild or crazy stories!)

    Got up to the room and got settled in. Then I went for a walk to get a feel for the place. Signed up for my Total Rewards card and blew through my $5 of free slot play. Then I headed outside to catch the Fountains. Ended up walking down to Mandalay Bay taking the tram from Excalibur. Walked around MB, hoping to see the Shark Reef but they had already sold the last tickets for the day. Ate dinner at Burger Bar which like I said was awesome. Made my way through the Luxor and Excalibur checking each place out, taking pictures and getting my $1 chip from each place. Got to NYNY and did the same thing and also rode the Roller Coaster which was better then I was expecting it to be. It was about 10:00 and I was starting to feel it after a long day of travel and not much sleep so headed back to the room and to bed.
     
  10. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Woke up Tuesday at 5:30am, got ready and headed downstairs and grabbed a coffee at Earl of Sandwich. Started to walk around the casino floor and ended up at a Craps table and decided to stand and watch. After standing there for a few minutes, one of the dealers asked me if I was interested in playing. I explained I had never played before and just wanted to watch. He told me to come right over and he'll explain everything to me as it was happening and whenever I was ready I could start playing. The whole crew at the table was very friendly and helpful. I was afraid the other players might get annoyed but everyone was cool. So after about 10 minutes I bought in. I was only betting the pass line. Started to win a little and then it came to be my turn to shoot. A few tips on how to do it and I was shooting. Didn't last too long as I rolled a 7 after establishing the point. After a bit, one the dealers suggested I start betting behind the line and explained why and the guy next to me suggested I do so. As soon as I did so, the shooter hit the point and everyone starting cheering as I won. I stayed for a little longer and ended up walking away winning $50 and leaving a tip for the crew. Not a bad start to playing craps I guess. The only reason I left was I feared I might have been there all day and I wanted to get out while I was up a little, like I said, not much of a gambler.

    Hit the Strip and caught the Deuce and headed for the Stratosphere . Bought the tower+rides ticket and headed upstairs. Got to the lady taking the tickets and had the following conversation.

    "Where y'all from?",
    "Toronto",
    "Oh I see",
    "Yep, our tower is just a little bit bigger" in a joking tone and with a smile.
    "What tower is that?"
    "Umm, the CN Tower"
    "I never heard of no CNN Tower"
    "No, the CN Tower"
    "Well that doesn't count, it's in Canada. We don't count things that are in Canada"
    "Okay....."
    "This here is the tallest tower west of the Mississippi"
    "okay"
    "I never heard of no CNN Tower"

    At this point I was trying to get through the metal detector and away from this lady who I obviously offended by making a little joke. Reached the top and spent some time taking in the view. I rode the Big Shot and Insanity which I had second thoughts once I saw but figured what the hell. I did however chicken out and didn't ride X-Scream. After getting my $1 chip and leaving the Stratosphere, headed to Shara and got my $1 chip and free drink for signing up for their card. Was a little disappointed that Speed wasn't open. They don't run it on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

    Basically from there walked down the Strip stopping at each casino to explore and get a $1 chip. Rode the Canyon Blaster when I was at Circus Circus. I must say the chip I got from there is a little creepy as I've got a fear of clowns (damn you Stephen King!). Signed up for the card at the Riviera and ended up getting a whole $1 of free slot play, should have taken the show tickets. Next up was Encore / Wynn. This place is really nice inside especially after the last few places I had been to. Crossed the Strip and headed for T.I.. Got the card there and ended up winning $30 off the free play! Took the tram to The Mirage. Checked out Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden. Not sure if it's worth the price considering how small it is but it was cool to see the dolphins and the big cats they have were pretty active compared to what you see at a zoo. At this point my feet were starting to hurt. Next up was The Forum Shops and Caesars. This place is nicer than I thought it was going to be for some strange reason. I still can't get over how big it is.

    After that I headed back to my room. As I was crossing the bridge over the Strip, I thought to myself I must be tired as I was hearing bagpipes. Sure enough, in front of Bally's was a piper busking. I stood and watched for a bit and then gave him some money. For some strange reason, seeing a piper struck me as odd among the Elvis impersonators, the gold cowboy, the Stormtroppers, the Johnny Depps, the kids handing out their rap CDs, the tranny showgirl, the two morons in dirt bikes asking all the ladies if they wanted a picture.....

    After I got back to the room and rested for a bit, headed downstairs, grabbed a sandwich and beer from Earl's and watched the Habs / Canucks game in the sports book.

    Once the game was over, took the SDX downtown to checkout Freemont street. The Freemont Street experience is pretty cool. Was also pretty cool checking out all the old casinos. One thing I did notice was the different vibe and not sure if it's me but it's a completely different crowd than what you see on the Strip. I also for the first time in my adult life felt a little uneasy. I wanted to checkout the El Cortez but stopped when I realized there wasn't anyone around (everyone seemed to be under the canopy) and the lighting didn't seem all that great. As I was alone, I said forget it and headed back. Call me paranoid but I wasn't going to take any chances. Finished checking out the rest of the place. Got my picture taken with the million dollars at Binions. Was able to get a $1 chip from everywhere except the Golden Gate were I was informed they don't sell their chips and I would have to buy into a table game to which I said forget that. After watching the scantly clad dancing DJ that was on stage outside the GG and people watching for a bit, I grabbed the SDX and headed back and to bed.
     
  11. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    How many chips so far?
     
  12. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Woke up early again on Wednesday. Got ready and decided to wear shorts today. As soon as I got outside, I passed a woman who was wearing a parka and gloves! Now it was cool in Vegas but I don't think it was that cold!

    Started at Paris and headed north. At Paris I played the $20 someone asked to do for them and ended up walking away with nothing. Made my way all the way up the The Palazzo again stopping at each place, exploring, and getting a $1 chip. I really liked the area they have at the back of the Flamingo. Can someone explain to me why people leave pennies at the Bugsy Siegel memorial?

    Once I got through The Palazzo, I jumped into a cab and headed over to the Atomic Testing Museum. You can't beat this place for $12. I was a little disappointed you can't take pictures. Very interesting place and I enjoyed learning about the history of the area. I had no idea they were able to see the atmospheric tests from Vegas and they it in fact boosted tourism to the area. The theatre where you experience a test was really well done. It was also very cool to be able to see and touch a piece of steel that was recovered from Ground Zero. The cabbie that dropped me off gave me his number to call when I was ready to leave which I did. While I was waiting for him outside, another cab pulled up to drop someone off and then that driver told me to get in. I explained I was waiting for someone and he said that it's him and began arguing with me as I wouldn't get in his cab. I kept telling him someone else was coming to pick me up. Turns out someone had called for cab and eventually came out for him.

    My guy showed up and I headed over to Aria. Checked out Aria and must say this place is very nice. I was starting to get hungry so I headed over to the Monte Carlo and ate at The Pub. I was very disappointed they no longer server Moosehead. Bartender explained to me they are in the process of changing their selection and they also no longer have the Whale Boot either! Luckily they have about a million other beers to choose from and I had a couple of pints and the Pub Burger which was very tasty. Also bought one of their pint glasses to use at home. Went over to the Cosmo after that. This is place also very nice. Spent some time walking around and then headed back to PHo as I was meeting up with my friend.

    We headed to The Gun Store. Asked the cabbie about getting back and he said don't worry, this place is very popular and there's always cabs waiting. Got there and sure enough the place was packed. I ended up taking the Coalition package. A little pricey at $130 but when am I ever going to be able to shoot these types of guns let alone any kid of gun being Canadian? The wait to get into the range was about 30 minutes and gave us some time to check out the bullets they gave us and talk to the people in line. I joked that they must have double the Bin Laden targets compared to the others as everyone was picking him. Finally came time for us to shoot. Man what a rush. The staff there was pretty cool. The guy we had was a little uptight at first but after a few minutes loosened up. Even took pictures of us posing with the guns. Overall was a great experience. After shooting went up into the store to check out the guns for sale. I couldn't believe that you could by semi and full automatic weapons. I asked the guy behind the counter what I would need to by a M4 and he said a Neveda State drivers lisecne and to pass the background check. I think my jaw hit the counter! Explained to him that I was from Canada and was a little shocked. He was very cool with answering all my questions and told me some stories. Overall I had a great time there.

    Headed back to the room to wash up and change. We then headed over to the Rio as we were going to see Penn & Teller. We decided to eat at the Voodoo Steakhouse. I picked up the tickets first and I'm glad I did as we saved 25% off our dinner bill because we were going to the show. Got to say, it was one of the best steaks I've ever had. Amazing service as well and a pretty good view from up there. We still had about 45 minutes after dinner before going into the show so I bought into one of the craps tables to give it another shot. Ended up walking away with $40 more in my pocket. The Penn & Teller show was great. Good combination of humour and illusions although Penn does get a little too political I found. We decided to head back to PHo after the show and I ended up heading to bed.
     
  13. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    We had booked a Hoover Dam tour for Thursday. Picked one of the express 4.5 hour ones and was able to get it for $38 which seemed like a really good deal. The motor-coach picked us up at 8:50 downstairs. After making all the other pick ups, we started to head south stopping at the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign which was a bonus! After taking pictures, we were off to Boulder City. We stopped at the Boulder airport to check in and change buses. At this point they mentioned we could do this brand new option that wasn't even listed anywhere of a 20 minute helicopter tour of the area and because it wasn't "official" yet, we could do it for $99 instead of $179 which is going to be it's regular price. I have a feeling this was all a come on but decided to do it. Was going to do one of the Strip tours at night for $60 so this didn't seem to bad.

    Our bus left for the dam first taking us through a tour of Boulder City and the Lake Mead overlook. Our driver was hilarious. He wanted to treat us to a surprise and we were going to stop at the new bridge to get out and take pictures but it was packed and no room from him to pull over. He then asked if we wanted to go to Arizona with him. He drove us over the dam and parked on the Arizona side so we could take some pictures. Back to the Nevada side and off to the tour. I must say I was a little disappointed. It didn't help that we were rushed a little. I'm assuming the higher end tour is a little better. I was a little surprised that only 4% of the power from the dam goes to Vegas. We were back on the bus and heading back to do our helicopter tour. First time in a helicopter and I must say it was very cool. We had a young guy for a pilot and he made sure we had a good time. Back on a bus and on our way back to Vegas.

    Once back we headed to Tix4Tonite and got tickets to see Marc Savard, the hypnotist that's at PHo. Headed over to The Sporting House at NYNY to watch the Habs / Leafs. Must say I do like the idea of games starting at 4:30pm. With the Leafs winning, it put a little damper on the evening. Headed back to the hotel and grabbed some more beer from the ABC store and started drinking and getting ready for the show. Headed down to the V Theatre downstairs to pick up the tickets and to kill time headed over to Blondies to grab a drink. Finally found a place that serves Canadian beer even though it's only Kokanee. Went back across to get into the show. We somehow ended up with VIP tickets and ended up sitting in the front row. I'm not a big fan of this type of show as I'm not a huge believer but I'll admit to enjoying it and having a good time. Being drunk probably helped a bit too. The rest of the night is a little bit a blur. I do remember starting to not feel very good and I somehow ended up back in the room. I headed to bed.
     
  14. TexBC

    TexBC Tourist

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    Good call... I'm of the opinion you should always trust your gut instinct in these circumstances!

    Great TR, thanks for sharing.
    :D
    Tex
     
  15. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Woke up Friday morning not feeling too good. Popped some Advil and hoped into the shower. Started packing and getting ready to check out. Did the express check out through the TV and headed downstairs. Man was the lobby packed at 11am! Dropped the bags at the bell desk and headed back upstairs to grab something to eat. Went over to the Bellagio to check that place out as I still hadn't stepped foot in it. After exiting, parted ways with my friend who was flying out early. I wasn't flying out till 11:50pm and I was going to see KA at 7pm. I made my way down to the Tropicana as I wanted to check out the Mob Experience. Followed the signs all the way to the other side of the place only to find out it isn't open yet! I could have sworn I read it opened on the 17th. I was told they are expecting it to be opened possibly next Tuesday or Wednesday (March 1st or 2nd). I thought to myself it would have been nice if they at least had signs up saying it wasn't open yet.

    I then headed over to Mandalay Bay to check out the Shark Reef. It's kind of cool but I think $17 is a little much to be charging. I can see where that $54 combo package might be worth it. Made my way over to the Showcase Mall to check out the Coke store and M&M world.

    Finally headed over to the MGM Grand. This place is huge. Checked out the Lion Habitat. It's cool it's on the casino floor but I was expecting something a little bit bigger. Finally found the KA theatre to pick up my ticket. Went to grab a bite to eat and then walked around to kill some time. I took part in the Television City preview thing. Ended up watching a pilot for a pretty lame sitcom.

    Finally it was time to go watch KA. I'm a pretty big Cirque fan and said to myself the first time I saw footage of KA that I ever got to Vegas I was going to see this show. I decided to only do one Cirque show this trip and this was it. I was not disappointed as I feared I might have been as I had hyped it up to myself. What an amazing show!

    After KA was done, I made my way back out on the Strip and strolled along until I was standing in front of the Bellagio Fountains. I stood there for about 30 minutes and caught two shows. I figured this was a great way to end my trip.

    Headed back over to PHo to grab my luggage and grab a cab to McCarran. Got to the airport around 10:30 to find out my flight had been delayed to 2:55am!!!!!!!!!! There was strong winds and it was causing everything to be delayed. I made my way through security over to my gate. The only thing that was open besides Hudson News was Wolfgang Puck so I grabbed a pizza. JetBlue staff were handing out water and keeping us updated as to the status of our plane that was on it's from Logan. I felt like suggesting they should give us slot credits instead but didn't. Tried to sleep a little but that wasn't going so well. Couldn't even grab a coffee or use my laptop as there were very few places to plug it in (battery was dead) and those spots had already been gobbled up. We were finally in the air at 3:50am, a full 4 hours after we were suppose to be. They had changed my connecting flight to Buffalo to 11am. Didn't take long to fall asleep on the plane and I was in and out of it the whole way to JFK. We ended up landing at JFK just after 11am so I then had to get changed to the 1:45pm flight out to Buffalo. Finally got home around 5:30pm and it was snowing!!
     
  16. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    All in all I had a great time. Sure I don't have any wild and crazy stories but that wasn't the point of this trip. I just wanted to see as much as I possibly could and play tourist. I learned a lot about the place on this trip and I think it's defiantly going to make future trips that much better. And yes, there are going to be future trips! I also came home with some cash left in my wallet and some big ass blisters but it was worth it! One thing I was a little surprised that I didn't see any cops Monday - Thursday mind you that changed Friday night. I just figured there would have been some sort of police presence on the Strip but I guess when it's not too busy, they're not really needed. Oh and one last thing, those guys handing out the escort cards and magazines are a huge pain in the ass!
     
  17. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the TR. You really managed to go to see a lot in the few days you were in Vegas.:peace:

    Just curious: why would you opt to fly a connecting flight out of Buffalo rather than a direct flight from TO? Was there that much of a price difference?
     
  18. habs0nut

    habs0nut VIP Whale

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    Yeah I saved over $300. It's about a 90 minute drive from my door to the airport in Buffalo. I could have flown for about the same price out of Toronto but it would have meant leaving Monday afternoon and coming back first thing Friday morning. Still wouldn't have been direct and would have had to pay for checked baggage. I like the idea of early morning on Monday and the red eye out on Friday to maximize my time there. There were flights out of Toronto that had similar times but like I said it would have cost me well over $300 more to do so. I believe the only airline that flies direct to Vegas out of Buffalo is Southwest but even they were a lot more expensive than JetBlue.
     
  19. phan

    phan Low-Roller

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    Great trip report! You covered a lot of ground, well done!
     
  20. chefantwon

    chefantwon Tourist

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    Nice TR. The first trip, people tend to do the tourist thingy. So your in alot of company. If possible for your next trip, get away from checked bagage, it helps loads.
     
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