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The good, the bad, and the ugly

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Sleepless, Aug 27, 2009.

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  1. Sleepless

    Sleepless Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle

    My Trip Report

    My trip began on 8/17 and ended on 8/21. We arrived around noon and left for the airport at around 4:00 pm. This trip was a Vegas-first for me. I brought the whole family, which included my wife and two teenage daughters. It was our low budget vacation (in comparison to Hawaii). My daughters loved it! We didn’t do much gambling but we managed to see a large percentage of the strip and downtown area. We spent two nights at a non gaming hotel (Hilton Vacation Club) near the Sahara and two nights at the MGM. I was a little disappointed in some things and really liked some other things. Overall, the trip was great. Here’s my personal breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly (IMO).

    :nono:Warning:
    To anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to jay walk across the strip, please think again. There are waaay too many distractions for drivers on the strip. I’d highly recommend avoiding the, ‘six lane dash of death’. This is probably a separate thread topic too.

    The GOOD:-Fab4 at Planet Hollywood was an excellent show for $17 (note: this is NOT the Cirque de Solei show). I’ll go back and see it again and again.
    -Le Reve at the Wynn was also a really good show for $75. We sat in the “splash zone†but never got wet (and neither did anyone else that I could see). We probably should have dressed up a little but we did the long walk in the heat so that wouldn’t have worked out too well.
    -Sahara casino surprised me by being modern and clean, which is different from what I saw a few years ago. They probably could drop the roller coaster (and any other non essential stuff) since it seemed deserted.
    -The room at the MGM was excellent. We especially liked the white bedspread (it’s easier to tell if it’s clean).
    -The walk to the MGM pools didn’t seem as bad as I had heard. I also liked the pools but had higher expectations based on feedback I had heard.
    -Breakfast at the MGM café was great. The prices seemed really high but the quality and quantity of food was great. The wait staff was also very friendly. Side note, the menu outside of the restaurant was really cool (similar to iPOD navigation – for those who are iPOD savvy)
    -Café at the TI was really good and the staff was very friendly too. Prices seemed high until we got our food and noticed the quantity and quality of it.
    -Margaritaville turned out to be a good family dinner. My wife loved the cheeseburger so we went back again for lunch. Our teenage daughters really liked the atmosphere and food (plus the shopping).
    -Paradise buffet downtown was really good for the price ($15?). It was seafood night, which is something I love.
    -Live band downtown imitating ‘The Who’ was really good. My wife and daughters got bored but I could have stayed there and listened to the whole set.
    -My teenage daughters loved all of the different sites on the strip and downtown.
    -Hard Rock Café now has a shop on the strip so we didn’t have to travel to their hotel for souvenirs.

    :ÞThe BAD:-I was disappointed in the strip as a whole:
    o The lights of the strip aren’t what they used to be. This could be the topic of another thread but I was anticipating showing my daughters what the lights were like when it got dark. When I first visited the strip in the mid 70s, it was AMAZING to me (all of the lights). Instead of the old neon signs and millions of lights, I realized that the strip has been transformed into a series of video reader boards (not nearly as colorful as the old lights). The new reader boards might be more ‘green’ than the neon but I would think that they could find alternatives that have more color and are still considered ‘green’.
    o The strip continues to change, as expected, but we were disappointed at how LV tends to discard perfectly good buildings. A few short years ago, we watched the Aladdin get remodeled and thought it looked great when it was finished. Now, it’s Planet Hollywood and the outside seems to look just like a building you’d find in any other city. This has the effect (on me) of limiting any nostalgic feelings about visiting Las Vegas. You can pretty much guarantee that just about everything on the strip is open for demolition at any time so nostalgic LV could be a losing battle.
    oConstruction on the strip has hit an all time high (from my experience). We tried walking to places and had to continually walk through construction zones that were dirt walkways enclosed by plywood. These narrow tunnels get even narrower when the porn-people take up space trying to hand out their cards (which eventually end up on the ground – EVERYWHERE). Another downside to these walkways is people walking slow when you’re in a hurry. It’s difficult to get around them so you end up following them for blocks.
    o The sidewalks on the strip tend to wind around these different venues (street bars, shops, t-shirt shops, and other small places) which make your walk to the next casino even longer. It would have been nicer if the sidewalk also allowed you to go past these places so you don’t have to constantly walk through them (and the crowds they draw).
    oI got dinged twice for $7 beers on the strip. After that, I started asking for the price. I admit to being cheap but $7 seems excessive, even for Vegas. Downtown charged $2 for the same beer.

    -Players Club at the MGM always had a long, slooooow moving line and there’s only one booth (with 2 or 3 attendants). I tried the booth when it opened, in the middle of the day, and at closing (two different days) and the line was always long and moved slow. The MGM pools were more crowded than expected (especially for mid week in a down economy).

    -Standing in line at the MGM to check out of the hotel (and confirm some charges). Not sure of how or why but I always seemed to be second in line and the first person would take forever to complete their transaction. After 15 minutes or so, I’d try another line and have the same experience.

    -Transportation pretty much sucked. Cabs were a little pricey, the Deuce was always crowded and sometimes won’t pick you up if they’re overly crowded (so you get to wait another 5 – 15 minutes in 109 degrees), and the cost for four people on the monorail was too much. On top of that, I didn’t want to mess with traffic/parking so we didn’t rent a car. It seemed like any way we looked at it, there wasn’t a good option for transportation (for the four of us). As a result, we actually walked from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn on our final night. It took about 50 minutes at a VERY fast pace (we were running late for Le Reve). In hind site, it would be nice if all of the MGM-Mirage clan of hotels provided a shuttle service between their hotels.

    -The Treasure Island Pirate Battle seems to have taken a serious hit. I wasn’t aware that it changed but apparently the show needed to be sexed up. The pirate ship is now a crew of women and it’s painted all white. The other ship, of course, is older looking and the crew is all male. Throw in a couple of hip songs and a lot of innuendo and that’s the new formula for success (according to TI). My teenage daughters, wife, and I all agreed it was a waste of our time. Others may have liked it since it was definitely crowded but I won’t bother with it again.

    -Did I mention the garbage and porn all over the ground? I’ve seen it many times before but with the construction, it seems to have gotten worse. Why don’t they make the owners of the flyers clean up these things???

    :vomit:The UGLY (things I should have missed):
    -TI pirate show
    -Walking the strip
    -Riding the Deuce (actually riding is fine, it’s the waiting)
    -Eating breakfast at the Rain Forest Café
    -$7 beers on the strip
    -People shoving porn cards in your path CONSTANTLY

    Missed (but wanted to see):-NYNY roller coaster
    -NYNY site seeing and shopping in their simulated NY streets (this was on my wife’s and daughter’s list of things to do – not really mine)
    -Eat lunch/dinner at the Hard Rock Café
    -Eat dinner at my favorite buffet (Spice Market Buffet)
    -Walking through the Bellagio and seeing the fountains up close
    -Mystere (my favorite Cirque show)

    Plan for next time:-Next time, I plan to stay downtown (probably at the GN) and avoid the issues with walking the strip, porn vendors, construction, and $7 beers. I can always visit the strip, if I really want.
     
  2. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.....I thought you were talking about me! lol

    I think that the more times you go to LV, the better downtown looks! Short walks, lots of places to eat., shows, bands etc. cheap prices and easy access to LV Convention Center (See Dewey's advice) and the Strip (if you care to visit)!

    Jimbo338
     
  3. Sleepless

    Sleepless Tourist

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    Good point

    I think you're right about the more times you visit. It just seems more convenient to be downtown.
     
  4. g-didi

    g-didi Low-Roller

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    Thanks for your report. Very interesting. I have to agree with the sexing up of shows - we saw Masquerade in the Sky at the Rio and it is all sex... not that I am a prude, but I was distracted by the two making out in the balloon in front of me and the guy's hand inside her top while little kids (like 4-8) were all around us. Kinda weird. I agree with downtown - a little more foot and time friendly
     
  5. mardaho

    mardaho Low-Roller

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    I don't get the porn slappers
    If I just ignored the 6 guys ahead of you
    slapping porn at me, what makes you think
    I would want to grab your T T C (t***y trading card):nono:
     
  6. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I miss the "neon days" of the strip as well and agree with you that it is a shame some perfectly good buildings are gone and replaced by "nothing".....Stardust coming to mind and the halted construction. I really liked the Aladdn after the remodel as well. I'm happy that the Trop isn't being torn down as is the trend but will be renovated. I plan to stay there when the remodel is done.....a show of support in favour of that trend. I love Vegas now, but miss the 80's Vegas I first fell in love with. The customer service then was second to none anywhere!:eek:
     
  7. Sleepless

    Sleepless Tourist

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    Service was good but I miss the old Vegas

    Actually the service was pretty good. I can't really complain about much. Like you, I do miss the old vegas though (i.e. cheap meals and rooms instead of big theme hotels and ultra-glamorous shows). When I was in college (in L.A.), we would drive over and stay up all night. We'd grab a cheap buffet, hit the Shark Club for some dancing/drinking, and then move onto the casino and then back home again. No hotel, just a car if you got tired (which worked fine until the sun came up and made it unbearable).
     
  8. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    like many, i miss the old vegas, but I do like the new vegas as well. chicken fried steak at the Pink Pony at 4am was hard to beat.

    the thing I really miss is the service attitude and consistency. Now its far spottier and based more on your play or "how much your worth to them" than a genuine appreciation for giving them your business.
     
  9. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    excellent TR :)

    thanks for sharing
     
  10. littlemoney

    littlemoney Tourist

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    Neon Museum??? Tropicana


    I stayed at the Tropicana 2 years ago......had a great time......the main reason I picked it was the history and nostalgicness of it you know.......good room, the pool (though I didn't go to it) was very nice looking...you know tropical.....and the casino was kicking.....lots and lots of slots...great reward prices for your points.....and players club......like shirts and cups and carrying bags.....but what I liked about there souvenirs like most other places I'm sure, they had Tropicana on them......and there polo style shirts were real nice looking...I made off with a backback that I still have and use..it was black and had the Tropicana stiched in gold on it.......last year though....
    I stayed at the Excalibur and walked over to the Tropicana thinking it was going to look the same.....but with the renovations going on......and i mean there was a big chunk of the slots area not even opened and closed off with big walls of sheets of clear through plastic........pretty much the only thing going on were the tables really tightly cluttered near the entrance and slots in other locations........for some reason, it just didn't seem the same just walking in there.............but if you don't know already......here's a tip for you.......when you stay there next year for there reopening....we plan to do the same.....can't wait for that trip.....but don't know how much of a HOOTERS fan you are...we love the wings there....plus we are staying there the last part of our trip this visit out........but easier than walking through the front and take that right and walk the sidewalk to it......just take the back I believe tower entrance to the back parking lot......and walk through the parking lot and your there...........its like right there........also the view we got, cause i'm sure when they reopen again....(reopen I mean with the new makeover).....you'll get a choice of strip views.....and like a view we had.....where you are looking right at the airport landing strips when you look out your windows...but I remember the rooms were really nice...(oh yeah another thing I remember) they had those ceiling mirrors over the bed.....:ssst: lol.......ok, started of with tropicana topic.....now Neon Museum....you ever been there?? sounds like your a bit like me......fell in love with vegas from how it use to be.......me too.......this will be my 5th time...4th with my wife.....we've been 3 times by ourselves......well last year, we took our niece (her first visit).....and one year we took our then teens..now 19 and 21........on our way to California.........my first was also an '80's visit.........but seems you like the older hotels and nostalgic and history.....
    so do you know about the neon museum or heard of it?? we are going and have our reservation and tickets paid for already when we get there next month...I can't wait to see the old signs of past laying in the graveyard...and taking pics of them...........didn't even know the place existed, till I saw on a like a travel channel.....and then looked it up on my laptop......I thought the tickets for $15 a piece were a little bit more than I thought....I was thinking for a walking tour to look at signs of old....no more than $10.....but when I thought about it, to get a piece of Vegas history with pics...........and to hear about them.......that is worth it..........ok, once again, sorry so long......let me know what you think on both topics.........
     
  11. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    And, something I've been taking for granted, no construction.

    Not even on the Lady Luck.
     
  12. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Nice TR. Thanks for posting.

    later, GVJ
     
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