Warning, this trip report is painfully long. I have enjoyed everyones reports for a long time, and figured to chime in with my own. If it gets to be too much, feel free to hit that little box that has the (X) in it on the top right corner. I won't be upset! Thanks Brian Trip Report Thursday, July 10th - Sunday, July 13th Background: I set up the trip in advance; this was to be a celebration for my wife's 30th birthday. She was to turn 30 on Thursday and I am 33. In the last 2 years, I have been out to Vegas 4 times either with my company (work related) or with some of our other friends, etc... We have 2 boys, ages 6 and 1 1/2, so it has not been the easiest thing to 'get out of town'. I started planning the trip about 4 months ago (with allot of research from the various newsgroup/message board information). We were to fly ATA, as I fly them frequently for work related travel, and they had a promotion where if you fly 3 roundtrips, you can get a companion fare for free. So the airfare was under $240 for both of us - nonstop (good times) round trip. ***Flashback - Warning*** Last time I was in Vegas I was there with 3 guy friends for a pseudo bachelor party (just an excuse to go out drinking in Vegas for 3 days). We stayed at Harrah's for the first time, and after getting there, checking in, and taking a shower, I was the first one ready. I told the other guys that I would meet them down in the casino, by the elevators. I walked down and sat at a nickel video slot machine (Full-O-Sheep), and ordered my first drink (Corona), threw in a $20, and was playing 45 nickels at a shot. I hit the bonus game (some kind of tic-tac-toe game) and won 430 nickels. Five minutes later, I was looking at the screen, and I had 5 wild - Full-O-Sheep symbols lined up... Ker-Ching! 50,000 nickels, Not Too Shabby... I proceeded to put the money that I had brought aside, and vowed to do whatever I had to do to spend this money. This is an entirely different trip report. The bottom line is that I took the $2500, drank and gambled, and drank the rest of the weekend away, clearing the way for an upgrade in status on the players' level, and some nice offers. *** Back to Real Time *** I had an offer for 4 free nights at Harrah's or Rio, any days of the month. I was leaning to booking at Rio, as I have heard that the rooms are much nicer, but in the end, I elected to book at Harrah's because of the convenience of being right on the strip (although as you will see, we did use the shuttle to Rio a couple of times). Before we were leaving, I emailed the hotel's regular email contact and told them that it was a 'special occasion' (like they never get to hear that), and if there was anything they could do in regards to a room upgrade, it would be greatly appreciated. *More Later* I waited until 4 days before the trip to spring it on her, having already arranged for the boys to stay with Grandma & Grandpa without her knowing. I thought she was going to cry. She is big on 'The thought that counts', so when I handed her an envelope at her party, she was looking a little suspicious. When she opened up the envelope, she saw the whole 4 days, planned out (used Outlook to schedule some fun things), and that was like an extra bonus. *** Skip to Departure Day *** We flew ATA out of Midway on the 10th. Our flight was scheduled for 10:30 (+/-) and we were there a good 2 hours early. After parking in the remote lot, and taking the parking bus to the terminal, we used ATA's kiosks to check in and do the seat selection. This is a great option, as we could have the screens next to each other, and change seats so we both got an exit row seat next to each other. From there we went to the baggage check in, and all that went relatively easily. Since we were early, we stopped for a quick breakfast at the food court, and then went on to a nice (event free) flight. We arrived in Vegas (on time); I was originally looking for some different transportation options and decided just to cab it. When I started thinking about the different busses and limo stuff, I decided that it is stupid to go and spend big bucks all weekend, but try to save $10 by stopping at 5 hotels in a bus, and wasting 1 hour. We took the cab, and arrived at Harrah's pretty quickly. I went to the platinum check in and told my wife to stay by the luggage (I didn't want her to hear me in case I got shot down looking for a room upgrade). I spoke to the customer service agent at the counter, and told her the deal; My wife's 30th birthday, I emailed the hotel, etcâ€¦ She said "Lets see what we can do", picked up the phone, inquired if room xxxx was open, and hung up the phone. "I think you will be happy with this room, here's the keys, have a wonderful time.". We were in the taller of the 2 towers, the tower had 35 floors and we were sitting on the 34th floor (there is a separate bank of elevators that run the top 10 floors, we never waited for an elevator for more than 1 minute.). The first thing that we noticed when we walked into the room was the view out the window, we were looking (over the pool) out to Caesars' Palace on the left, and the Mirage on the right. The second thing we noticed was there was no bed in there. Yes! Upgraded to a two room suite! Nice, non-smoking king bed in the other room, looking into a smoked glass bathroom, Jacuzzi tub for 2 (at least), and in the other part of the bathroom, a cool, marble shower (for 2 . This was exactly what I was hoping for, and I was very excited that I went with Harrah's over the Rio, as we really wanted the central strip location. *Never, did a $20 leave my hand, although we did make a note to stop by on our way out and personally thank the CSR that set us up! We got cleaned up and since the first part of the day was un-planned, we just set out to walk around a little bit and get some food. We walked (spent a lot of time walking), over to Bellagio, to check out the food choices (I originally thought they had an inexpensive noodle restaurant, and when we got there, noticed that the noodle restaurant was in the $30 entrÃ©e range --- uh, noâ€¦) Later we noticed that the noodle shop that I was thinking about was actually in Mandalay Bay, o-well. We ended up walking across to the Aladdin into the mall area, and stopping at a Oyster Bar / Restaurant type place. We both had a great bowl of Lobster Bisque, and split a dozen oysters and a Cajon chicken sandwich. Total bill $45.00. We drowned some nickels in the casino @ Aladdin for awhile (re-occurring theme), with no real success, then headed back to Harrah's to chill awhile and have a few drinks. We got our stuff together, went back to Harrah's, and played a little more nickel slots, we like the video slots with the bonus games, and often will sit there until we hit one of the bonus games. We ended up playing for a couple of hours and after that it was time to go back up and get ready for dinner. We had reservations (although it did not seem that they were necessary) at rumjungle at Mandalay Bay for Thursday Evening. *** I should note, that the average daytime temperature was 115 degrees for the 3 days we were there. That being said, we decided to cab it over to Mandalay Bay from Harrah's for obvious reasons (if we walked in our 'dress' cloths, we would have needed another shower by the time we arrived). We were early for our 8pm reservations, so we drowned a few nickels there, and joined the 1 club, off the top of my head, it is a joined slot club with Man. Bay, Monte Carlo, some other nicer hotels, and CIRCUS CIRCUS and SLOTS'O FUN. That struck me as pretty funny as the last thing I think about when I think Mandalay Bay is Slot's O Fun (No offence to anyone out there). No great shakes on the nickels (we usually put in $20 or so and end up either walking away or trying to work it to $50 or $100). Since we were still early, and I had something else scheduled for tonight at rumjungle (they don't capitalize that for some reason. I guess it's cool not toâ€¦), I decided to move the Martini's at Red Square to a pre-dinner cocktail. After seeing the threads about "Best Drinking stops" and reading about the ice bar, we had to go have at least 1 there. I had the fruit infusion martini, which was excellent, but my wife ended up going with a special Chocolate Martini. She claimed that this was the best she has ever had, and she has had quite a few (read: lush)â€¦ Only kiddingâ€¦ (read: seriously)â€¦. The coolest thing about the bar had to be the bartender. It was a mixture of the "I'm way too cool to be a bartender" and the Flair bartender (ex. Carnival Court, Kahunaville, etc, where they toss the bottles around.) At one point, he had an order for 7 different martinis, mixed them all, and put the glasses pyramid style on the bar, arranged the different mixers so that he held them all up, and they all poured into the correct glass, perfectly filling each one, and not spilling a bit. I should also note that we have been running into some pretty cool people (that was also a re-occurring theme for the trip). At one point we were in the Red Square bar, and there was a group of 8 people next to us, one of the girls was drinking a cool looking martini, and my wife asked her what kind it was, she was all cheerleader like; "Ohmygosh, this is LIKE, the best, LIKE Cosmo martini, you have to try this!" and proceeded to shove it to us. My wife went ahead and tried the Cosmo, and explained: "OhhhMyGawwd, you are LIKE, so right, this Cosmo, is LIKE TOTALLY wicked". I was laughing out loud during this exchange, but it was nice to be in a 'trendy' bar and meet some nice people. After the martini experience, we went next door to rumjungle for dinner. I was there about a year ago, and had one of their special dinners, this was dinner where you order it, and they keep bringing you, as my wife calls it - "Meat on a stick". This is 6 or 7 courses served on a sword and the servers bring you a different dish every 5 minutes. Neither of us (after the lobster bisque and oysters from earlier) were hungry enough to take this on, so she ordered the fish, and I had the marinated steak. Meals were great, we ended up ordering a few more cocktails, and since this was one of our 'Good Dinners' we were trying to make it last as long as possible. After dinner we walked around Mandalay Bay a little more, and ended up walking back down the strip to our Hotel. We got back to Harrah's at around 11:30, and by then my wife was starting to crash. I said okay, and went up to the room with her, but by the time I took off my shoes, and she was getting ready for bed, I had a change of heart. "Im sorry, but there is no way I can go to sleep before midnight in Vegas." She was very understanding "I don't care what you do, Im going to sleep", so I ended up in the casino for another 3 or so hours. I mostly play the nickel video slots, so I drowned some nickels playing some of my favorites (Super Cherry, Unicorn, Price is Right, Etcâ€¦). Proceeded to loose on every one of them (at least I am consistent). And finally went in to call it a night at around 3am. *** End of Day 1 *** *** Day 2 *** Friday We woke up at a leisurely 9 am, got cleaned up, and headed out. Our original plan was to hit Parris for the Breakfast Buffet on Saturday AM. Since we were already up and ready to go, we decided that it should be less crowded (plus our plan was to binge drink all evening, and we figured we would feel better eating this morning than after drinking all night), so we went to the buffet today. We got there at about 11am (paid the breakfast charge of around $12.99 or so), and had the best breakfast buffet I have ever had. We both started with some MTO (made-to-order) crepes. I then had a MTO omelet, while my wife went with MTO blintzes. We sat for awhile, soaking in the food, and relaxing. At around 11:35, the transition was made from Breakfast to Lunch. The lunch was also outstanding. They have 2 new 'stations' that they just opened up. One of the stations was shish ka bobs (sp?), they grill them all together, and then take them off the skewers and put the different meats (chicken, pork and steak) in separate dishes so you can pick and choose whichever you want. They were all great! My wife tried a little bit of each, and we went for some shrimp, and other seafood stuffs. *Highlight of my wife's trip* The dessert station at the Paris buffet (I am not a big dessert fan, so I didn't partake) was, in her words "Orgasmic". (Nice that the only thing in the trip that she describes as orgasmic was the foodâ€¦.) She had 2 or 3 types of fancy chocolate dessert, 2 types of crÃ¨me Brule, and 2 miscellaneous desserts that I, frankly could not identify. She was in heaven. Coming back and telling friends/family about the trip, this is the first thing that she brings up, every timeâ€¦. So, yes, the Paris Breakfast/Lunch buffet comes highly recommended. After lunch we wobbled around and decided that we A) were not going to eat again for the rest of the trip, and B) needed to walk around, just checking out some sights. We wandered up the strip to MGM, checking out some of the places in-between, never staying anywhere longer than walking through to get out of the heat. And it didn't hurt that we got a nice cool frozen margarita at every stop. We then went over to NYNY, ended up staying there for a little whileâ€¦Whoa, wait, here comesâ€¦ another ---- ***Flashback - Last time I was at NYNY, (you remember the 4 guy bachelor party trip), we were wandering around and saw a boxing game (video). The object of this game was to hold 2 boxing 'gloves' that are for the most part, the controllers for the video game. You then stand directly in front of the game, where sensors can detect when you move left/right/duck, etcâ€¦ At the time, it seemed like a great idea to try this game out. I must note, just for the record, that I was pretty muchâ€¦ hammered. I get in front of the game, start playing, and after around 2 minutes, there is a crowd of about 20 people watching this drunkard, ducking, moving to the side, and flailing his arms uncontrollably. At this time, I was feeling a little winded (read; moments from passing out). The funny thing about the game is that if you do 'land' a good punch, it gives you a certain number of free punches to throw. These gloves weigh around 5+ lbs each, so it does get tiring. I hit the guy, and the screen brings up '42' free punches. F-Thisâ€¦ At around 35, I get the feeling that if I make it to 42, I just, may, die. This must have been a sight, in Las Vegas, with everything going on for all these people to stop in front of a video game and watch some drunkard flail his arms. ***End Flashback*** So after hearing about this little event, I thought we would go back and show her where it took place. Guess you had to be there. We went to Coyote Ugly, and while the actual bar was not open yet, we had some tasty frozen alcoholic beverages. It was at this point that my wife uttered the four words you always love to hear "Look at that rack". I turned my head to see one of the servers SMASHING the boobs together, in a low cut shirt. "Wow, honey, I didn't notice". Duhâ€¦ We walked across to Excalibur to take the tram to Mandalay Bay. I always like Mandalay Bay, we went to pick up some coupons for the House of Blues (a tip I got from one of the other trip reports), for Â½ off admission to the 80's night deal tonight. We drowned some nickels at Mandalay Bay, and then went to the bar in the middle of Mandalay Bay for some nice bourbon. I am a big fan of good bourbon, and they have all the small batch choices. I ended up with a couple Bookers on the rocks, while my wife switched for the time being to Coke. (I should have known she was starting to get a buzz going when the rack comment was whipped out.) We kicked around there some more and ended up going back to Harrah's (via Tram to Excalibur, and walking back from there). We got back to Harrah's in time to drown some more nickels again, again nothing to note, except for 1 hit on a nickel machine "Tabasco", which gives a kind of scatter pay when you get three of the mosquitoes on the screen, it lets you pick one and gives you the coin value behind it. My wife picked the middle one, the left one was 72, the right one was 72, and the one she picked was 2400! That was pretty cool; I had never seen one that big. We cleaned up and despite our vow to never eat again; we ended up going to the Dinner Buffet at Harrah's. I am always happy with this; they have good quality food, and a decent price. Its no $4.99 special, but again, the value was good. One thing I liked is the crab legs are sliced in half, so you only have to fork out the meat. I seem to have the problem that I like to eat crab legs, but I am too lazy to actually do the work entailed, so this worked out perfectly. They also had peeled shrimp, and prime rib. All in all, the dinner was fine. After dinner, we ended up going out to the Carnival Court, we looked in and were not too excited about the band, but we ended up going into the lounge right at the side entrance (by the Carnival Court), and checking out the piano bar. This ended up being a lot of fun. We went in to have one drink there, and ended up sitting at the bar for over 1 Â½ hours. They do a dueling piano thing there, with a combination of 4 people, 2 guys and 2 girls. They rotate, and have different configurations 2 guys, 1 guy 1 girl, etcâ€¦ They were very entertaining, and had most the whole crowd into it. The people that were just there with their arms crossed got picked on. One guy actually was made fun of a left. That killed me. After that we wandered over to Caesars' Palace. I had told my wife about Shadows Bar over there, and that was something we both wanted to see again. Speaking of nice racks, the idea at Shadows, for those who have never been there, it's a 'higher' scale martini type bar, the hook is 2 screens on either side of the bar that are backlit, and have some pretty ' statuesque ' dancers behind them, dancing sans clothing. I also like the bar for its atmosphere; it is good for people watching, etcâ€¦ We went next door to Cleopatra's Barge, but it was not quite what we were looking for, we ended up walking around crossing over the barge on the dance floor (the band was on break), and kept walking. On the way out of Caesars' we stopped at the little bar by the table games by the front doors, there was a guy set up with a karaoke type of setup singing old Vegas tunes (Sinatra, Martin, rat pack type of stuff). We ended up having a good time here as well. We sat right at the bar, I ordered a Jameson on the rocks (mixing the whiskey, in hindsight may not have been the best idea), and my wife ordered a Miller Lite. Here comes another 'interesting person contact'. There was a guy next to us at the bar, probably in his mid 60's. He introduced himself, and asked my wife if she thought I would hurt him if he asked her to dance. "Only one way to find out" she said. I told him that, it would not be a problem, and the proceeded to have a little old fashion dance. We ended up talking for quite awhile, he was an old-time Vegas guy, and he lived in LA, and comes out and stays at Caesars' every 2 weeks. He ended up buying us both another drink (we both went with the Jameson's), and refused any attempt we made to buy him one back. We said our goodbyes, and headed out, but it was a cool glimpse (as close as we could get) to 'Old Vegas'. From there we grabbed a cab, and headed out to Mandalay Bay again. We drowned some nickels there, went back around by rumjungle and Red Square (both were way too crowded to consider), and ended up going to our 'final' destination for the night, House of Blues. Every Friday @ HOB, they have an 80's night, where they bring out all the old favorites, from the dance/pop/rock/metal genres. I am a big fan of 80's music (graduated High School in 87, peak of long hair, ripped jeans, etc...). We ended up having a good time here as well. We heard some of our favorites from Welcome to the Jungle - to Rick Springfield (Jessie was a friendâ€¦.). One funny story from HOB, we were talking to a table of guys to our left, from out by our area (Chicago), at a table to our right, was a table of girls. Now, they guys on the left were asking my wife to chat up the girls on the right, to see if they could all meet somewhere in the middle. My wife started dancing with one of the girls, and tried to smile at her to get her attention. The girl looks at her, gets a strange look on her face (nervous, looking a little uncomfortable). This was killing me; the girl thought my wife was trying to pick her up (any port in a storm). At this point the time was about 3:30 AM, and as the girls we leaving my wife decided to throw a wave and a wink at the girl as she left. The look on her face was priceless, as they say, but I do think, maybe deep down inside, she was thinking about it (maybe that was just me). We stayed another Â½ hour at HOB, and then decided to take off back to Harrah's and call it a night. *** End Of Day 2 *** *** Day 3 *** - Saturday - July 12 We slept in this morning . We woke up at about noon, and went out to find some lunch. We walked through Venetian to find something and found a nice noodle shop right off the casino floor. We both had a good noodle dish and split an order (2) of spring rolls. The noodles we very good, and as hungry as I was I ended up eating all of mine, and finishing hers when she was done, something I have not done since she got pregnant the last time, and I ended up eating her dinners for about 4 months during the morning sickness and gaining 25 lbs. After this we took a cab (we were going to try to walk some of it, but it was 116 degrees out today, actually a nice change from the 118/119 degrees Friday, but pretty fn hot, nonetheless), to the other end of the strip to the Sahara. In my ramblings, I told her about "Speed - The Ride" at Sahara, and wanted her to check it out. She was impressed as I was, this is a fun, smooth roller coaster, and besides it being a little short, it is a good time. The one disappointment I had with it, is that when I was there last, they would send you out, bring you back, and then send you out again, 2 rides at a time. This time, they brought everyone back and unloaded. I was a little disappointed that it was only 1 ride, and I would have purchased the unlimited ride wristband for $2 more if I knew. We then walked across the street and down the block to Stratosphere . The STRAT is nice enough, but I can't really see why anyone would stay there, unless they had meetings, or business to attend in the casino, the walk from Sahara to the Strat was a little dicey, and I would not want to do it hammered at night. We got to the Strat, and headed up to do the Big Shot ride. I am not a big fan of heights, I have no problem being in a plane, or indoors in an observation deck, but when you go outside and are in the open air on the top of the Strat that tends to get to me just a bit. I had to do the big-shot one last time so my wife could experience it. All in all, even with the slight vertigo, and the phobia of heights, this is a ride that everyone should experience. For those that are not familiar with the big shot, they constructed a 'Track' of sorts that would resemble a large antenna on the top of the Strat. At the base of the antenna, there is a 4 sided 'bench' with 4 seats on each side. You sit on the seat, and via some kind of electromagnetic push, you are HURLED into space. At the top of the ride you are hanging there for just long enough to loose the old stomach. At that point, gravity takes over bringing you free-falling down to around the half-way point of the ride. This gives the height paranoid rider a comforting feeling that the hellish nightmare is almost over, when; again, you are HURLED back up again. Finally you are returned to the base of the ride, where you can grab the railing, get back into the observation deck, and never have to do it again. We got back the hell down to terra firma, and drowned some more nickels at the Strat, with no success. The deal we got for the room at Harrah's also had a show of sorts included. The show was "The Not-So Newly Wed Game". What they basically did was had a room full of people, and randomly picked 4 couples to play the game. It was pretty cool, and it was actually hosted by Bob Eubanks (Sp?). We would have loved to get picked for the contest, but, alas we were not. It was entertaining though, and the winning couple got $2000, and the other 3 couples each got $1000. They then did a 20 drawings for $200 each. Considering the fact that there were only about 40 or so (most were couples where only 1 had an entry), the odds were good to get in on thatâ€¦ Unfortunately, we must have been 1 of the last 10 cards left in the hopper when all was said and done. We did manage to get our picture taken with Bob though, and it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. Oh, also got an autographed video of the most outrageous game show moments, so we weren't total looserzâ€¦ Close, but not total. The show ended at 8pm and we had 8:45 reservations at the Voodoo Lounge for dinner. As much of a flawless trip, this was the only setback we had. We arrived at 8:40, after cabbing it over from Harrah's. We were going to take the Harrah's / Rio shuttle but were afraid that it would not get us there in time. This is the only gripe I have. We grabbed the cab, hurried over there to be 5 minutes early for our reservation, and sat there for almost an hour waiting for our table. In hindsight, I may not have been so upset if we didn't cab it over there, or if we were late, but why have a reservation if you are still going to have to wait for an hour. After that, everything ran smoothly. We got a table on the wall, looking out (across a few tables) to the strip. We started with a small fishbowl sized drink called "What the Witchdoctor Ordered" or something like that with a bunch of rum, and a cool smoking effect. Something about drinking a smoking alcoholic beverage seems like it will come back to haunt you. It worked out good, I don't remember what the cost was, but that 1 drink brought both of us all the way through dinner. We passed on the appetizers, and we both had an entrÃ©e called MÃ©nage a 3. This consisted of a Fillet, Lobster Tail, and grilled Prawns. This was excellent; we both enjoyed our dinners very much (after we got our table). The funny thing about dinner was, in the booth next to us was an average looking guy, with 2 very hot, very drunk girls. They were going through bottles of Wine/Champagne, like there was no tomorrow (as I would be doing in his shoes). They were all seemingly 'attracted' to each other as well. The funny thing about this is that directly across from them was a table of 4 or 5 women, age ranging from mid 30's to mid 50's. One of the women just could not stop staring at them, I mean blatantly, staring. I had the feeling you get when you're watching a movie with your parents and suddenly the actors start going at it. You get that feeling like, oh, man; my mom is watching me watch these guys get it on. You know what I'm talking about. We finished up dinner, and went out to the observation deck/bar on the restaurant level. I don't know if it was because we were only Â¼ as high up, or because I was slightly buzzed, but the heights did not seem to bother me at Rio. We stayed around for 1 drink there, and then went inside and upstairs to the Voodoo Lounge. We also stayed there, and went to the outside bar there for 1 drink, pretty much just to say we were there. It was around 11 or 11:30, and already pretty crowded. When we were leaving, there must have been 40+ people in line to get in. We stayed at Rio for awhile drowning nickels then took the shuttle back to Harrah's. We changed into some more comfortable cloths (dressed for dinner), and drowned more nickels at Harrah's. We wanted to check out some other things back by Rio, and now that we were in comfortable (but still decent) cloths, we shuttled back to Rio. By the way, I really like this shuttle. It runs every 15 minutes up until around 1am, and we have never had to wait for more than 10 or so minutes, it's a nice service. We got back to Rio, and went in to check out Bikini's. We had free passes/line passes to get in, and figured what the hell, let's check it out. Now, as we know, my wife just turned 30, and I am 33, I do believe that I may have been the oldest person in there my maybe 14 years. We had a quick beer (so quick I took the other half with me), and got out of there. I can see where it would be a good place for the younger 20's, but it was not quite my bag. We drowned some more nickels there, and then hiked over to the Palms. I liked the Palms, besides the location, it was very nice inside. I would have loved to see the Ghost Bar, but I was not about to stand in line, then paying $20x2 for us to get up there for 1 or 2 drinks. We checked out the rest of the casino, and then made our way back to the strip via cab. We were back at Harrah's and by this time (2am) I was getting a little tired. We walked up the strip went through the Orleans, where we both played penny slots for the first time. We were playing the Beverly Hillbillies game at anywhere from .18 cents a spin to .90 cents a spin. That was not too bad, my wife hit all Jethro's for 5000 coins, but I must say that it is a little disheartening to hit for 5000 coins and only get $50.00 out of it. There was no line for Drai's I noticed, but we did not bother with it as I was already feeling old from Bikini's. We walked on to Balley's, and then decided to call it quits at around 3:30 or so and walk back to Harrah's. We had a 1:10 flight, so we got up (my wife got up and had everything packed by the time I stumbled out of bed, god bless her) and went down to check out. Again, I can't say enough about Harrah's, the total time I spent waiting in line, checking in and checking out at Harrah's could not have totaled more than 8 minutes. The total tab for the whole visit was $139.00 we chalked up at Rio (This was a nice deal; we were able to put any transactions at Rio on our room charge at Harrah's and vise-versa.) They comped us on the dinner buffet we had the day before, and from part of the promotion deal, they comped all 3 room nights in the nice 2 room suite they put us up in. As the main reason we were out there was for my wife's b-day and to see the sights, we didn't do as much gambling as I normally do, so I think that what they did for us was way beyond what I deserved . We were in the line for the cab to get back to the airport, when the service issue came up again. The person working the cab line put together 6 of us going to the airport in a limo, saved us $5 a couple, and did not have to wait in the long line. We tipped him and we were off for an uneventful flight home to see the boys! Observations: " Obviously, I can't say enough about Harrah's; I would choose one of their properties over anywhere else at this point just for the Services/Rewards they have come up with. I get offers for one of their properties a week, and they took care of us so well, I actually felt guilty when we were playing anywhere else. " 'Big-Elvis' - I have read a lot about Big Elvis at the Orleans. I was not that impressed. I know he has a large (no pun intended) following on the different forums, but to me it was just a fat guy leaning against the stage singing Elvis tunes. And I am a Huge (no pun intended) Elvis fan, my wife's name is Priscilla, and I wanted to name my youngest son Elvis (middle name - didn't fly with the wife). " This trip we never seemed to hit any good machines. Our one biggest 'spin' win was 2400 coins, and our biggest cash out was around 5200 nickels. I know its just a matter of luck, but I would have liked to have been played with a little more (wouldn't we all). " The Buffet at Paris was outstanding. Anyone planning to go there should hit it on a weekday at around 11am. Get the best of both worlds as far as breakfast then a good lunch selection. " Everyone we ran into was very friendly (except for the girl my wife was 'hitting' on, she could at least have been a little more open and receptive ) That's about it! If you made it this far, you are a huge glutton for punishment, but I hope you weren't too bored! We have some family that is planning to go out there in October, and I have already booked this trip (Rio), but please, if you talk to my wife, don't tell her, I have to work it in slowly or else meet the frying pan! Thanks!!! Brian - Chicago [email protected] <--- you know what to do!