As if we need an excuse to go to Vegas, this trip was intended to be a joint 30th birthday celebration for myself and a few high school and college friends with summer birthdays. Thursday We flew out of Oâ€™Hare on Thursday on American. Prior to leaving I had checked the status of my flight, which originated in Atlanta. The Atlanta to Chicago leg was cancelled, so at the airport I was a bit nervous there might be a delay. In the end was paranoia was for naught as we took off on landed in Vegas on time. Besides them running out of Vodka, Rum, Jack Daniels and Coke, it was an uneventful flight. Upon arrival it was only a short wait for the bags and we were off in our Presidential Limousine stretch SUV. There were 10 of us, and with all our bags it was a bit tight but we made the best of it. The ride started out OK, but then there was some drama. Donâ€™t ask me what as I was feeling good from the several drinks I had on the plane, plus some Champagne in the Limo. Part of the group were a few female friends of my college roommates. Since booking the trip in January one of the girls and my college room mate began dating. Well, someone said something and then all of a sudden everyone was mad and the limo ride was cut short. The girls were dropped off at the Rio (where they were staying) and we continued on to Planet Hollywood. (Which we dubbed Planet Plywood from the looks of the place outside!) After getting settled we were off to Gallagerâ€™s at New York New York (minus the Rio girls) for a late dinner. Gallagerâ€™s was pretty good. I had a NY Strip and French onion soup. We shared sides of giant steak fries (they were huge), onion rings, and mac and cheese. With a martini my share of the bill was around $80. After dinner we headed back to PH to gamble and drink a bit before heading to bed around 2:30 or so. Friday For going to bed so late, I was up pretty early on Friday morning and was down in the casino by 10 am or so. After sending a few texts to see who was up, a few of us headed to the Bellagio buffet for lunch, which as in all of my past experiences was very good. After putting a few dollars in the Bellagio slots we crossed over to the Flamingo to check out the place before settling into Margaritaville for several drinks. Last year at around this time I enjoyed several Perfect Margaritas that went down very smoothâ€¦almost too smooth. I was looking forward to several more. However, they were very disappointing this time around. After forcing it down (not about to let an eight dollar drink go to waste I switched to the Lime Island Cooler (think that what it was called). This was very good. Kind of reminded me of a Mojito. After about 6 rounds we headed back to PH to wash up and get ready for dinner at Delmonico. This was my fourth time dining at Delmonico and as always it was great. Everyone enjoyed their food. We were each given a small complimentary appetizer (sorry, but I donâ€™t recall what it was). I had the lobster bisque, NY Strip, and a few drinks and the table split a few sides. All told it was about $130 per person. After dinner we made our way back to the PH via stops at Harrahâ€™s and Ceasars Palace. CP was crazyâ€¦ as expected on a Saturday night. The new Pussy Cat dolls casino pit is pretty cool. The blackjack rules sucked, but I guess that is the price you pay for such a hot dealer! We did not play there, just enjoyed the scenery for a bit then made our way back to PH. After adding a few more dollars to the PH bottom line it was time for bed around 2:30. Saturday Another early morning. By 10 am a few of us were walking down the strip to the Â½ off ticket booth in the Hawaiian Village to get tickets to the Star Trek experience at the LV Hilton. However, it did not open until 11:00 and the line was already getting long. So, I grabbed breakfast (a strawberry daiquiri) and we continued down the strip to the giant coke bottle Â½ off ticket booth. There was a short line there, but at least it was air conditioned. As we were waiting I was paging through once of the tourist magazines and saw an add for the ticket booth. Now, you can call ahead to reserve your tickets. So when waiting in line I called the number, reserved the tickets then got to go ahead to the VIP line to pick them up. Very nice! Tickets in hand we walked back towards PH to grab a cab to the Hilton. On the way I got a refill on my breakfast (this time a Pina Coloda). By this time it was about noon so we went to Quarks bar for lunch and a few drinks. The food was over priced and mediocre at best. As in the past, the drinks were great. Iâ€™d highly recommend the bar for cocktails but there is much better food to be had in Vegas. After lunch we made our way to the Star Trek ride. I have seen it a few years ago, and again it was cool. However, my one friends got sick on the ride and him and I went back to PH while the others did the second Borg ride. (They said it was cool.) Back at the PH, I took a brief nap then got ready for the evening. Saturday evening dinner was at Francescoâ€™s in Treasure Island. Food was very good. I got the spaghetti with bolognese and it was excellent. Tab here was about $60 per person with everyone having either a salad or soup and a drink with dinner. Afterwards we played some blackjack before heading over to the Mirage to have a few cocktails at the Revolution Lounge before seeing Brad Garrett. The Revolution lounge was pretty cool. You gotta love the go-go dancers rockinâ€™ it in the â€œOâ€ s. Although, as we were watching the dancers some obnoxious drunk lady asked one of the dancers if she had ever been smacked. She then turned to us asking if we wanted to smack her (the dancer.) We just told her no, then she said to us â€œIâ€™d bet youâ€™d like to out some money in thatâ€¦â€ Finally her companion puller her away and we enjoyed the rest of our drinks without interruption. Brad Garrett was very funny. But he is not for the light of heart. He was very offensive, but to everybody. He act was not so much scripted, but he would spot people in the audience to rip on. For instance, there were group of people in the front row of middle eastern descentâ€¦ one of his first lines was â€œDid flight class get out early?â€ Later in the show as a late arriver (an attractive girl on her early to mid 20â€™s) was walking down the isle to her seat his line was â€œThere must have been a fire at the Spearmint Rhino). He also made fun of him self, his Jewish heritage and Italians (â€œCan I help you hose out your trunk?) Most people in the audience seemed to love it, although I did see one person walk out. After the show, we walked back to TI to catch a cab (LONG line at the Mirage, no line at TI). We headed up to Rio to the Voodoo Lounge. By the time we got there (almost 1:00) there was no line and we were up on top in just a few minutes (after paying the $30 cover of course). As in the past it was a good time. Great view and good stiff, albeit pricy drinks ($12 for a vodka cranberry). We were there until about 3:30 headed back to the PH for a few more games of chance then went to sleep as the sun came up. Sunday I was up relatively early this morning given my late night out, and after getting ourselves together, a few us headed over the Wynn buffet. Very good. I had a variey of items, but I must say I think the pork pot stickers were the best I have ever had (and were talking about Chinatowns in Chicago, New York and San Francisco), and the fried chicken was the best I have had in a long time. The champagne was not bad either. After lunch we bought Steve a few light bulbs then decided we wanted some cheaper gambling. We walked up to the Riveria for a bit. This place has no vibe. Got killed on CSM Lucky Ladies $10 blackjack table (we were hoping to find a decent $5 or even $10 table, but no luck. All they had were crappy games with the stupid rip off side bets. Should have just walked out, but after walking there felt the need to stick around to at least try a few hands. Anywho, our $100 buy-ins lasted all of a few minutes and we were in a cab heading back to PH. Once there we had a few drinks as we planned our evening. All on the trip were Sopranoâ€™s fans and we wanted, if at all possible, to watch the series finale that night. Yes, most of us have a TIVO, but that just wouldnâ€™t be the same. After calling a few places we decided to rent an off strip motel room for the night (actually just a few hours) and have a Sopranoâ€™s party. A few hours later we were at the Americaâ€™s Best Inn on Tropicana (pretty much next door to Hooterâ€™s). The total all in was about $55 ($6.00 a person) we all squeezed on the beds, had a few cocktails and enjoyed the show (the company rather as most of us thought the ending kind of sucked, except for what happened to Phil of course). Afterwards I paid the bill in cash and we headed next door for dinner at Dan Marinoâ€™s and to check out Hooterâ€™s. I have to say I enjoyed both. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d stay at Hooterâ€™s, but Iâ€™d go back to the casino and restaurant again. By the time we headed back to the PH it was close to 2:00. I stayed up a bit longer trying to win some money back (to no avail) then headed to bed around 2:30. Monday Is it me, or do you sometimes feel blue your last few hours in Vegas? It was rough getting out of bed. After the lack of sleep the past few days it was all catching up to me. I was up at about 11:00 am, showered, packed and checked out about noon. Our flight was a 5:00 pm, so we still had some time to do a few things. We first went to the players club desk to see what kind of comps we earned. Not much. A few free buffet passes and PH tote bag was all we had to show for. While I did not gamble too much on this trip, I was hoping for a bit more. Oh well. Our first stop was the buffet. Not as good as Bellagio or Wynn, but when you take into account the regular price (it was free for us in this particular case) it is overall a great deal. After the buffet we decided to walk down to Paris. As we were walking by a Can-Can dancer was passing out free Eiffel Tower passes. However, it was only for new Total Rewards members. Even though 2 members of the party were new members and entitled to the passes, the other 2 (myself included) were not and there for could not get the free passes (as in they would not give us the passes.) She was not very friendly about it either. However, the new members did get a coupon book, one of which was a 2 for 1 pass. I could not help but too think that the Vegas of old would have given the 2 of us the damn passes so we could enjoy the tower with our friends. After paying $9.00 for two tickets we were on our way up and took in the view before it was time to head back to the PH then to the airport. Flight home was on time and uneventful. Bags came out pretty quickly at Oâ€™Hare and I was home just before midnight. Looking forward to doing it again. So far were thinking March for a friends 30th birthday. Final Thoughs etc. Planet Hollywood (aka Planet Plywood). Over all I was happy with our stay. It did not look like much from the outside (as our nickname Planet Plywood) the casino itself looks pretty sharp. Although signage is very poor, actually non-existent. It was always a challenge finding the room elevators in our inebriated states. But given the price we paid (just under $600 total- 4 nights in a resort room) there is really not too much room to complain. I thought the Resort Rooms were very nice. Great bathroom, and a spacious bedroom area with a nice couch. A bit of plumbing noise, but the water pressure in the shower was great! Plenty of room for all of us to gather before heading out for an evening. The dÃ©cor of the rooms is still a bit hodge-podge. We had what were clearly Aladdin bed spreads, with framed movie prints on the wall (a shot of King Kong and Million Dollar Baby in the bedroom, and a shot from the terminator in the bathroom. Some of the elevators were Aladdin, and some were PH (with flat screen TVs mounted in the ceiling). Traveling with a Group The time we did all spend together was great. However, it is quite a pain trying to coordinate so many people. Sort of like herding cats. Dinner reservations that were made with good intentions for 10 were always reduced at the last minute. I would not attempt that again. It is just sort of better to play it by ear. However, all in all a great time. Looking forward to doing it again!