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Our week in Vegas, Easter Sunday - Apr. 26

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dlhamann, May 3, 2003.

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  1. This was my fourth trip to Vegas, but my hubby's first. It was also our first trip ever away from our 4 yr. old son and twin 16 month old daughters, besides one other weekend trip. Hubby had 10 days off, so we decided to drive from Dallas to Vegas, stopping off at the Grand Canyon. We left Good Friday morning at 7:30 and arrived in Albuquerque around 7:00 that evening. Saturday, we drove from Albuquerque to Flagstaff and stayed at a very nice Hilton Garden Inn. We went to see the Meteor Crater and a volcano (forgot the name!) and drove through the mountains. Then Sunday morning, we got up early and went to the Grand Canyon. Boy, was it crowded! Next time, I'll remember to get our park passes down the road so that we can drive right in instead of waiting in line for an hour to purchase them at the gate! The first major point had no parking whasoever, so we drove to the second point and got some spectacular views. Then we parked and hopped the shuttle bus to the village, ate an overpriced sandwich and then hit the shuttle bus on Hermit Road to see the 7 points there. We were frustrated with those buses because they only came by once every 20 or so minutes, and they would not allow standers, so if the bus was full, you had to wait another 20 minutes! We walked between 2 points, but it was a mile uphill, so we rode the other 4. We just didn't have time to see all 7 because of those stupid busses. I felt sorry for one poor family because every bus that came to their point would not unload...not one person would get off, and the poor family had been waiting an hour. The poor mom asked if they could PLEASE stand up..just to the next point, and he told her no. I felt so bad for them. We stayed at the Grand Canyon until 4:00. It was gorgeous, but very rushed. We will definitely not ever take our family there in the summer time ...just too crowded! It was also cold and breezy.

    The drive from the GC to Vegas was an hour less than Mapquest had predicted, so we were very happy to arrive there at 8:45, even after stopping for 45 minutes to eat in Kingman. It was dark when we got there, and we were driving through the mountains around Lake Mead, and we came over a hill, and there it was...Las Vegas...millions of beautiful lights. It truly was beautiful! My smile was plastered on my face until I went to sleep! We were staying at the Venetian, which I'd gotten for $79 per night off Priceline, so I exited Tropicana so that I could drive up the strip and show my hubby how spectacular it is. Not much traffic at all! I was very impressed that Ceasear's had re-covered their old building to match their new towers without tearing the original building down. It looked so much prettier. We pulled into the Venetian with no problems and didn't have to wait in line to check in. I asked the clerk if I could have a room on a high floor, away from construction with a strip view, and he couldn't find a room to meet all 3 of my criteria, so he gave us a free upgrade to a premium view room on the 22nd floor. We had an excellent view of Treasure Island part of the Mirage and the pool area. We absolutely loved the room! I requested a fridge and it was brought up within 1 minute!

    We unpacked and went downstairs to check out the casino. Hubby put two quarters in a .25 slot and out came $40! We were happy! The next morning, we were on our way to check out the shops in the Venetian when a time share lady stopped us. She somehow managed to talk us into visiting the Polo Towers on Tuesday for $50 in free dinners at Treasure Island and 2 free tickets to "V". We then proceeded to Treasure Island, where we were AGAIN hounded by the time share people, and took the tram over to the Mirage. Hubby liked the casino in the Mirage better than the Venetian. We checked out the white tiger exhibit and headed over to Ceasar's. Just like myself, hubby loved Ceasar's. We watched the new statue show and then headed into the casino, where again, hubby put in 2 quarters and received $30 back. Happy again! We crossed the street and walked past IP and Harrah's looking for something to eat. Somehow, we ended up back at the Mirage and eating their lunch buffet, which was okay. We went back to our room for about 2 hours to rest our feet, and then went to the grocery store to pick up some soda and water. Then we came back and strolled the Venetian and listened to the opra guy sing. We went to watch the pirate ships, but it was closed due to high winds. We went back to Ceasar's and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which was also only okay. The portions were way too big for us. Then we went to see Ceasar's IMAX 3-D chariot race..it was the last show of the night and it was awesome! We crossed the street again and hubby played at Flamingo and Harrah's and won about $30 and lost about $15. We got back to our room just after 1:00 am.

    Tuesday morning, I decided to go sit in the spa and possibly take a dip in the pool. I got outside and it was freezing! I literally ran to the spa. I was the only one in it that spoke English. I ran back to the room and we ate Dolly Madison powdered donuts for breakfast before heading to the dreaded Polo Towers. What was supposed to be 'only two hours' ended up being 3 hours.....a total waste of our time. But, we did end up getting our freebies, so we just grabbed some fast food for lunch and then headed over to the MGM Grand. Hubby was amazed at the size of the place, and I was surprised at how much it had changed since I was there in 1998. What happened to Dorothy and the gang? The Lion Habitat was nice to watch. We played a few slots and lost about $15, so we headed over to the NYNY. We were again hounded by time share people and someone handed us some coupons for free coupons books free play if we joined their players club. So we stood in a super slow line and finally registered. We received a coupon book with several goodies and $5 in free slot play. The lady told us to 'watch the video to your left' to see how to use the free slot play. The video said that the free play could only be used on machines labeled with big blue 'free' labels. We circled the NYNY casino SIX times and found NO such label! So, we stood in line another 20 minutes only to find out that there were no labels!!! UGH! So we found a machine and quickly lost the $5, but we were offered 2 free drinks. We were going to ride the roller coaster, but it was way too cold, so we decided to come back and do that later. We went to the M&M Store because we'd seen tons of people walking around with M&Ms bags and we couldn't believe how many people were in there. We saw nothing special about the place and the stuff was all overpriced! I did present my AAA card to the desk and we got two free ice cream cones on the 4th floor. We walked quickly through the Aladdin and Paris and returned to the MGM parking garage and drove back to the Venetian. We hung out in the room for a while, exhausted, and then felt lazy, so we crossed the street to Treasure Island to redeem some of the $50 in food credit we had at their buffet. Yuck! It wasn't good at all! Afterwards, we went over to Kahunaville with a 2 for 1 drink ticket, and we had a blast! The crowd was great, the music as fabulous, the bartenders were very entertaining and there were folks dancing all over the place. Very fun! We got back to our room around 12:30.

    Wednesday, we got up and packed, sad to leave the Venetian. We checked out and headed out to Hoover Dam. Boy, was it crowded. We were disappointed that they don't do the hardhat tours anymore since Sept. 11, but we loved the damn itself. We stopped at fast food on the way back into Vegas and checked into our strip suite at the Aladdin. The ceiling was much lower than the Venetian, so the suite actually seemed smaller. The living area was very dark and drab, but the bathroom was gorgeous. A bit sterile in decor, but nice. The tub was a huge round bowl and easily sat 3 adults. There were panoramic windows where the sinks and vanity were with an awesome view of the strip, pool area and Bellagio fountains. The view from the bed was just as great. It took forever to get my fridge.... I was afraid my milk was going to thaw. 3 phone calls and over an hour later, I finally got the fridge. We watched the fountains and went downstairs to join their players club, then went to the Steakhouse at Circus Circus. The food there was excellent, and very reasonably priced. The waiter was a hoot! We were going to ride the coaster in the Adventuredome afterwards, but it was already closed, so we headed to the Stratosphere . We went up the tower and rode the Big Shot. WOO HOO what a rush! We took in the views and took lots of pictures and then headed to Freemont Street. We gambled in the Golden Nuggest for a while....winning some and then losing some, then we walked around and watched the light show.

    Thursday, we slept in and then tried gambling at the Aladdin with no luck, so we went to Bellagio to look at the conservatory. We headed to Bally's and gambled a little there and lost $25 and quit, then went to stroll the pool area at the Flamingo, wishing we could get in. Then we ate at PF Changs, which was just as good as the one in Dallas. We came back to our room and took a bath before heading to the Venetian to see "V". "V" was a nice show, especially the comedian at the end, but I wished I would have taken the Lord of the Dance tickets instead. After "V", hubby took me to Godiva and got me some chocolate covered strawberries. YUM! We strolled Venice again and then headed back to one of the restaurants in TI to use the rest of our $50 food credit. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but it was only okay. We tried watching the pirate show again, but again, it was closed due to high winds. We got in the car at the Venetian and drove to Mandalay Bay. It was gorgeous! All the sports areas were crowded watching the NBA. After browsing there, we took the tram through the Luxor and Excalibur. We were going to do the IMAX 3-D ride in the Luxor, but it was closed. I couldn't seem to find the Nile River ride ...maybe they don't have it anymore. After checking out those hotels, we went back to our suite and hubby surprised me with champagne, so we took a bath and then lie on the bed taking in the view while drinking champagne and eating the Godiva strawberries.

    Friday morning, we had to check out again and move off the strip. We just grabbed some fast food in the Dessert Passage shops and headed over to the NYNY to ride the roller coaster. Just as fun as I remembered the first time! THen we headed over to the Embassy Suites hotel. It was very nice, like all of them are. We had a great view of the Las Vegas Hilton and Stratosphere. We lazed around the room until the free happy hour and then went down to have free drinks and snacks before heading back to the Aladdin for our free dinner at Zanzibar. Our ticket said we had to eat between 4 and 7 and it was 6:20 when we got to the parking garage, so we figured we'd better hurry in case there was a line. I had 2 blisters on my feet so I was dragging a little. We passed as kiosk in the middle of the mall an some guy tried to stop us and my hubby said, "No thanks, we're in a hurry." The guy yelled, very loud, "I can see that by the way you're walking at such a FAST pace, jerk!" I was appalled!! I wanted to stop but my hubby told me to forget about it. We had a very nice dinner at Zanzibar and then headed over to the Bellagio to try to see the fountain show up close. Just like the pirate ship, it was closed due to high winds. I was very disappointed that we didn't get to see either. We walked back through the Dessert Passage to get to our car and I was looking for that jerk of a salesman. We walked past what I thought was his kiosk and asked my hubby, " Is that the guy?" The guy heard me and yelled, "Yeah, it was me..you wanna start somethin?" I was furious, but too humiliated to do anything but ignore him. We watched the 'rainstorm' and then headed over to the RIO to watch the parade. Hubby gambled a little with no luck. Then we headed back to the Aladdin to see "X" with our 2 for 1 tickets. It was a nice show with pretty topless dancers and a funny potty mouthed comedian. The dancers reminded me of Striptease, but without any tips. After the show, we headed down to the lounge and had some free drinks we'd gotten for joining the player's club and enjoyed the music and dancing. Then we headed back to the Embassy Suites. We had a wonderful complimentary cooked to order breakfast buffet at the Embasssy Saturday morning and then checked out to head home. We stopped over at the big souvenir shop on Sahara to grab goodies for the kids and then contemplated heading over to Buffalo Bill's to ride that huge coaster on the state line. I wanted to go, but we couldn't find a route home from there without going out of the way, so hubby decided against it. Darn! We headed home, expecting to hit traffic at Hoover Dam, but there was none! We should have done that tour Saturday instead of crowded Wednesday! We spent the night in Albuquerque and made it back to Dallas 11 hours later........at 9:30 Sunday evening.

    Overall, it was a fabulous trip. There are still things we didn't get to do....like go to Buffalo Bills, Mt. Charleston, Valley of Fire and Sahara's Nascar stuff and coaster, plus the Circus Circus coaster and Luxor 3D ride. We also didn't get to see the shark exhibit at Mandalay. We thought it was a bit expensive. We didn't get to spend any time at the pool due to the cool and very windy weather, but that's okay. I wished we would have relaxed more in the room, but since it was hubby's first visit, I knew he wanted to see everything. I wished I could have seen a nicer show, like Mystere or Mama Mia or Blue Man Group, but oh well....there's always next time! And of course, I wish we would have eaten at Delmonico, but we were burned out on steak after the Steakhouse and all the prime rib at the buffets. Other than that, we had a great time, came home about $50 ahead, stayed in fabulous hotels, and can't wait to go back!

    Laura [​IMG]
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