Sorry this took so long. I finally got used to West Coast time and now I'm back on the East Coast and I can't get myself together. Friday, July 11 We flew from Newark to Las Vegas on Continental and used frequent flyer miles for three free tickets. We flew first class going out and coach going home. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 9:25 am. We got to the airport at 7:00 am and it was packed! Luckily, things moved quickly and smoothly and we even had time to grab some breakfast in the club lounge. We boarded the plane with no problem. We sat on the runway for about an hour before take-off. We were something like 20th in cue for take-off. After a while, I began to feel like I was riding the bus. We made up some time and got into Las Vegas about 45 minutes late. We had geriatric flight attendants that Iâ€™m pretty sure were suffering from a slight case of Alzheimerâ€™s. It was actually comical in a warped sort of way. They forgot Â½ of the breakfast, lost some guys coat, forgot to clear away trash and collect glasses before landing. Weâ€™re sure one of them was sneaking booze in the bathroom. Glad they werenâ€™t flying the plane! Our friends were already there and waited for us by baggage claim since they took the earlier morning flight. We collected our luggage and jumped on the National Car rental shuttle. We donâ€™t usually rent cars but because we like to drink and gamble but with friends and kids we thought it would be a good idea to have one. I am part of Nationalâ€™s Emerald Aisle program but our friends werenâ€™t so I didnâ€™t use it. I like zipping in and out without waiting in line but that I thought that would have been rude so we waited in the regular line. We had a hard time finding a decent car. There wasnâ€™t much to choose from. With Emerald Aisle they usually let you grab the next size up with no problem but they wouldnâ€™t let us do that. It was 115 degrees out and the air conditioning in the cars just didnâ€™t feel cold. According to them, the air conditioning is only supposed to lower the outside air temperature by 30 degrees so 85 degrees was â€œsupposedâ€ to be ok. I wasnâ€™t the only person to have a problem with that. While I was waiting for more cars to be brought back, three other people brought cars back because of the air conditioning. We finally found a decent car with â€œcoolâ€ air conditioning and took off for the Rio. We had a free room at the Rio for three nights. At check-in, I asked the desk clerk if there was any possibility of an upgrade. (I am a diamond level player, not because I gamble a lot but because I gamble frequently. This is the first year I have made it to that level and have not noticed much of a change in special offers or upgrades until this trip) The desk clerk played around on her computer for a bit and then made a phone call and I waited quietly with my fingers and toes crossed. She was able to pull off an upgrade! She didnâ€™t elaborate on the room at all but she did say that she was sure Iâ€™d like it. It was room 11001 in the Masquerade Tower and it was an amazing apartment like room. It had a living room with a large down sofa and a few chairs, a dining room with seating for six, two closets, 1 Â½ baths, a jacuzzi, a glass enclosed shower with a seat in it and a wet bar. It was one of the nicest hotel rooms Iâ€™ve ever stayed in. By this time it was mid-afternoon and I was much too tired to do any tourist stuff so we hung around the hotel. We took the kids to watch a few of the Masquerade in the Sky shows and to the pool. The pool was littered with beer bottles and our friendâ€™s son stepped on a beer cap in the pool and cut his foot open. The only negative about the trip with the litter by the Rioâ€™s pool. It looked like Animal House out there and they really need to keep up with the mess. By late afternoon is was really nasty! Between the trash, the beer bottles and cigarette butts, I just couldnâ€™t stand it anymore and had to leave. Anyway, it was nice to have friends there with us so we could keep an eye on each otherâ€™s kids. Going to Vegas with kids can be difficult but going with another couple makes it a lot easier. We played our usual video poker machines and nickel monopoly. There seemed to be a pretty nice selection of poker machines at the Rio. We lost but had fun. Canâ€™t remember where we went for dinner that night. I think we fell asleep at 9:00 pm because we were still on East Coast time. Saturday, July 12 Got up at 4:45 amâ€¦ still on East Coast time. Was hoping to see the sunrise over the mountains but didnâ€™t have a great view. (We had an amazing view of the sunrise last year from the Venetian and were hoping for the same) We ordered room service and decided to go downtown for a bit. We wandered around down there and then decided to do the Mac King show at Harrahâ€™s with the kids. I had $5 buffet coupons for the Harrahâ€™s buffet and free show coupons (with purchase of a drink). $8.00 for a coke seemed a bit pricey but it was justified by the free show. The show was really good and the kids enjoyed the buffet there. (Our friends went to Bull Head City for the day to look at houses so we watched their son) After the show, we went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool and resting in the room. Our friends came back around 7:30 pm and were really tired so we decided to eat somewhere in the hotel. The kids wanted to do a buffet again (two buffets in one day is usually much too much for me) but we did it anyway. Sunday, July 13 Our friends wanted to see the car museum at Imperial Palace. Weâ€™ve been there several times already and were kind of sick of it but we went anyway. After that, we went to Caesarâ€™s. The kids wanted to eat at Planet Hollywood so we had lunch there. We stayed for the shows in the Forum shops and wandered around Caesarâ€™s for a while. My daughter got really excited because the sign for Caesarâ€™s Magical Empire is still up inside the hotel and she really enjoyed going last year. Itâ€™s such a shame it closed. After that, our friends volunteered to take the kids to the ESPN Zone for video games and to the Mirage to see the white tigers. We decided to gamble at the Venetian and hop the shuttle back to the Rio. Drink service was extremely slow in the Venetian. We played both Hot Properties Monopoly and Money Grab Monopoly. After losing about $150 there, we headed back to the Rio. (At least we got one round of drinks) Our friends met us back at the hotel around dinner time. We decided to order room service for dinner since we were all too tired to go out. Monday, July 14 Still on East Coast time. Went down to grab a bite to eat but everything was still closed so I gambled for an hour before grabbing a few donuts and heading back to the room. Check out was 11:00 am at the Rio and check in at Mandalay Bay wasnâ€™t until 4:00 pm. We decided to try to get a room at MB earlier. Our friends gave us a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine that we didnâ€™t open. We really didnâ€™t want to carry them with us to Mandalay Bay especially if the rooms werenâ€™t ready. We were scared the heat would make the bottles explode and were tempted to just leave them in the room at the Rio but we didnâ€™t want to hurt their feelings so we took them. The desk clerk at MB initially told me that I could probably leave them with someone at the Business Center because she couldnâ€™t hold them but then I think she felt bad and found a room. The view wasnâ€™t great and I really didnâ€™t want to take it since the host that made our reservation put a request in for a strip view in the Fiji Wing and we were really looking forward to that, but it solved the champagne problem. (I donâ€™t even like champagne and having to â€œsettleâ€ because of this really irritated me) After dumping the stuff in the room, we took the kids to the Shark Reef. Weâ€™ve seen it already but our friends didnâ€™t, so we went along to keep them company. The kids wanted to try the buffet there so once again, we ate at the buffet. I usually like buffets but at this point, I was really sick of them. I guess kids like them so much because of the variety of desserts? We went out by the pool for a bit. Our friends kept our daughter for a few hours that night so we could go out for a while. They wanted to see the Bellagio fountains and as much as we love the fountains, we really just wanted to drink and gamble. Our friends donâ€™t drink or gamble but they seemed to understand. We gambled and drink service was pretty good so we had a lot of fun. I think we ordered room service for dinner around 11:00 pm. Tuesday, July 15 Woke up with a pretty wicked headache. Ordered room service, again. Everyone went to the pool, except me. They spent about four hours in the pool. I decided to sleep and soak in the tub. I had a nice restful day of doing almost nothing. The kids wanted to go over to the Luxor to see the IMAX movies and do the ride films so we did that later on that afternoon. We were going to go out to Battistaâ€™s Hole in the Wall for dinner but our friendâ€™s son wasnâ€™t feeling all the well after the ride films so we just went back to the hotel. I canâ€™t remember what we ate for dinner that night, although Iâ€™m pretty sure it was either a buffet or room service since that seemed to be what every day entailed. On the way back from the tram we stopped into this store at Mandalay Bay with all kinds of autographed items. It was cool. The adults enjoyed it much more than the kids but we spent a lot of time doing the stuff the kids wanted to do so it was only fair. After that, we went up to the room to pack. I ran downstairs to ask the One Club to have my comp dollars applied to the room and to make sure the $30 food/beverage credit that came with my room was applied. The host that I made my reservation with wasnâ€™t in but the lady who took my call was really nice. Our bill was about $190 (comprised of food charges + shark reef because room was comped already) She comped everything except for the tips on our hotel bill. We also got $40 in cash from MB. Wednesday, July 16 We had a 7:30ish flight back home. We grabbed some Burger King at the airport so I didnâ€™t have to eat the airline food. Finding the National facility was not easy. They were missing a sign on the highway. It was not fun! Our friendâ€™s son is afraid of flying and was vomiting all over the shuttle bus. I had a Ziploc baggie in my purse I gave them. Poor kidâ€¦ I mean poor shuttle bus operator. Flight home was uneventful. Weâ€™re already looking forward to our next trip in October! Summary â€“ The room at the Rio and drink service there was wonderful. The trash by the pool needs to be picked up during the day and not just at closing. Comps at Mandalay Bay seemed to be more generous than the comps given at Harrahâ€™s/Rio under their new comp system. I only saw one person hit a royal flush at the Rio and although they had a nice variety of poker machines, I really didnâ€™t see anyone winning all that much. Diamond player lounge at the Rio has complimentary internet access. One buffet per day is more than enough. Donâ€™t rent from National â€“ their facility was further (and harder to find) than the otherâ€™s and their selection was rather lame. Using coupons and charging stuff to your room and then using comps toward your hotel bill is much easier and better than trying to cash out for a comp and running back and forth to the slot club. The women that work at Burger King at the airport are pretty cranky. The lazy river at Mandalay Bay has a really intense suntan lotion smell. Other pools were much better. We lost but since we had five free nights out there, free airfare and lots of free meals, it wasnâ€™t too bad. Looking forward to our kid-free trip in October!