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 didnâ€™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. Hereâ€™s my personal breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly (IMO). Warning: To anyone who thinks itâ€™s a good idea to jay walk across the strip, please think again. There are waaay too many distractions for drivers on the strip. Iâ€™d highly recommend avoiding the, â€˜six lane dash of deathâ€™. 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). Iâ€™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 â€œsplash zoneâ€ 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 wouldnâ€™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 (itâ€™s easier to tell if itâ€™s clean). -The walk to the MGM pools didnâ€™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 cafÃ© 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 â€“ for those who are iPOD savvy) -CafÃ© 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 â€˜The Whoâ€™ 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 CafÃ© now has a shop on the strip so we didnâ€™t have to travel to their hotel for souvenirs. :ÃžThe BAD:-I was disappointed in the strip as a whole: o The lights of the strip arenâ€™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 â€˜greenâ€™ than the neon but I would think that they could find alternatives that have more color and are still considered â€˜greenâ€™. 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, itâ€™s Planet Hollywood and the outside seems to look just like a building youâ€™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 â€“ EVERYWHERE). Another downside to these walkways is people walking slow when youâ€™re in a hurry. Itâ€™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 donâ€™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 thereâ€™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, Iâ€™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 wonâ€™t pick you up if theyâ€™re overly crowded (so you get to wait another 5 â€“ 15 minutes in 109 degrees), and the cost for four people on the monorail was too much. On top of that, I didnâ€™t want to mess with traffic/parking so we didnâ€™t rent a car. It seemed like any way we looked at it, there wasnâ€™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 wasnâ€™t aware that it changed but apparently the show needed to be sexed up. The pirate ship is now a crew of women and itâ€™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 thatâ€™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 wonâ€™t bother with it again. -Did I mention the garbage and porn all over the ground? Iâ€™ve seen it many times before but with the construction, it seems to have gotten worse. Why donâ€™t they make the owners of the flyers clean up these things??? The UGLY (things I should have missed): -TI pirate show -Walking the strip -Riding the Deuce (actually riding is fine, itâ€™s the waiting) -Eating breakfast at the Rain Forest CafÃ© -$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 wifeâ€™s and daughterâ€™s list of things to do â€“ not really mine) -Eat lunch/dinner at the Hard Rock CafÃ© -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.