Who went? Roz (secretary) and Fred (consulting engineer) Tony (retired cop) and Millie (data control) From the Washington, D.C. metro area Last trip: November 2002 at the Luxor Day 1 â€“ Sunday Left house at 5:30 a.m. for BWI Airport for 8 a.m. flight. (About an hour drive) Security lines awfully long and parking also a problem. Had to take off shoes and Fred was given the wand â€“ it was his belt buckle. A 757 gave us comfortable seating for a relaxing flight â€“ movie was â€œ Shanghiâ€ (or something, a Bruce Lee movie), beverage flight only so we brought our own snacks, arrived on time in Las Vegas â€“ 10:00 am. Guys waited for luggage and Millie and I checked in at the airport for our Ballyâ€™s accommodations. The $20 worked, she took it and thanked me and then gave me what I requested, which was for a renovated room high up â€“ got renovated rooms (2471 and 2472) across the hall from one another and on the 24th floor. We noted the long lines standing for security walk-thru to departing flights â€“ made mental note to arrive early for trip home. Caught shuttle to Ballyâ€™s and able to go to quick line for keys â€“ keys have Jubilee showgirl on them-cute. At first, clerk was a little ticked off finding out we checked in at the airport, said that the airport employees are not union, like that matters to me. She got over herself and honored the room assignments and gave us keys and coupon books, and we went up to start AC and drop off luggage. Rooms very large with sofa and desk â€“ 2 phones and Internet. Bathrooms smaller and marble â€“ lots of hot water, but weak pressure from the showerhead. Lots of towels, soap and shampoo â€“ no conditioner, safe, and ironing board/iron. Now 11:30 am and we are hungry, so set off on foot to Ellis Island. Our first visit to this casino. Not a far walk from Ballyâ€™s, but the heat and sun is intense and it is a relief to step into Ellis. The casino is small and dark and nothing fancy. Large bar right in the middle ($1 drinks 24/7) with restaurant taking up most space. Immediately enter the restaurant, seated quickly and hostess and waitress are both pleasant and we feel very comfortable. As this is a brewery too, the guys order some lager â€“ considered the home-brew root beer, but passed. Wonder of wonder â€“ they serve Coke here!! Clean restrooms, and someone always there cleaning up, and the soap dispenser is foam and the towel holders are movement sensor. True to all the info out there, Ellis Island does serve a sirloin steak dinner for $4.99 ($3.99 on Wednesdays.) And what a steak!! It is filet cut â€“ thick, juicy, and the taste is true and perfect. The salads are large, you have your choice of potato and the green beans are tasty and crunchy. Large portions. After lunch we go sign up for playerâ€™s cards â€“ The Passport. We try the slots and whoa what a thrill to hit every 2 to 3 pulls. Really, these machines are loose. Waitress comes around every 10 minutes or so. We are drinking and playing the slots- trying all different games to see if the casino slots are all loose â€“ they pretty much are. There are 2 cent wager machines, lots of game machines like Party and Little Green Men, but also video poker, and standard bars, double diamonds, etc. â€“ more nickel than anything else but still lots of quarter and dollar machines too. Looking around you see that people are playing intensely and quickly and building wins over 3,000 nickels or 400 quarters â€“ really. What was of real interest to us was the $1 BJ table (6-8 deck shoe) which opened at noon to 5 pm â€“ it was full, so skipped it today, however, plan to come back. The $5 BJ table was one deck. There is something special everyday â€“ match plays, double points, and drawings. Only drawback would be bussing in the old people â€“ really old, most need someone to look out after them, but they donâ€™t stay long. Many locals and dealers come here late at night to play â€“ we were told that things really get jumping around midnight. In fact, they were robbed one night the week we were there and the guy got away with $15,000 from the cage. Be prepared for walking out the door during the day â€“ even with sunglasses on it is brutal coming out in the sun after being in such a dark casino. There is a 7-11 next door. Day 2 â€“ Monday Woke early, still adapting to time change. I had a coupon for CafÃ© Lago at Caesars so this is where we went for breakfast at 8 â€“ no line. It is a buffet and well stocked with plenty of options including, lox and bagels, luncheon meats and omeletâ€™s made to order, and Chef Victor was entertaining and teasing. Area is large with booths and tables and you can even sit outside around the shaded pool if you prefer. Got to Flamingo, Harrahs and Casino Royale. Casino Royale had bonus money on Wheel of Fortune and Millie, Tony and I made ($35), Fred joined a $2 BJ table and stayed the afternoon, the rest of us went back to Ballyâ€™s for some pool time. Pool was OK but too many kids. Tickets for Ballyâ€™s â€œJubileeâ€ 10:30 p.m. The Titanic does sink. The sets are great, the entertainment is what you would expect, and the costumes are really fabulous. They definitely rehearse the ladies harder than they do the men. No fake boobs and the girls all had the same length of leg. Millie and Tony fell asleep. They had acrobats and they were exceptional, however, I would have preferred a comedian. This show is more interesting and better staged than Tropicanaâ€™s â€œFollies Bergereâ€ which we saw several years ago. Millie and Tony slept through that one too. We had $5.00 off coupons from the Park Place coupon book. Day 3 â€“ Tuesday Morning â€“ take cab to downtown, Binionâ€™s for breakfast and some playing â€“ but the slots are too tight so we venture out. Get beads from Mermaids and Bayou and those 99cent frozen drinks. Head to LV Casino and win $27 off a Harley slot machine. On to the Plaza, got our photo key chains and played the slots. Took in an afternoon show - free w/a drink â€“ singing impersonator that was fun â€“ the band is phenomenal. Back to Ballyâ€™s for pool. Tickets for Flamingoâ€™s â€œSecond Cityâ€ â€“ this was matriâ€™d seating, so we dropped him a $5 and got a great table for four center and near the front. A slow waitress came through â€“ she did not know what she was serving, kept asking if you could identify your own drink off her tray and she made up prices for the drinks. The show itself was most entertaining, funny, original, and I canâ€™t say enough about seeing this show. It will definitely be on our itineraries for future trips. We had 2/1 coupons I had sent for from Billhere, so this was a real deal. Dinner at Barbary Coast â€“ Victorian CafÃ©. A 24-hour place that serves American and Chinese. Decent food (they also have a steak special-but Ellis still wins hands down). Tony ordered the ribs, expected beef like we have on the East Coast â€“ these were pork. Wednesday â€“ Day 4 Head back to Ellis Island for $1 Blackjack and dinner â€“ total dinner bill for 4 was $23! Tony, Millie and I are newbies to BJ, but we had a terrific time and stayed at the table from noon to 5 pm. The dealers were friendly. Did not have to handle cards, everything was face up. I did leave the table early and played slots as some local sat down and was playing $5 and was pushing me to hit on two hands â€“ he irritated me so I pushed my money over to my husband and left after commenting that I didnâ€™t appreciate the extra advice. Learned later that he lost it all, I was happy about that. Went to the Comedy Improv at Harrahs. 3 comedians were cute and funny. No one picked on us like some comics do at these clubs â€“ and they were straight comics â€“ no jugglers. We like doing at least one comedy club a trip, and this met our expectations. Drink service OK. A photographer goes around insisting on clicking photos of couples and groups and wonâ€™t take no for an answer. At the end of the show he sells them for $10 â€“ very reasonable, and actually very good photos â€“ we bought all three. Tony and Millie head back to Ballyâ€™s for slot play, but Fred and I go to the wax museum at Venetian. Had 2/1 from Billhere, so cost us $20. I posed with everyone there and we were in and out within 20 minutes. It was empty. Stopped to watch the volcano at Mirage â€“ not as spectacular as I was told it was going to be, but now I can say I saw it. Stopped and got cheeseburgers to take back to hotel. Thursday â€“ Day 5 Had breakfast at Ballyâ€™s Sidewalk CafÃ©. Comparable to other cafes around town. Then off to Excalibur for our shuttle ride to Cowboy Adventures for a 2-hour ride around the rim of Red Rock Canyon. Driver was an hour late, and we almost gave up â€“ turns out the AC went out in the first car, so he had to get a second car. Fred stayed back at the hotel and Tony, Millie and I went out in the desert â€“ our horses did have names. The canyon is beautiful and some of the trails brought up your blood pressure. Of course, we are novice but got the hang of it rather quickly, and for the most part it was a slow ride with occasional trots that bounced us about some. Real cowboys take you out and one leads while the other makes sure everyone is doing OK. Hawk, our cowboy hung behind mostly with Millie, who clung to her horse the whole 2 hours in fear of falling trying to make her more comfortable. This was an interesting way to see the canyon and is really not far from the strip. They shuttle you if requested â€“ cost $89. They did encourage tipping continuously. I know Tony and I would do this again. We dressed in jeans, sneakers, covered shoulders and hats; some people showed up in shorts, tank tops and sandals and were very red at the end of the ride. Temps for this time of year run over 100 degrees and there is no shade and certainly no misters. Once again to Ellis Island for the Porterhouse steaks @ $3.99 for a late lunch/early dinner. Played more slots and then ventured to Aladdin for the free mugs and some slot play. Ended up back at Ballyâ€™s. We pulled the sofa up to the sliding glass doors and watched the fireworks across town. Day 6 â€“ Friday Last Day â€“ Slept in â€“ have now acclimated to LV hours. Fred and I walked to Ellis Island and had the $2.99 Bacon and Egg special. Began to play slots when Millie and Tony joined us. The BJ $1 table opened and we sat down for a couple of hands, but I wanted to get to the Bellagio to see the conservatory flowers. Tony and Fred stayed for the rest of the afternoon session of $1 BJ. Millie and I got to Bellagio took photos of the 4th of July display and wandered into the casino. Sat down at some nickel slots and played through two drinks â€“ surprised that the slots were giving us such long play. Stopped at a deli in Ballyâ€™s and picked up sandwiches for the hotel room, met back up with the guys ate our sandwiches and then dressed for â€œMomma Miaâ€ - $97 orchestra tickets at Mandalay Bay â€“ caught a cab and paid $10 for the trip up the strip. Looking forward to seeing this show for some time, but, very disappointed. Why are all these Americans on a Greek Island? The set was bare minimum, and the orchestra was mostly electronic keyboard subbing for other instruments, the theater was nice, the lighting equipment was phenomenal, the sound was too loud and the very start of the music was introduced with the loudest boom and no warning, they did this again after intermission. It is startling and really should have been reconsidered (if that is the way they always do it) after 9-11. There are TV screens hanging from the balcony toward the stage showing the music director singing along â€“ very distracting â€“ besides, I thought these were professionals and able to keep the tempo and know the words!! The show itself is light and cute, the ABBA numbers are fun, but not worth the $97 â€“ I say wait until your local high school does this production â€“ it is certainly not Broadway caliber. There were many empty seats in one section, although they boast selling out and having to get tickets early. The major hotels hold blocks of tickets and they sell them first come first serve to their guests prior to the day before the show date â€“ they do not sell on the day of a show. Saw lots of people waiting around to buy unsold tickets. Would have done this myself, but I really did believe they would be sold out. Bring back â€œChicagoâ€ â€“ now that is a show. Stopped in at Luxor, no fun on the slots. Millie and Tony decide to listen in on lounge show; Fred and I decide to walk back to Ballyâ€™s. We have been to Vegas many times, this was our first 4th/July however, and I hope that is the reason why, but the strip was full of teens and young adults â€“ masses of them starting at MGM and continuing all the way down the strip. Some stood in large groups, lots of drinking and smoking and yelling, in fact there were broken bottles and trash all over the place. Lots of very young parents with baby strollers and crying childrenâ€”this was 1 a.m. In the parking lot areas there were cars with the doors open and the radios blaring and people sleeping on grassy areas. Not use to seeing cops along the strip, but there were 5 on bikes and 2 on horses. Traffic was a mess as some of the groups traveled in pack and did not follow the pedestrian walk signs, so horns were honking all over the place. The escalators were not working at the overpasses or in the Bellagio, or were turned off to deter traffic into casinos. Ballyâ€™s walkway and escalator were still. I hope this was a July 4th experience only and not becoming a regular nightly occurrence. Day 7 â€“ Saturday Of course, we go to breakfast at our favorite new place-Ellis Island. Canâ€™t say enough good things about this place. We sit and play slots awhile but then decide to do some souvenir shopping at a store next to Battistas. Back to room to pack and check out and wait for shuttle pick-up at noon. Arrive at airport quickly and check-in. They had us take our bags to a special X-ray machine attendant instead of throwing them on the belt. Big warning about putting film in your luggage now, they remind you to carry it on. We got a table at Cheers and sat down for lunch and some drinks. Millie and I had some sort of frozen marguerite drink that was tall and tasted so good, but boy, did it pack a wallop. Tony had his traditional chili. Before boarding plane got some diet Cokes for Millie and me to take on the plane-from the Taco Bell place. Got on the plane and see it is an airbus â€“ yuck! Movie is a John Travolta military lawyer thing. Sit uncomfortably for close to 5 hours and then finally land. Back home by 1 a.m. Trip over, miss it already and plans in works for next vacation. Next time staying downtown and in cooler weather months. Never got to the Venetian or inside the Mirage or to Sahara â€“ still so much to do. Had a wonderful time thanks to all the info on this site from everyone.