Monday, November 28, 2011

Escape to Las Vegas

See my glitter shirt?  Watching Donnie and Marie

 We went to Las Vegas for 4 days 9 years ago with a tour of Hoover Dam and we have always wanted to go back.  Thanks to our children who gave us gift money to go for our 40th wedding anniversary, we started to make plans.  We knew that we wanted to see some shows, the Grand Canyon and do some slots. 
We thought that Thanksgiving Week would be a good week to go to with hotel prices low and not too crowded.  The kids were all with the in-laws and didn’t need us.  Well, we got good prices but it was so crowded!  We should have gone the week before or after.  My only other complaint was the smoke in the casinos.  Otherwise we had a great time! Read my other post about the wonderful side trip to the Grand Canyon

First we looked at hotels. We remembered the Bellagio and wanted to stay there but the price was 3 times as much as the Mirage, our second choice. I spent a lot of time looking at prices and I found that when we joined M- Life (free), we got a discount on the room.  That was the best deal!  They gave us a room at the end of the hall but it was quiet.  I didn’t like the long walk but everything is a long walk in Las Vegas!  When we got to the hotel we got the M-Life card that we plugged it in to the slots and received “credits”.  It was fun to see how we went up to 28 credits.  (It takes thousands to go to the next level up.) When I left the card in one of the machines by mistake, they gave me another one and a lanyard to attach to it.  That is why there is a whole punched on the corner! 
See the buffalo on the corner?
We were tempted by the tables and watched but decided that we didn’t want to loose money.  If the slots were any indication, we were not on a lucky streak!  We found the games confusing.  I asked if anyone gave lessons, but no. We’d sit at the slots when walking the strip to rest our feet.  We did a little of the poker lots and but didn’t like it – because we lost too quickly.  At the Mirage we found a machine that had a buffalo that made a noise when you won, and that gave bonus spins.  That became our favorite.  We’d start with $5.  We each played until we lost the spin then the other person played. Once we got to $36 and stopped at $20 and cashed it.  Another time we got to $23 and cashed it at $10.  Mostly we would only win back to the $5 or up to $9 and then back down until we used it all up.  Sharing the spins made it fun!

The Mirage has a “Secret Garden” with dolphins and lions.  The trainers were entertaining and we got so close to the dolphins!  We recommend it.
We walked to most of the hotels on the strip to see the lobby and what attractions some of them had.  They were so pretty!   
Treasure Island Hotel

Venetian - gondola outside ride - new ice rink show

My Ceasar - at Ceasar's Palace

MGM Grand -Lion Habitat - feeding them by hand!

Excalibur Hotel

Our favorite hotel display was the Bellagio.  In the Paris we rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower (tickets 2 for one).  The Venetian Gondola Ride with a singing gondolier was great! The Reef at the Mandalay Bay had very active octopus and jellyfish.  I chickened out on riding the roller coaster at the New York.  People who got off said it was good but I just didn’t want to get “sick.”  I guess my days for roller coasters are over…   
We found the shuttle to the Rio, and discovered that some of the hotels have walkways or shops that connect them.  It’s much better than walking on the street.  We took a taxi one time.  The busses were cheap burt crowded and the monorail was good but cost $5 each way.  We recommend good walking shoes.  I was dressed up except for the shoes! (I mean nice pants and tops – no dresses!)  We didn’t go to the night clubs where maybe the people were dressed up?!

For shows we enjoyed Donnie and Marie, David Copperfield, and the Circ de Soleil of the Beatles.  I picked up several souvenir glasses that people left behind.  (It reminded me of collecting the team cups at the football games!)

 We loved the buffet.  It is really the cheapest way to eat.  We usually had breakfast and another meal and were not hungry, and I only gained 2 pounds.  Some the dinner prices ($10 more) start at 3 others at 4 pm.  We started with the buffet at the Mirage until we discovered the ones in other hotels were also good and had atmosphere.  Our favorite was the Pairs.  I recommend the crème Brulee there.  I ate 2 of them! There as in some of the hotels you can buy a pass for the buffets but we didn’t know about it right away.  Check it out when you go.
The New York Hotel

Display in the Bellagio

Other things:  Get the little books for coupons at the hotels and monorail– not the stuff the people give out on the street.
We did not plan transportation to the hotel in advance because we read that there were shuttle busses and there were several to choose from.
We booked shows in advance but none were sold out so only buy in advance if they give you an upgrade online.
We did not take our computer but the hotel printed our plane tickets free and since neither of us have a smart phone, we did without email for a week!  There are booths that you can pay to access the internet.
Write me your questions and comments.  We would like to go back.  There is so much to see and do!

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