blount2000
blount2000
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January 15th, 2015 at 2:01:12 PM permalink
*** VEGAS TRIP – DECEMBER 2014 ***

I have been very fortunate to enjoy trips to Las Vegas once or twice per year for the last few years. I recently returned from my Winter 2014 visit, and wanted to once again share my experiences through a trip report.

As I’ve noted in prior reports, my jaunts to Vegas typically consist of me and my son. However, this particular trip was comprised of me and my wife. She had never been to Vegas before and, after years of listening to stories about the fun my son and I have, she expressed an interest in going. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary around that time, and putting a Vegas trip into the mix was a nice addition.

Our trip was from Thursday, December 11th, through Monday, December 15th, 2014. Our room was at New York-New York Hotel, and we had a rental car for our transportation needs. Since it was my wife’s first trip to Vegas, we enjoyed quite a few events such as a Cirque show, Hoover Dam, Fremont Street, etc., etc. I had already taken part in some of these activities on prior trips, but it is always a delight to enjoy them again with someone who is experiencing them for the first time.

My Vegas trip reports are usually fairly light on the gambling & drinking (I’m a lightweight at both, my wife even more so than me), and fairly heavy on the eating & activities. This Winter 2014 report will be no exception, although hopefully it will still provide some entertainment to the reader.

I will make a separate post below for each day of our trip, and will include some pictures & such wherever I can. And, as usual, I'll blur out our faces on any photos to protect the innocent.


:)
You serious, Clark?
blount2000
blount2000
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
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January 15th, 2015 at 2:01:36 PM permalink
DAY 1 OF 5 - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11TH

My wife and I had been anticipating and making plans for this trip for several months, so we were excited when the day finally arrived. We had purchased tickets (with points) on Southwest for a non-stop flight which was scheduled to depart Nashville at 11am CDT and arrive in Vegas at 1:15pm local time.




We arrived at the airport two hours before the scheduled flight, parked the car, and took the shuttle to the terminal. Things at the Nashville airport always seem to run pretty smoothly, so we made it inside the gate area with plenty of time to spare. And, as is my tradition, I utilized my spare time to enjoy a bacon/egg/cheese biscuit & a coke ($10) from Whitt’s BBQ inside the terminal. The meal was tasty as always, and it served to mark the official start of the trip (since it is the first expenditure).






Our flight boarded, and we took our seats in the very last row of the airplane. Sitting in the last row makes deboarding kind of slow, but it also eliminates the possibility of somebody sitting behind you and bumping your seat during the flight. I like to catch a few zzz’s when flying, you know? :)




The plane took off on time, and we were soon in the air on the way to Vegas! The flight was nice and smooth, and about 3½ hours later we were passing over Lake Mead on our decent. My wife had chosen the window seat, and she was pleased to see (and take a picture of) Hoover Dam from the air on our way in.




After landing and deboarding, we retrieved our luggage from the baggage claim area and then made our way to the rental car shuttle. I had reserved a full size car through Enterprise, and we ended up with a dark blue Hyundai Sonata. We were offered a free upgrade to a mini-SUV, but declined since we knew we were not going to check in to the hotel immediately and didn’t want our luggage visible through the back windows when left in the parking lot. Anyway, we were very pleased with the Sonata since it had a spacious trunk and a smooth ride ($171).




The first item on our itinerary was a light lunch at Fuddruckers in the Orleans Casino, so we put the address into the GPS and headed that way. Finding a place to park at the Orleans was not super easy, but we eventually found a spot and made our way inside. We were both pretty hungry by then, so we were looking forward to enjoying a good meal from Fuddruckers.






I chose a bacon cheeseburger combo, and my wife selected a gluten-free burger served on a bed of lettuce. Both burgers were very tasty, and it was nice to eat at one of our favorite “chain-type” restaurants that we don’t have access to in Tennessee ($21).




We finished our meal around 2:30pm, and then went back to the car to head over and get checked in to the hotel. Although my son and I usually prefer to stay at the Rio (or Harrah’s), since this was my wife’s first trip to Vegas I thought she might enjoy staying at one of the main Strip hotels. So I had chosen New York-New York as the hotel for our trip this time.




Check-in went smoothly, and we ended up with a Madison Avenue room on the 8th floor ($439 total for 4 nights). As you can see from the room-map picture below, our room was kind of on the “corner” of the building so it had a little extra space in it.




The room itself was very spacious and comfortable, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in it. Although the NYNY roller coaster was pretty close outside of our window, it didn’t ever disturb us at all. They must have some good sound-insulating windows!




We got all of our stuff unpacked and situated, and then decided to go downstairs and explore the property a bit. We strolled around for a while checking things out and familiarizing ourselves with where everything was located. I of course noticed one of my favorite pizza places in Vegas, New York Pizzeria (NYP), on the upper level of the property and vowed to try to eat there at least once on this trip. All of the restaurants on the “official” itinerary had been researched and chosen by me to accommodate my wife’s gluten allergy, and NYP unfortunately didn’t fall into that category. However, I kept high hopes that I’d get to enjoy some NYP before it was over with (which I ultimately did).




We finished exploring around 5pm or so, and since we had a show to attend we decided to ease back up to the room to get ready. After a brief period of relaxing in the room, we headed down to get the car and make our way over to the Paris to catch the 7pm showing of Jersey Boys.

There was some construction around NYNY, and it ended up being a bit of a challenge every time we left the hotel during the trip. It was a right-turn-only out of the parking garage onto Tropicana, so we had to drive over I-15 and then do a u-turn at the bottom of the hill on Dean Martin Drive to get back on Tropicana headed the correct way. We took Tropicana past the MGM and then made a left on Koval Lane in order to ultimately get to the parking garage for Paris.

We arrived at Paris around 6:15pm and had plenty of time to park and make our way inside to find the theater. We were in our seats by 6:45pm and were ready for the show.






I have seen several shows in Vegas over the years, and Jersey Boys turned out to be one of my two favorites ever (second only to LOVE at the Mirage). At 2 hours+ it was a fairly long show, but it had a short intermission about halfway through. For me, it was one of those events that is so entertaining it seems to fly by without any dull moments and is (sadly) over with before you know it. Long story short, my wife and I both loved the show and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

I had thought about trying to sneak a quick picture during the performance, but I’m glad I didn’t. A lady sitting right in front of us pulled out her phone and started taking a video during the show, and about 30 seconds later an usher appeared and made her stop. The usher then made her pull up the video on her phone and delete it right there on the spot. Awkward!

We left Paris around 9:20pm and headed back to NYNY. We had originally planned to have some dinner either before or after Jersey Boys, but we were both still somewhat full from Fuddruckers and decided to just go to the room and enjoy some of the light snacks we had brought with us. It had been a fairly full day with all of the traveling and such, so we called it a night pretty early. The room was quiet and the bed was comfortable, which made for a good night’s sleep to recuperate from the first day’s activities!
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DAY 2 TO FOLLOW…
You serious, Clark?
Beardgoat
Beardgoat
Joined: Apr 2, 2012
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January 15th, 2015 at 2:12:28 PM permalink
Looking forward to the report as always
EvenBob
EvenBob
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January 15th, 2015 at 2:14:16 PM permalink
Oh no, the faceless people again. What do
your photo ID's look like.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
HowMany
HowMany
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January 15th, 2015 at 2:24:40 PM permalink
I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Thanks.
blount2000
blount2000
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
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January 15th, 2015 at 4:01:28 PM permalink
Quote: Beardgoat

Looking forward to the report as always


Quote: HowMany

I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Thanks.


Thanks! Posting the report sort of allows me to "re-live" the trip again. Lots of great memories!


Quote: EvenBob

Oh no, the faceless people again. What do
your photo ID's look like.


Lol. They don't look much better, I'm afraid. :)
You serious, Clark?
blount2000
blount2000
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
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January 15th, 2015 at 4:02:02 PM permalink
DAY 2 OF 5 - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12TH

I’m an early riser, so I was up around 5:15am Friday morning and proceeded to embark upon another one of my little Vegas traditions… which is to sneak out by myself and enjoy a caramel macchiato from Starbucks while playing some of my favorite penny machines. I have found this to be a nice relaxing routine, and it is a great way to start out my day when on vacation.

NYNY has a 24-hour Starbucks, so I didn’t have to wait until 6am for it to open like I’ve had to do on previous trips at other properties. I gave the cashier at Starbucks my MLife card and asked if there were any points on it to pay for the coffee, and I had a cool $6 on there. So the coffee on that first morning was free (although I never earned enough points to get another one free on this trip). :/




Coffee in hand, I slow-played some of my stacked lions, dragons, and panda machines and got a couple of small hits here and there.








I had planned to play some VP, but had a hard time finding any machines at the 5 cent level that weren’t multi-line machines. So I played a few hands in a quarter machine as well as a multi-line nickel machine. On the nickel VP machine I was dealt 3 of a kind on my first hand, and it had some kind of multiplier thing already activated on it where it paid me 12x my bet on one line. I think you had to be betting the max to keep it activated (which I wasn’t), so the multiplier feature didn’t stay on.






A member on another Vegas forum I like plays quite a bit of the Caveman Keno game, so I tried giving that a shot. I really liked the slow pace of the play, but unfortunately I didn’t win anything picture worthy.

Around 7am my wife texted me and said she was up, so I swung back by Starbucks to pick her up a regular coffee ($4) and then headed back to the room to get ready for the day’s activities. The original plan for Friday had included a trip to Hoover Dam, but because there was now rain in the forecast we switched the itinerary around and moved several of Saturday’s planned activities to Friday (and vice versa).

After getting ready, we headed out for breakfast at Crossroads at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay. We intended to ride the tram from Excalibur down to Mandalay Bay, but when we walked over there we discovered the tram didn’t start running until 9am. Since it was only 8:15am, we decided to just get the car and drive over there for breakfast. We took a few pics before going to get the car.








We arrived at Mandalay Bay around 8:30am and proceeded to walk from the parking garage into the casino. We found the Crossroads restaurant and put our name on the list. It was a short 10 minute wait for a table, and we were seated around 8:45am.






For the meal, I went with the chorizo breakfast burrito and my wife chose the Three Amigo skillet. Service was prompt and we were enjoying our food in no time. Both dishes tasted delicious, but I think her skillet was maybe a little better (although it was way too large to finish). I had a 2-1 LVA coupon (with drink purchase), so the meal came to a total of $28 including tax + tip.




We left Mandalay Bay around 9:45am and took a leisurely drive over to the Gold Coast to play some bingo. After getting my B-Connected card reprinted, we eased on upstairs to the bingo hall to purchase our supplies. While my wife went to the back of the room to get us some daubers out of the vending machine, I stood in line and got each of us a blue paper pack and an electronic machine to share ($30 total).






The bingo session started on time at 11am, and we had a great time playing. My wife had not played bingo before, so it took her a moment to get the hang of things. The caller was calling the numbers mighty fast which put some pressure on her during the initial learning phase. She quickly got the hang of it though and really enjoyed it. We didn’t hit any bingos this time, but we got within 1 number on several of the games which was exciting.

The session ended at noon, and my wife said she wanted us to stick around the Gold Coast for a little while so we could play bingo again in their 1pm session. This was fine with me, so we eased downstairs to look for a $5 Pai Gow Poker table to play in the meantime.

We didn’t have any luck finding a $5 PGP table, so we ended up sitting at a $5 three-card-poker table. We both bought in for $100 and proceeded to play for about 40 minutes. I had explained to my wife that I always played the Q-6-4 strategy, so she played the same way. We had a brand new dealer who was very friendly and always asked if she was paying us correctly (which she was).

Things kind of went up and down at the 3CP table, but ultimately ended up down. We both cashed out with around $75 each, so that was a $50 loss between us. My wife opined that gambling is probably more fun when you are winning money. I told her winning money in casinos wasn’t really my style, so I wouldn’t know too much about that. ;)

After the light beating we received at the 3CP table, we headed back up to the bingo hall for the 1pm session. I bought the exact same setup as before, but for some reason it was only $29 instead of $30. We once again enjoyed an hour’s worth of entertainment, but also failed to hit a bingo this time as well.

Bingo’ed out for the time being, we decided to proceed onward to the next item on our agenda which was to go check out the Bellagio Conservatory. It was still raining and traffic was a bit heavy, but we ultimately made our way to the parking garage at the Bellagio around 2:25pm. We weren’t sure exactly where the conservatory was located, but we lucked up and it turned out to be right inside where we entered from the parking garage. It was decorated in a Christmas theme, and we really enjoyed all of the festive exhibits.










Finished at the Bellagio, we walked across the Strip to Planet Hollywood in order to stop by the box office at the Saxe Theater and pick up our tickets for the show we were planning to see later in the evening. The theater box office is located on the far side of the Miracle Mile shops, so it was quite a walk!

Tickets now in our possession, we walked back through Planet Hollywood and enjoyed a late lunch at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro near the front entrance of the casino. We were seated around 3:30pm, and service was quick since it was between the regular lunch and dinner hours.

I ordered the sesame chicken with iced tea, and my wife ordered the Chang’s spicy chicken with iced tea and egg drop soup. My wife found her dish to be excellent, and mine was pretty good as well. I think my favorite sesame chicken is at Koji’s in the Orleans, and this wasn’t quite as good as theirs (in my opinion). Total for the meal came to $42 with tax + tip.






We left P.F. Chang’s around 4:15pm and walked back to get the car at the Bellagio. Full and satisfied from our meal, we headed back to NYNY to rest up in anticipation of our 7pm show.

We recuperated in the room and filled out some postcards & such until around 5:45pm, and then proceeded to execute our Friday night plans which consisted of seeing VEGAS! The Show at Planet Hollywood at 7pm. We exited NYNY and did the now familiar u-turn on Tropicana to get back to Koval Lane and made our way to the Planet Hollywood parking garage.

VEGAS! The Show is a production show that tells the history of Las Vegas through multiple musical performances with some variety acts in between sets. My son and I saw this show back in June of 2012 and were both very entertained, so I thought my wife would probably enjoy it as well. I was right, and she did indeed enjoy it very much!








The show was over around 8:15pm, and we slowly exited out of the showroom with the other patrons. We had plans to walk around and do some sightseeing back down at the south end of the Strip, so we immediately retrieved the car and drove back to NYNY.

After parking the car at NYNY, we walked on over to the MGM to check things out. The National Finals Rodeo was finishing up while we were in Vegas, and it was VERY crowded at the MGM. So crowded you could barely walk through the casino! We quickly decided that we’d had enough of the MGM for the moment, and walked on out to the Strip at the ground level. We stopped by the Grand Avenue store right by the MGM to buy some 2015 Vegas calendars (5 for $5), and swung by the nearby Walgreens for a few items as well (bottle waters, etc.).

We did a little more strolling around and enjoying the lights before heading back to NYNY.










Even though it was a little after 10pm by now, upon entering NYNY I knew it was my time to score a piece of that NYP pizza! I asked my wife if she was hungry, and when she said no I said I was thinking about getting some NYP. She secured a small 2-person table while I went up to the counter to select my slice of pepperoni pizza. It was as tasty and crisp as I remembered, and I was mighty happy to enjoy it.




We then walked around the casino for a short while before heading back to the room around 11pm. It was once again a nice quiet night with plenty of good sleep!

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DAY 3 TO FOLLOW…
You serious, Clark?
GWAE
GWAE
Joined: Sep 20, 2013
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January 15th, 2015 at 4:08:42 PM permalink
It makes me sad that you vultured with min bet.
Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed. I AM NOT PART OF GWAE RADIO SHOW
blount2000
blount2000
Joined: Oct 15, 2010
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January 15th, 2015 at 4:24:29 PM permalink
Quote: GWAE

It makes me sad that you vultured with min bet.


I hear you. I sure didn't know what I was doing on that one.

I saw it was a nickel machine that had a low minimum bet, and I was surprised when it paid 12X on that line. Made me wish I had bet a lot more.
You serious, Clark?
Scan
Scan
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January 15th, 2015 at 4:26:47 PM permalink
Great reporting....... Thanks

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