smoothgrh
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December 11th, 2023 at 12:59:14 PM permalink
For this year’s family Vegas vacation during the winter break, I asked the teens if they wanted an active visit or relaxing visit. They went with “active,” so I bought a Go City Vegas 2-day pass through Living Social (Groupon) — $132/adult, $122/child.

The pass enables one visit to several touristy attractions and shows, like the wax museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Hop On, Hop Off double-decker bus, and many more.

The big catch is that some of the attractions like the Fly LINQ zipline or the High Roller require same-day reservations, so a desired time might not be available or even available at all. The other big catch, especially for a 2-day pass, is how many attractions one can logistically see to make the savings worthwhile.

Here’s my plan, and I’ll report how well this works out. We’re flying in Friday evening and staying at the Aria until early Tuesday. No rental car this time — only taxi or ride share.

SATURDAY
Reserve High Roller online (must be same day)
Reserve Fly LINQ zipline online (must be same day)
Reserve Piano Man tickets (must be same day at Planet Hollywood V Theater box office, open 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

9:10 a.m. Leave Aria
9:30 a.m. Reserve Piano Man tickets at PH V Theater box office
10 a.m. Madame Tussauds at Venetian (opens at 10 a.m.)
11 a.m. Grand Lux Cafe brunch?
Noon Walk around Venetian mall
1:30 p.m. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
2 p.m. Fly LINQ zipline (opens at 2 p.m.)
3:30 p.m. High Roller — daytime pass only (opens at noon)
Walk back to hotel

4-6 p.m. Aria rest/eat

6 p.m. Kyle Martin’s Piano Man (A Tribute to Elton John | Billy Joel) show at Planet Hollywood, 6:30 p.m. (75 min show to 7:45 p.m.)
8:15 p.m. FlyOver Las Vegas next door to Hard Rock Cafe, across Las Vegas Boulevard from Park MGM. Last ride 8:30 p.m. 8.5 min (1 hour total)
10 p.m. Big Apple roller coaster, NY-NY Casino, 11am to midnight
Park MGM tram back to Aria

Also available but logistically unlikely:
Real Bodies at Horseshoe, opens 11 a.m.
4D Experience at Excalibur noon to 10:40 p.m.

SUNDAY
Book “Escape IT” reservation online (must be same day)

Hoover Dam Highlights tour
Escape IT escape room experience
Area 15 Illuminarium
Walk around Area 15 free area

Also available but logistically unlikely:
The Tower at the Strat

We did the Eiffel Tower experience last year already. The Mrs. won’t be doing the zipline, and I was worried that she’d get too freaked out at this escape room, but she loved the movie “IT” and is willing to participate. Plenty of reservation times for IT were available the week before. There's also a $15 food and (non-alcoholic) drink voucher for Señor Frog's at TI, so does that mean $60 off lunch? Or one voucher per visit?! (Four tables for 1, please!)

Here’s the individual cost for each attraction:
$42 Madame Tussauds
$43 FlyLINQ
$25 High Roller
$60 Piano Man
$34 FlyOver Las Vegas
$25 Big Apple Coaster

$55 Hoover Dam Highlights tour
$55 Escape IT
$35 Illuminarium
($33 The Strat Observation Tower)

So if we do the first nine attractions as planned, that would be a $374 retail value, and a $242 savings from the $132 Groupon cost.

Wish us luck!
Last edited by: smoothgrh on Dec 11, 2023
SOOPOO
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December 11th, 2023 at 2:21:54 PM permalink
Sounds like a GREAT, well thought out trip! Can’t wait to read the trip report.
DRich
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December 11th, 2023 at 2:48:41 PM permalink
I lived in Las Vegas for 30 years and only did about three of those things. I may have been cloistered.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
JohnnyQ
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December 15th, 2023 at 8:16:18 AM permalink
Sounds like a good, fun plan.

How do you plan to get to Hoover dam ? We have had a rental car when we have visited there in the past.
There's emptiness behind their eyes There's dust in all their hearts They just want to steal us all and take us all apart
smoothgrh
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December 15th, 2023 at 9:24:31 AM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ

Sounds like a good, fun plan.

How do you plan to get to Hoover dam ? We have had a rental car when we have visited there in the past.
link to original post



The Go City pass includes a "Hoover Dam Highlights" bus tour through a company called National Park Express — you can make a reservation as soon as you buy the Go City pass. They pick up and drop off at Excalibur or the Horseshoe (the old Bally's).

Here's one couple's experience:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DviYrD-6srM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3BcEUETuFI&t=5s
smoothgrh
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December 20th, 2023 at 10:40:22 PM permalink
Another Vegas trip completed and more great memories made! My family arrived late last Friday night and flew out early Tuesday morning. This trip, like many others before it, affirms why I love Vegas — so many fun things to do and a chance to enjoy some lavish dining.

The weather the entire time was perfect — cool and partly cloudy. The places we visited weren’t too crowded so waits were short or nonexistent. On the first day, we walked from our Aria hotel room along the Strip all the way to the Venetian with ease. On the last night, to see the “Postcard from Earth” show, we walked to Caesars Palace for dinner, then on to the Sphere — easy peasy in the mild weather even at night.

Buying the Go City passes turned out to be great — I’ll write more details about them in a separate post. We did enough attractions to make it well worthwhile. Buying it from LivingSocial made it $132/adult and $123/kid. We did seven attractions (though the Mrs. didn’t do the zipline), so the average cost for each “entry” was $19. I calculated that the savings against buying full-price tickets was $172 per person!

I’ll also write more about each individual attraction later, but the favorite for us was somewhat of a surprise: the Hoover Dam Highlights tour. When we pulled into a random-looking park in Boulder City, I thought the bus driver was joking when she said that bighorn sheep, the Nevada state animal, were on the other side of the tennis courts. Well, they were, and being right there next to them was amazing! I also enjoyed the documentary about the building of Hoover Dam that played on the bus monitors — employee safety is no accident. The food at the dam cafe was surprisingly good. And the short hike up to the O’Callaghan-Tillman Bypass Bridge was a fun jaunt.





The family really enjoyed the Postcard from Earth show at the Sphere, and I liked it, but I was not blown away by the whole experience. I was thankful that I bought tickets in October for $49 (plus $9 Ticketmaster fee) each, because I checked prices afterward and see that my seats (section 308, row 10) now cost $89 each (and I also see that some “verified resale tickets” are $101 + fees and up). The cheapest nosebleed seats now start at $69. I can’t recommend it at that cost. I’m OK with having paid $232 for four tickets — anything more and I’d be upset.



We ate at relatively expensive restaurants like a Buchon lunch in the Venetian, dinner at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace, and breakfast at Egghead in Aria. The Mrs. had two to-go munchies meals from Din Tai Fung in Aria.

As far as gambling, I made some random sports bets that I shouldn’t have. I bet on California +3.5 against Texas Tech and the over (54.5) in the Independence Bowl to show school spirit for my son (and even he said he wouldn’t have bet on Cal). Well, the Red Raiders blew out the Golden Bears 34-14, and despite a 38-point first half, only 10 points were scored in the second half because both QBs made really bad throws. That’s gambling! I also made a huge blunder during some late night, no-limit $1-$2 hold’em at the MGM Grand — falling in love with A-Q after someone re-raised to $35 my $15 pre-flop raise. I flopped a queen, and should have folded on the river when faced with a $100 bet, but went all-in with my remaining $130 or so. He had pocket kings. An expensive poker lesson. I slept poorly that night. But all was better later when I put life in perspective. And I wrapped up this trip's gambling by getting quads in video poker for a $58 win. Overall, I lost $184 on a $300 bankroll.

FRIDAY
10:35 p.m.—Wait for Uber. Very busy rideshare area; 10:45 pickup
11:15—In the Aria room!

SATURDAY
10 a.m.—Leave room
10:30—Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile Shops for shopping and get tickets to “Piano Man” show at V Theater.
11:20 a.m.–12:22 p.m.—Madame Tussauds at the Venetian
1:15 p.m.—Bouchon lunch at the Venetian
2:20—walk to Linq
2:35—Elevator to FlyLINQ entrance
3:06—In line for High Roller
3:30—Apex of High Roller
4—Finished checking out Flamingo Casino wildlife habitat
4:15—Horseshoe food alley pizza for the kid
4:30–5:15—Real Bodies at Horseshoe
5:15—Walk through Paris. Some kind of U.S. Marine Corp event going on
5:35—Dinner at Hollywood Cafe in Planet Hollywood
6:30—Kyle Martin’s Piano Man: A Tribute to Billy Joel & Elton John
7:45—Back to Aria, watch Cal Bears lose!
11—Secret Pizza, Cosmopolitan
Late night—The Mrs. and I walked to Park MGM. I lost $48 on the Roy Choi slot machine. Not a single winner in 16 spins! At NY-NY High Limit bar, I ordered a Manhattan straight up and won $11 on $1 8-5 JoB. At MGM Grand, lost $150 on $1-$2 NLH.



SUNDAY
9 a.m.—Walk from Aria to Horseshoe
9:40—Board bus for Hoover Dam Highlights tour: Hemenway Park; Hoover Dam lookout (gift shop, porta-potties), Arizona; Hoover Dam Cafe; Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge; Boulder City antique shop; chose to depart at Treasure Island casino
4 p.m.—Arrive at Escape IT escape room
4:30–5:30—Escape IT "The Festival" (from "IT: Chapter Two")
6—Dinner at Bangkok Street Thai Street Kitchen, Downtown Las Vegas
8—Bellagio Conservatory



MONDAY
—Egghead breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, coffee
—Relax at Aria heated pool; Dole Whip with rum ($21!)
—Dinner at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Caesars Palace (Beef Wellington $85 3-course meal with onion soup and sticky toffee pudding; short rib kettle chip nachos, lobster mac & cheese, Scotch egg; and stout)
—7–9 p.m. Postcard from Earth at the Sphere
—Walk through Venetian back to Aria
—Aria sports bar video poker 9/6/4 Double Bonus poker (96.3%)

Last edited by: smoothgrh on Dec 21, 2023
SOOPOO
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December 21st, 2023 at 4:54:48 AM permalink
Quote: smoothgrh

Another Vegas trip completed and more great memories made!



Sounds PERFECT. I think of my family trips from decades ago a lot! You now have this one forever!
Joeman
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smoothgrh
December 21st, 2023 at 4:25:30 PM permalink
Wow, that was definitely an 'active' trip! Sounds like you and the family had a great time. Thanks for sharing!

Glad you got to hang out with the bighorns in the park in Boulder City! I first read about them on this site in Teddy's review of the Hacienda (now Hoover Dam Lodge). We have gone to see them twice since, and they were in the park both times we went.
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
JohnnyQ
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December 22nd, 2023 at 5:13:54 AM permalink
Great trip report but even better time spent with family. We did a few trips out to Vegas when my kids were, well, still kids.
There's emptiness behind their eyes There's dust in all their hearts They just want to steal us all and take us all apart
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