DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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July 4th, 2010 at 10:24:16 PM permalink
OK, maybe it's not exactly 'downtown'. But it IS the only thing happening in this hole in the woods.

I'm at Foxwoods. Nothing like spending Independence Day at a Native American Casino!

This is going to be something of a casino review, although you should also check my thread where I compare Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. These two are only 9 miles apart, and are the only casinos in CT:
http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/other-casinos/1918-mohegan-sun-vs-foxwoods-comparisons/

This is all about the resort. I'll have a separate post about the casino and what rules I've noticed.

We got here Saturday 7/3 at about 9:30. The wife wanted to play in their FireCracker Bingo. It's got a $500 admission, with lots of $20,000 prizes, and a $1 million top prize. Sadly, she didn't win anything.

It's us, my brother and his wife, and another couple. My wife is the big gambler amongst us, and was able to get the best rates: $167 for two nights at MGM At Foxwoods.

We all wanted to check in, but she'd be in bingo until 5:00ish. We've hit resistance in this department at other casinos. Most insist that the person that qualified for the good rates be the one to check in. But driving up, she called, and got it so that I can check in, and sign off at the RACK RATE. She merely had to stop by sometime that day to get it rated back to her rate. Cool.

With bingo, the wife got a coupon for a free buffet. She doesn't go for buffets, so she gave me the coupon. I had lunch there. I've been there before and had liked it, but I didn't care for it this time. I have simple tastes and favor the cheap items that are usually on a buffet for the kids in the group. Stuff like fried chicken, mac & cheese, etc. So I didn't eat much. What I did eat was OK, but not great. Then again, maybe I'm the wrong person to write a food review.

Since check-in is at 4:00, and check-out is noon, I figured that 1:30 might be a good time to check-in with a good chance of getting at least one room. That way we could change and use the pool.

I met the rest of my group, except my wife, and we went to the front desk together. The line was Wendy's stye but nobody was on line. Although we were there about 20 minutes, when we were done, we got keys to all three rooms, AND at my wife's rate. Cool!

The only bad thing is that the rooms are on different floors. But that really didn't matter to us.

Then we go to the rooms. The room that was assigned to me was at the end of the hall, which is a problem for the wife, she likes to be near the elevator. And it had a very weird layout. The building has round ends. Not rounded, where the corners are round with, say, a 6 foot radius, but round, where the radius is half the width of the building. This meant that the end units were 1/4 circle shape. But designed with the same square footage. As a result, the furniture layout seemed to be squeezed in strangely.

My bother and his wife didn't care about that, so we switched rooms.

We went to the pool, which was great. A nice size, but it seemed a tad overcrowded. Then again, it was quite hot. The pool is outdoors, with a shallow section that's only 8" deep. Some pool chairs are in the pool. This shallow area was about 15-20% of the size of the pool. Then there were stairs to lead to the 'deep' section - if you call three feet deep. But I believe that shallow section helps heat the entire pool. The water felt like it was heated. Very nice.

The facility is so huge that there are shuttle busses. Actually, several of them that run different routes, but are not all that clear which goes where. The first time I used it, I waited about 15 minutes for a 2 minute ride. The next time I used it, I waited about 1 minute for TWO shuttles to show up at the same time. People are weird. Everyone was squeezing onto the first one, I went to the second one. I was alone, and told the driver I was heading to the poker room. 3 minutes later, we were there, and he mentioned that he's not supposed to stop where he did. There is no stop at the poker room doors. I tipped him a buck as thanks, but no regular stop at the poker room? WTF?

Dinner was at the Stadium Bar & Grill. We went there because they have a beer my brother loves. Unfortunately, they were out of it. The waitress says it doesn't sell much, so they only have one keg. Shouldn't they know when a keg is getting near empty to get a replacement? Whatever. We decided to stay anyway.I ordered for an app Fried Mac & Cheese. Any surprise there? It was interesting. I liked it. For my entree I ordered the burger with bacon & cheese. Apparently, there are TWO burgers that feature bacon & cheddar. One also has BBQ sauce. I'm not a fan of BBQ sauce, but that's the one that I got. It was OK, but not great. And the burger came out well done, although I ordered medium. Everyone with me thought the same about their meal: OK, but not great.

---

Today, the wife and I played bingo. No, not for $500. That's only once a year. With her $500 package, she got free entry for her for today. I paid $15. I think we added about $50 worth of specials. We didn't win, but it was a fun/cheap way to kill about 5 hours in a casino.

There's a snack bar in the bingo hall. When we first got there, I went and got us two egg sandwiches. Hers was Western, mine was a sausage. The rolls seemed day old, but weren't terrible. We actually liked them. And for $4.50 each, not too overpriced.

A few hours later, I got us a bowl of soup to share. Corn chowder. It was excellent.

We got out of bingo at 3:30. We had dinner plans for 7:30, so although the soup wasn't much, I didn't get anything else.

I get to the restaurant at 7:35. (Alta Strada in MGM) The other people are seated. My wife gets there 30 seconds later. The place is NOT busy. We're not thrilled with the menu, and want to ask the waiter questions. After 15 minutes of not being met by a waiter, and not even getting water, we decided to leave, and had a word about it with the manager. For whatever reason, the waiter claimed that I said that we want to wait until everyone arrives to order, etc. I never said such a thing, but even if I had, the last person showed up 30 seconds after I did, and we then waited 15 minutes!

So we left. After much indecision, we ended up going to Al Dente. The menu seemed great. The service was great. Until it was time to actually serve us the food. The salads came out about 45 minutes after we ordered. We ate them, a the staff cleared them about 20 minutes after they served it. then we waited about 30 minutes for the entree. It was a minute after one of the women got up to talk to the manager that the food came. Although I liked what I ordered (Cavatelli alla Bolognese - a fancy name for a fancy beef-a-roni), others were unhappy with what they got. My wife's food was cold. My brother ordered the Veal Parm that is part of a coupon offer. He said it tasted like it was prepared last week, and was rather small. The waiter then admitted that the coupon version IS smaller. There was other problems that I can't remember. The manager came over, we explained everything, and she took several of the items off the bill.

---

Tomorrow we go home, but not before having breakfast, and maybe lunch. I'll post some more about that afterwards. And I'll post about the casinos themselves later too.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
JerryLogan
JerryLogan
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July 5th, 2010 at 12:33:17 AM permalink
I'm sure you're having a great time and I hope your casino experience is at least slightly better than what you've gone through so far. But bingo, more bingo, fried mac & cheese(yuk!), cheap items in a buffet, egg sandwiches, lines like Wendy's, corn chowder, and beef-a-roni? Where you from, Appalachia?
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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July 5th, 2010 at 4:00:36 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

...And I'll post about the casinos themselves later too.



of course we are waiting for that!

Foxwoods needs to get with it, don't they know by now?
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
cclub79
cclub79
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July 5th, 2010 at 5:09:21 AM permalink
I was at both Foxwoods and MGM Grand the past week as well, and for the Craps players, the much maligned Fire Bet was on the felt at Foxwoods proper, but not at MGM Grand, in case you are a diehard Fire player. (I play it, but I don't need to.) I don't know if this had anything to do with timing, but Foxwoods gave drinks in plastic cups, and MGM Grand's were in glass. Craps limit was 5 at Foxwoods, 10 at MGM when I was there (Weekend early afternoon, Friday midafternoon).
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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July 5th, 2010 at 5:12:51 PM permalink
Quote: JerryLogan

I'm sure you're having a great time and I hope your casino experience is at least slightly better than what you've gone through so far. But bingo, more bingo, fried mac & cheese(yuk!), cheap items in a buffet, egg sandwiches, lines like Wendy's, corn chowder, and beef-a-roni? Where you from, Appalachia?

Hey! I said I have very plain, meat & potatoes tastes. But even that couldn't be adequately satisfied this weekend.

Bingo? Read my casino review coming later tonight or tomorrow.

'Beef-a-roni'? I bet it sounds better when I quote off the menu PDF:
CAVATELLI ALLA BOLOGNESE - $19
Fresh Cavatelli Pasta, Home-Made Bolognese Sauce, Herbed Ricotta

It tasted better than Beef-a-roni too, but that's the closest thing it resembled.

FYI: "Wendy's style line" is a phrase used often in the Wiz' reviews, meaning a single line feeding into multiple attendants. The alternative description is "McDonald's style line" where each window has a line. Personally, I'd have kept it generic and called them "Single line system" or "Grocery store style line". Whatever.

---

Final food reviews:

This morning we ate at Junior's Restaurant in MGM. The service was good until the food came out. The place was NOT busy. The food runner brought the food out and placed the tray on a stand near our table, but that's where it sat for close to two minutes before someone came over to serve it. Then, although this person was using the order sheet to verify who got what, four of the six dishes were given to the wrong person! And some of the food wasn't too hot, some of it was no good, etc.

For what it's worth, without me asking, and without anybody knowing I am writing this review, at breakfast they started talking about how, food-wise, everyone agreed that this trip had been a bust.

And it wasn't limited to the casino. My brother then told the story that on the way up, he stopped at a McDonald's rest stop for coffee. His mistake was stopping at the FIRST rest stop. Depending on where you're coming from, this is the first rest stop in 50 to 125 miles. (Word to the wise: The next McD rest stop is about 9 miles further.) He got there at about 8:30am and wanted two coffees. They had run out and it was going to take about 10 minutes to brew. How do you not keep plenty of coffee ready at 8:30am? Mind you, this particular McD is featured in a Travel Channel or Food Channel show as the busiest McD in the world!

We checked out after breakfast, and got lucky because there was no line. However, after we were done, there must have been at least 10 groups of people waiting to check in or out. There were only two clerks at the time. Although the people formed a single line, there were no ropes or stantions.

Between both of our player points, our hotel room was free. Sweet!

I then played some, and we left a few hours later. Because I knew I had about $10 left on my card after checking out, I stopped at Junior's Coffee Shop and got a turkey sandwich for the road. $6. I then threw some condiments in the bag and looked around for napkins. I didn't see any, so I asked. The guy behind the counter gives me ONE napkin - the same size as is used all over the casino. Small! I said "One? I'm gonna eat in the car..." He then handed me about 10 more. Considering it was pre-made (and I knew that going in) it wasn't bad at all.

---

I just counted my money, and ran my expenses in my head.

My share (for me and the wife) of the first dinner was $40, second dinner was $50 and breakfast was $28. I also bought about $30 worth of food at various quick/cheap stops, and spent about $65 on bingo.

I have $7 more in my wallet now than I did Saturday morning. Sweet! (My wife isn't saying how she did. Not a good sign...) I guess I'll have to write that casino review next....
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
SanchoPanza
SanchoPanza
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July 5th, 2010 at 5:42:59 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

For what it's worth, without me asking, and without anybody knowing I am writing this review, at breakfast they started talking about how, food-wise, everyone agreed that this trip had been a bust.


If you're up that way, it could be worth the trip to eat at Jasper White's place at the Mohegan Sun. When they're on, they produce outstanding food.
Quote:

there must have been at least 10 groups of people waiting to check in or out. There were only two clerks at the time. Although the people formed a single line, there were no ropes or stantions.


No automated or express checkout? Or was the clerk needed because of the points?
rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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July 5th, 2010 at 5:53:34 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

The line was Wendy's stye but nobody was on line.



Is it just me, or are the Wendy's style lines always at places with no wait, while the McDonalds style lines are always in places with huge lines?
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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July 5th, 2010 at 6:06:55 PM permalink
Quote: SanchoPanza

No automated or express checkout? Or was the clerk needed because of the points?

Because of the points. And I need to clarify. We didn't check out. We only paid. Checking out, according to the clerk, would have invalidated our keys. We then went up, finished packing, and checked out on the TV, where it indicated a zero balance.


Quote: rdw4potus

Is it just me, or are the Wendy's style lines always at places with no wait, while the McDonalds style lines are always in places with huge lines?

When I went back at 2:30 to claim my luggage and car, the line was long and wound all over the lobby. It was still Wendy's style, and still no ropes and stantions.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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July 6th, 2010 at 8:41:41 AM permalink
A review of the MGM facility and hotel room.

When we went to Mohegan Sun for Memorial Day, my brother an his wife told us that MGM was far better than Foxwoods, and even better than Mohegan Sun. I stuck up a conversation with random couple that I met at Mohegan Sun's pool, and they stated the same thing without my asking.

Note that MGM and Foxwoods are connected, and use the same casino chips.

As I remember Mohegan Sun's beds, they were overly mushy and so exceedingly comfortable to lay on, they were actually uncomfortable to sleep.

The bed at MGM was excellent. Very firm, but also very soft. It's hard to explain.

There was a refrigerator in the room, but it was full of service bar items, so it couldn't be used for personal items.

I had my laptop with me, so I searched for a safe, and was surprised to not find one. It was only when we were packing to leave, and I did the double check, that I found the safe. It is in the nightstand drawer! This means that any motivated person can steal the contents by simply sliding the safe, drawer and all, off the rails, and finding a method to open it off premises. While I think that such a motivated person would be rare, it's a really stupid design.

The bathroom was a nice size, although it had only one sink (I think the room we had a Mohegan Sun had two sinks). Nice size shower with a 61 nozzle shower head. We were staying two nights, so housekeeping left the open shampoo and conditioner in the shower, as well as replaced it in the countertop rack, AND provided an extra of each!

There was a hair dryer on a shelf, but just sitting there, not bolted down. That made my wife VERY happy as she likes to take the dryer, and use it while sitting on the bed.

The toilet was in a separate 'room' of the bathroom, but it didn't have it's own door. Very odd. However, the bathroom did have one feature I've NEVER seen in a hotel: An EXHAUST FAN! It was located above the toilet, which may explain why there was no door. (Kinda a dumb reason, since a short door that provides modesty yet still allowing ample airflow is a simple solution.) It was VERY nice to step out of the shower and not have a fogged up mirror.

Yeah, these couple touches make the MGM rooms better than average, but not so much that people go ape-shit over it, at least in my opinion.

---

The lobby and casino are on the same level, with a retail lined hallway between them. In the lobby, there is a view of the pool area, but no doors. Before I turned around, I noticed that the lobby restuarant had an outdoor section, so I went thru it to get outdoors to the pool. Except that put me on the wrong side of the pool. But I could see that not far from me there was a little gate in the pool fence, so I walked around to it, only to find the gate locked. Locked? What the heck for? If someone were to go out the gate and continue walking without turning, they'd be in the woods in 10 feet!

So I ended up walking all the way around to find the correct / single entrance to the pool.

I later found out that coming out of the elevators, instead of turning left to go to the lobby, I should have turned right to go past a restaurant, down a hall, out a door, and down a walkway to get to the pool.

---

As I remarked in my Mohegan vs Foxwoods thread, Foxwoods has a very corporate / shopping center feel, with a smattering of Indian design thrown in almost as an afterthought.

The MGM section also seems corporate, but more upscale, with a smatering of Asian design influences. Obviously trying to appeal to the Asian market. But the one time I really took notice of the background music, it was very young, hip sounding stuff.

---

Although BOTH of the MGM employees I asked denied it, it seems like the MGM and Foxwoods sections are run by two different companies. Or at least two divisions with very different mentalities and/or don't talk to each other. In addition to the differences I commented upon in the Foxwoods vs Mohegan thread, there are more. The minimum bets at the MGM casino were higher than at the three Foxwoods casino. Foxwoods has the FireBet, MGM does not. I didn't study the casino enough to tell you of rule differences. It's understandable that the cocktail napkins are branded separately, but the bottled water was branded separately too!

As I previously reported, the Foxwoods website has a property map for their section, the MGM website has no map. In the hotel room, and available at various customer service locations, was a version of this map that includes the MGM section. However, the errors that I had reported still exist. Namely, only one of the three Foxwoods casinos has the icon to indicate that it has table games and slots, one indicated slots only, and one indicates keno only!

The MGM casino on the paper map doesn't have the table games OR slots icon either!

However, on the large directory maps scattered throught the facility, the casinos DO have the correct symbols. I use the term 'scattered' because, in my opinion, in a facility in which it's so easy to get disoriented, there are far too few of them. And some of them do not have a "Directory" sign above it!

But it's a good looking, 3-D type map that has artistic flair. Here's a photo (pardon the crappy photo. My phone has a scratched lens.)
Admin note: removed image www.djteddybear.com/images/foxwoods_map_3d.jpg

My gambling report will come later today.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
ruascott
ruascott
Joined: Mar 30, 2010
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July 6th, 2010 at 10:51:43 AM permalink
DJ, Great detailed reviews. Looking forward to the gambling report.

On a side note, I thought I recall you saying you lived in Northern NJ...is there some reason you guys typicially go up to the CT casinos, rather than to AC? Are they closer, or do you just prefer them more?

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