Viva Las Vegas 2013 Anniversary Trip

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted here!  I just haven’t had a free moment to even compile my thoughts on what to write about.  We just completed a trip to Las Vegas and I thought I would wait a few days to write up my trip post, especially since there was so many lives affected in OK during the storms this weekend.  It just didn’t seem right to blab about our fun while there are so many people hurting right now.  My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the storms.

I’m going to take a little bit of a different stance on my trip post this time around and instead of giving you a play by play, I thought I would just list some highlights an lowlights.  This makes our…14th, maybe 15th, maybe 16th….oh hell, I don’t know how many trips we’ve taken to Vegas in the past 12 years but this is how we usually celebrate our anniversary and this year was no different.

HIGHLIGHTS:

- The Mirage:  Every time we pull up in that front drive, it feels like home. Walk in and you get hit with that coconut smell that we are all too familiar with.  Yes, it’s changed a bit throughout the years but overall it’s still the same Mirage.  We had a flawless check in.  It was early and even though we really wanted a strip view, we really wanted to get to the room more so we agreed to a roof view room on the 2nd floor (even tho the agent offered a strip view if we wanted to wait until later)

Ugly fish behind the Mirage front desk

Ugly fish behind the Mirage front desk

- MyVegas: Playing the heck out of the MyVegas Facebook game really paid off.  We got 2 free show tickets (more on that later), $50 in credit for Monte Carlo dining (more about that too), BOGO buffet at Mirage (more coming) and 2 free shark reef passes.  We didn’t end up using the shark passes, as we didn’t have time to go all the way down to Mandalay Bay this trip.  Wonder if I can get my points back?  Overall, not a bad deal for playing a game!

- Social Rewards: Between my husband and I, we had over $100 in Total Reward credits that we used for food while we were there that I racked up on socialrewards.com.  It covered some free Starbucks, a dinner and a lunch!  Eating for free never gets old.

- The Food: We ate some good food this time around and only had one not-so-good meal.  On arrival day we had lunch at BLT Burger, and I had a salad (I’m a vegetarian) which was yummy.  My husband had a burger (go figure) and he said it was good.  The prices are high but that’s what you get in Vegas.  No more $3 meals on the strip anymore!

We also had a BOGO coupon for dinner at Hash House A Go-Go inside the “new” Quad.  Man, you need a map or GPS to find it now that they are remodeling.  It’s up on the second floor hidden out of sight.  Seeing this place on Man Vs. Food and Diners Drive Ins and Dives, my husband had to see that 15″ pancake in person.  I had a portobello “burger” which was just ok but the pancake was amazing.  Word to the wise…don’t ask for any “special” alterations to your meal.  Mine came with goat cheese and I can’t stomach goat cheese so I asked the server if they could substitute another kind of cheese.  He said “We don’t do substitutes but I can tell the chef to leave the cheese off”  I was like “oooookkkkkaaaaayyy….???”  He looked all serious and said “Yeah, our chef is pretty strict on the way he makes things”.  Whatever dude.  We used Total Rewards points to pay for dinner so it was free!

Must be the “strict” chef

15" pancake

15″ pancake

my portobello burger (no cheese of course)

my portobello burger (no cheese of course)

Our $50 dining credit was used at Monte Carlo’s Diablos Cantina.  All the times I’ve walked by this place and never knew it was actually part of the MC casino.  I had a vegetarian burrito and my husband had the street tacos.  It was soooo good.  I couldn’t finish my burrito and I regret not eating it all!  The chips and salsa are to die for as well.  Credit very well used.  Not really a highlight but while we were eating, but right after my husband ordered his “street tacos”, we witnessed a tourist getting a street taco of her own.  This older lady tripped while crossing the street and face-planted (literally) onto the pavement.  She busted her forehead open and had to be taken by ambulance to get checked out.  She seemed to be ok and in good spirits but what a crappy way to spend your Vegas vacation!!  Poor thing!

yummy veggie burrito

yummy veggie burrito

"street" tacos

“street” tacos

More of our Total Rewards points were used at Toby Keith’s inside Harrahs on the way to catch the monorail.  I always like this place.  Warning…all the girls wear ass-less pants.  We got quite a shock as the hostess turned around to lead us to our table.  My husband was like “hello!”  (no, no picture here) I had another salad and my husband had another burger which looked to be so juicy it was falling apart all over the place.  Another free meal.

-”Love” at the Mirage:  We’ve seen this before from further back but this time thanks to MyVegas we viewed it from the 2nd row.  Total value of the tickets was $340.  Again, for free.  It was completely different seeing it from that point of view, I noticed things I never did before and it was neat to be able to closely watch the performers expressions etc..  Overall I would say that if it is your first time seeing this show (or any Cirque show) it’s best to see it from seats that are further back.  You don’t get to completely take it all in from up close since so much is always going on all around you (and above you!).  I could watch the opening act every minute for the rest of my life!

Love

Love

our seats section 108 row D

our seats section 108 row D

-The Billboard Music Awards at MGM: Our trip dates put us there while they were having the awards.  I jumped on some $75 tickets and we really enjoyed it.  Friends and family say it came out like a train wreck on TV but live it was pretty awesome.  There really is no other place you can ever see so many performers at one time, in one place.  I am a Justin Bieber fan (I have a teen daughter) so I won’t say too much about the debacle of his Milestone award…other than I think he was totally disrespected and especially watching his facial expressions now up close on the replays — he was really shocked and confused.  He reacted like any kid would and yes, he’s still a kid so I think that was completely uncalled for.  I had to hold back from punching some fat ugly old man two rows down from us who was participating in the booing.  I thoroughly enjoyed his performances and that kid puts on a good show.

One funny thing was that the girl sitting next to me had to have been no more than 15 years old and from Brooklyn — a fan of Nikki Manaj — who, in a heartbeat I would boo her skanky ass off stage.  She’s just nasty and has no talent (nor class) whatsoever (I know, my opinion) .  When she came on this girl lept up out of her seat and started gheto rapping…flapping her arms around and all screaming (in her best New York accent laden ghetto gangster voice) “Yeah!  That’s how we do it!”.  My husband warned me I better keep my opinions of Nikki Manaj to myself or else that girl was going to seriously kick my ass.

We arrived at the MGM at 3pm and left around 830…how they got 10k people in and out of that arena is beyond me.  As we were walking through the casino about 30 minutes after the show, a tall guy was leading a smaller guy around by the back of his neck fairly quickly.  He had a jacket over his head (the smaller guy).  They walked right in front of us.  As they kept walking a mob of people started to chase them….so we did too.  They disappeared into a club.  I’m pretty sure that was either Justin Bieber or Bruno Mars by his size.  Of course, I had to text my daughter and tell her JB had just walked right in front of me!  To which she replied in teenage text-speak “0.0″

Just for the record — Christina was not lip syncing.  I watched my video and then the video of the broadcast and noticed that they edited it for TV by playing her recording over her real live voice.  What a terrible thing to do.  She sounded great live and it was totally unnecessary!  Now, JLo, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift?  Yeah I think they lip synced live too…it sounded way too perfect to be live.

Please excuse the blurry pics and video.  We were in section 205…WAAAY back there but I tried to zoom in.  I got tired of captioning the pics…I figure you can tell who they are..

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From our seats

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MGM Arena

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Tracy Morgan

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Shania Twain

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Selena Gomez

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SG

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SG

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Taylor Swift

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TS

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TS

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TS

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Selena Gomez

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PSY

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PSY

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Madonna

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TS

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Miley!

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JB’s first award

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JB

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Ed Sheeran

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JB

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Ed Sheeran ( I loved his song)

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so pretty!

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JLo in her muppet suit

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JLo

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JLo

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JLo

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JLo

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Beaming

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Wiz Kalifa maybe??

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the Biebs

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David Guetta’s pretty awesome

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Prince…what’s up with the fro dude?

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-The weather: We had sunny skies and a cool breeze the entire trip, it was amazing.

Bellagio

Bellagio

-The drinks: I don’t know what was up this trip but we had great cocktail service.  Wherever we played, a CW soon arrived and kept the drinks going.  I always tip $1 a drink but in past trips, can never get service!  My Mojito at the Wynn was by far one of the best ever and I enjoyed quite a few tasty black russians at the Mirage.  Even my husband, who never drinks, kept throwing back Coronas and margaritas.

-Our cabbie on the ride back to the airport: We had the nicest cab driver take us back to the airport.  I always fear of getting long-hauled but he assured us that wouldn’t happen and it didn’t.  We were at the airport in less than 15 minutes and it cost $14.  I gave him a $20.

More pics:

Hell yeah, I love Starbucks, especially Starbucks in VEGAS!

Hell yeah, I love Starbucks, especially Starbucks in VEGAS!

bellagio5

Bellagio Conservatory Pictures

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bellagio2

bellagio

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Alan

We saw Alan at Caesars…

Palazzo

Palazzo

Now for the

LOWLIGHTS

-The gambling: Have we ever had a winning trip?  Yeah, back in 2002.  Never since.  My husband is a slot lover (that is S-L-O-T lover…in case you read wrong) and loves to chase those bonuses.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  After the 1st night, we were $200 into the next day’s bankroll.  Lost it all that day too.  He played a bit of blackjack but would eventually lose the lead and be back to square one.  We attempted the Lion’s Share machine at MGM and also the Majestic Lions which paid out for us last time ($300) but no banana this time.  The third and fourth days were much better….and we actually came home with 1/4 of our bankroll still in tact. I got some good bonuses on video and took a picture of the $100 my husband won on one of those big machines inside the Flamingo.  Having all the free stuff this trip surely helped our bankroll last a lot longer than it would’ve.

I have a cockatoo at home so I was glad to win $15 on them on this machine!

I have a cockatoo at home so I was glad to win $15 on them on this machine!

Here’s my favorite bonus of the trip…on the Aladdin machine.  Madde me $80.  I also got about $90 off of “Gone with the Wind” but my camera was dead so I didn’t get the recording of it.  Got a lot more small wins on my YouTube channel.

-Cravings buffet at the Mirage: Yuck, it was terrible.  We had a BOGO from MyVegas and I don’t even think it was worth the $30 we paid for both.  The food was cold and bland.  The desserts were great tho…always love bread pudding…and yes, it was extra runny that night just like I like it!  Our server was really nice so we gave her a good tip.

-The assholes that booed Justin Bieber (oh wait, did I already say that?)

So I think that is about it for this trip.  Next one not until next year unless we get the itch before then but seeing as how we have Disney coming up in less than a month with the family…it’s going to take a while for me to financially recuperate!

One more pic — a mommy/daughter DON’T….witnessed as we were walking out of the award show.  Great parenting example right here!

no, just no mom

no, just no mom

About Jennifer Dockery

I’m Jennifer, married to David for nearly 15 wonderful years. We live in the hell-like barren desert of southern US, also known as Texas with our 2 teenagers. I work outside the home full time and I enjoy blogging, reading, cooking and playing guitar and piano. Our family loves to go on family vacations and we have a distinct love of all things Disney related. We would eat rice and beans for dinner for a whole year if it meant we could therefore take a long, fun filled, memory making vacation together. No, we’re not stupid that’s just how we roll. Please connect with me any which way, I'd be delighted to get to know you!

Posted on May 22, 2013, in Las Vegas, Our Travel Memories. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. You sure do pack a lot into your trips….lucky you’re young. The show looked exciting to be at….and the last picture…..you’re right.. Mom…say NO!….Diane

  2. Thanks a lot for this post and for all this great pictures! I wish I would be there! I agree for the Nikki and JLO was really looking like the animal of the muppets (although JLO can’t play the drums – or can she?)

    • I think JLo is always good tho and I give her a pass on the lip syncing…she does some wicked good dancing and for that, I forgive her. I mean who can sing good dancing all over the place like that?

  3. I enjoyed your report! I also went to the Billboards, and although I don’t care for Justin Bieber, I was really appalled at the booing. I wanted to leave for a moment, it was just so disturbing. I really thought Taylor Swift was actually singing, but, I don’t listen to her either, so how would I know I suppose?

    We were big losers too, but, I had some decent bonuses that kept me hopeful:)

    • Our problem is we don’t start big. We play with an initial $20 and then play small and hope for a bonus. One of these days I will get the nerve to try bigger bets or higher denom machines….I always say this.

  4. Despite not winning since 2002, looks like you had a great time. Wonderful photos!

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