Spring Break in Vegas, Family Style 2015

Another adventure that has happened in the past year was a Spring Break vacation with the kids to Las Vegas.  The last time they were there was back in 2009 so this time around it was a bit different but still a lot of fun.  My parents were supposed to go with us but my mother took on a new job right before and had to travel to MD for training that week.  Bad timing.  But I still urged my dad to come with us.

We had 4 nights comped at MGM and one night at Excalibur…also had 4 nights + one paid night at Flamingo – which is where my dad stayed. This was great for a mid-strip resting point most days.

This is the longest we have ever been in Vegas at one time. Did a lot of walking and mainly played slots at night after the kids were tuckered out. My husband had a few good wins on the 2nd and 3rd nights which let us go home with one day’s full budget still in the bank. That has never happened before!

Unfortunately I was the only one recording slot bonuses and I wasn’t winning anything big. We missed out on recording some nice big wins by my husband which would’ve been good to add to our slot channel. Isn’t that the way it always happens?!

The trip was too long for me to post the daily details so I will just post the highs and lows.

– Limo transport both ways via Presidential Limo. I booked this as a surprise for everyone. We got in from Dallas really late so it was nice to just get in a vehicle and go without making a gazillion stops and without having to worry about the tunnel. The cost included gratuity but I tipped extra there and back. The way in we had a stretch limo with champagne for us adults and on the way back it was one of the SUV stretch cars. Complete with mood lighting and an awesome sound system – everything was perfect. Hubby and I have decided we will spring for this every trip now that we are spoiled!



– Freeplay at MGM through MLife and MyVegas turned into a profit. Not much but $75 freeplay at MGM turned into $95 cash and $20 freeplay at Excalibur turned into $35 cash. It was nice not to lose it for once.

– MGM breakfast buffet was great. We ate here twice and normally I don’t like breakfast buffets but going around 10am gets you breakfast and lunch so there was a wide variety of food.

– Sprinkles cupcakes in the Linq area. My daughter is Vegan so we got two Vegan red velvet cupcakes there. They were so good and I think we inhaled them in under 4 minutes!


– Diablo’s Cantina @ Monte Carlo. We had the $50 food credit from MyVegas to use there and our bill came to about $100. The waitress came back and said that their cashier wasn’t there and the bartender said he didn’t know how to apply it so the entire lunch was FREE! We were floored and I gave her a big tip that she was very appreciative of.

– Ka @ MGM. Of course it is always a good show. Hubby and I saw it about 6 years ago. The pre-show entertainers (the ushers) were really fun. Dad dozed off in the beginning but midway through it grabbed his attention and he stayed awake. One of the ushers playing with “George”, my daughters stuffed whatever it is




– Dad’s room at Famingo. It was a CET comp and I think it may have been a Go room. Hardwood floors and a nice view of the pool area. I was actually impressed.

– Slots at NYNY and MGM – for my husband at least. He had a nice $310 win on a new Azure progressive slot at MGM we had never played before (picture below) and the whole bank of them were playing out nicely for a few hours hitting progressive amounts every now and then. I was able to catch the very end of it on video. He also had a nice $260 bonus win at NYNY on some WMS slot we don’t know the name of and another $150 line hit on 50 cent Wicked Winnings there. His best hit of the trip was at MGM on a Monopoly game. Not sure the name but the bonus win was $38 and then he hit a 10x multiplier for a $380 total win. He also had a $188 bonus on Goldfish 3. My one good win came from the Reel Em In slot at MGM for a catch of about $160. I did manage to get that one on video. One night we went back to the room with that entire day’s budget, including what we had spent during the day on non-gaming activities and food.



– Monorail transportation. All I can say is thank God for it. With Dad mid strip and us on the South end, it made meeting up each day and going back much easier!

– The weather. After being in the Dallas area with nothing but rain and recent ice – it was so nice to walk around in 80 degree weather for a few days.

– Lucky Cat @ Cosmo. Even though my fortune said “By the time you turn around the person in front of you will have disappeared” it was pretty cute and they let the kids come in and take a pic.


– Hash House a Go Go. Man the pancakes are huge! Nobody could finish theirs. The biscuit that came with my veggie hash was the best I’ve ever had.




– The Secret Garden at Mirage! After watching the dolphins play, we walked through to the tiger area and who was there? Seigfried!! Probably the highlight of my trip, it was an honor to meet such a Vegas legend. Totally unexpected and worth the price to get in. I’m so glad my daughter talked me into it! They say he just shows up sometimes to meet people and hang out. We caught him before he left for the day.



– Pink’s hot dogs. The boys really enjoyed theirs and I was able to get a veggie dog. It was the cheapest meal we had the whole week.

$8.99 Prime Rib dinner at Tony Roma’s downtown. The boys loved this meal.

– The Bellagio Conservatory. It’s so much prettier at night!

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– Adventure dome @ Circus Circus. It’s pricey to get in but my husband and the kids said the rides were great and they liked that there wasn’t a wait for any of them unlike most amusement parks. I bowed out of that one and lost some $$ in the casino while waiting with my dad.

20150312_141909– The dude impersonating Dr Evil in front of Planet Hollywood. Spot on!


-Gold and Silver Pawn Shop…aka. Pawn Stars.  We took the bus towards downtown and walked to visit the shop.  It’s a tiny little place but fun to see, especially since my dad and my husband are fans of the show.




– Our room debacle at MGM. I opted for the $34 upgrade from the offer I got via email before our trip to the tower spa suite so we would have more room. Upon arrival very late that night, she said they were all out of them but we could do a 1 bedroom instead. The catch – it was their last one on the 1st floor – but she said she put an 8th floor room on hold for us that we could move to the next day. I hate those first floor rooms. Right off of the casino floor, you feel like you are in a dungeon. The couch and couch pillows had what appeared to be crusty food – or vomit on them. It was a large room and would’ve been great on a different floor and minus the unidentifiable substance on the couch. The next day I went to check on the 8th floor room and the lady said come back around 2 and it should be ready. 3pm I go to the desk and the agent is talking forever – talking to a manager back and forth a hundred times. She tells me that the room that was on hold had a maintenance issue and we were being upgraded to a different room on the 20th floor. I didn’t mind that because I heard the word upgrade. Getting to the room, it wasn’t an upgrade – it was the tower spa suite I originally reserved. That room is actually smaller than the one on the first floor. But on a good note – there was no vomit on the couch. On the 2nd night around 915pm, the shower backed up and flooded the bathroom. We waited an hour and a half for maintenance to come up and plunge it and for housekeeping to replenish our towels and take away the soaked ones. They did give us 4 free buffets but in hindsight I think I may still write them a note. They charged me $40 per night for the upgrade instead of $34 because we were supposed to keep the 1 bedroom – which we weren’t able to.

– The crowds. The college basketball tournament was going on at MGM and by Wednesday there were fans and players everywhere. When the games let out you could barely walk without stepping on someone.

– Chasing progressives. I need to make a mental note here. Chasing progressives only make you frustrated and depressed. There was one hanging on at over $460 on a must pay by $500 WMS Queen of Africa at Flamingo. I played it for a long time and hit about 7 bonuses. That damn thing never dropped. I gave up. The next day of course I just had to go check it. Yup…someone won it and it was back at $250. Dammit.

– Flamingo slots in general. We lost our butts there and couldn’t hit a damn thing. They don’t seem to have many new slots, just a bunch of old ones.

– The smoke. I’m an ex-smoker. I vape now. Maybe I’m just more sensitive now but the smoke at the casinos – especially NYNY – was so heavy I could literally taste it. Made me wonder why the hell I ever smoked those things. Our clothes went straight into the washer when we got home.

– The line at Carlo’s Bakery! Insane!


– The Walking Dead slot machine. OMG. $200 gone in no time on max bet without one bonus and only one good hit for $90. Unbelievable. Never again!

– The Excalibur room – oh…the Excalibur room. What can I say? Motel 6 downgraded a few categories with 1970’s décor, little plastic cups in the restroom and hallways that smell like an old gym sock. Yuck. I’ll never stay there again. I added the night as an afterthought when we bought our airline tickets and had to extend a night to get the cheap fare. One good thing, they did not charge the resort fee so it was completely free. I will never stay there again and I made it clear on my survey that they are in dire need of a renovation!

– Downtown. Not really a low for me and my husband but my dad hated it this time around. I think the 70 year old man wearing a diaper up his ass and the naked large ladies with nothing on but duct taped nipples did him in this time. I found it hilarious and didn’t mind our teens seeing it, it made for some funny conversation. I mean, it is Vegas!

And finally, Chief Two Cheeks:


The trip was fun overall but I think 5 nights is a little much in Vegas!  My daughter had a blast.  My son, well he’d rather be home playing video games or on a beach vacation. At least I don’t have to worry that he’ll slip off to Vegas when he turns 21 and become a degenerate gambler like his mom and dad!

Viva Las Vegas Part I

Sorry this is so delayed, it has been a very busy time in the office since I got back from my short two-nighter in Vegas. So my mother and I left DFW early Sunday morning on an uneventful flight. We left from terminal D at the DFW Airport and even thought I worked at the hotel there for 2 years, I never noticed this weird music making contraption inside the terminal.  It was so strange I had to take a picture of it.  You apparently walk around in it and it makes sounds…


The only comment I have about the flight is that AA flight attendants sure are unhappy with their jobs and it is VERY obvious. We had an older lady who just seemed completely “over it”. To her, I say….go get a new job. We flew first class but were treated like the lowest of the low. I can only imagine how the people in coach were treated.  My mom has since written a letter — we’ll see how much of an impact that makes…if any!

We decided to take a Bell Trans shuttle over to the Aria because we were early and really weren’t in a big hurry. It did take us about 35 minutes total by the time the driver stuffed the filled up the van and we were the 2nd stop. Quick but of info – if you take a taxi you would be dropped off around the Aria’s front drive not too far outside of the check in area. If you take a shuttle, as we did, .they can only drop off in the underground garage area from which you would take the escalators up to the opposite side of the casino from where the front desk is. It is a long walk through the casino to check in. We didn’t mind it, as my mom had never seen the Aria before but if you have a ton of luggage you might take the bellman up on his offer to help with your bags…as you will be walking quite a ways.

View of the Luxor from the route our driver took

Mandalay Bay

Another Luxor View

It was around 10am by the time we got to the hotel and they hadn’t formed a line for check “IN” yet. There was a long line of people checking out and about 5 clerks at the desk. One thing about Aria check in…they are extremely friendly but very slow. I’m not sure what they have to do in their system to check in a guest but from 12+ years of hotel front desk management experience, I can tell you that I could check in my guests in less than 3 minutes each. We had a really nice clerk but he was sure taking his sweet time!

Outside of City Center

City Center / Aria / Cosmopolitan

Aria check in area, fall decorations

Aria casino

The room wasn’t going to be ready until much later so we quickly brought our bags to the bellstand for storage. I only stopped at one machine on the way out the door…the new Ghostbusters transmissive reel machine. $20 gone just like that…nothing,, zilch, nada. Sadly, this would be the recurring theme throughout the trip. We headed out to lunch and like an idiot…I didn’t change my shoes before walking down to the Mirage for our tradition of eating at Carnegie Deli. My dogs were barkin LOUD by the time we got there and I planned on grabbing a pair of flip flops from somewhere before heading back down the strip.

Views while walking


Inside the Cosmopolitan

More of the Cosmopolitan as we were coming down the escalator

Vegas is getting to look more like New York!

Time for lunch!!

Always a tradition to eat here on day 1

Lunch at Carnegie was good as usual…we laughed because we got the same waiter we had a few years back…an older Asian gentleman who just seems constantly confused and forgetful. He’s extremely nice and it’s always a hoot watching him run around like a chicken with his head cut off so we really didn’t make a big deal about having to remind him about our request for pickles 5 times…. We shared a potato knish and a grilled cheese/tomato …just a little over $20 out the door for the both of us. You can barely eat at Mc Donalds for that price nowadays (I don’t eat at Mc Donalds tho…) I swear that the knish size has shrunk however…it did seem much smaller than in the past. Either that or I was just extremely hungry.

Grilled cheese and knish (that is mustard I promise!)

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the purple gleam of light from the new Monsters penny slot machine and headed over there after eating. Not too long and the machine had eaten my $20 for its lunch too. I hit something and saw at the top of the screen it said “45 Wilds added”…sounded good. You can see by the video that I won a whopping $1.80.

What a let down! Of course I had to play my arch-enemy Davinci Diamonds … walked away with about $10 only. We played a few more slots and I walked out of the Mirage about $40 lighter, while my mom played a Wheel of Fortune slot and walked out after doubling her money.

My mom’s win on WOF

$24.21 profit

Next was TI because I knew they had that store where everything is $10 or less and I was in desperate need of some different shoes. We took the tram over from Mirage to TI and I made a b-line for that store. Grabbed a pair of blinged out sandals and my feet cried with relief. After a quick Starbucks run and a bathroom break, we decided to take the tram back over to Mirage and then cross over to do the Casino Royale promo slot and grab a couple of margaritas. My promo $ ran out rather quickly and my mom was able to sit a while longer before hers finally ran out.

We didn’t play any there but went into the Flamingo to get our TR cards (I forgot mine and I don’t think mom even had one). We tried a few slots there. Here is a small bonus win on one of my most favorite slots, Ghostbusters:

And another small win on the Hangover slot machine (another favorite — btw, I had just reduced my bet because I was running out of money and hit the bonus…always happens that way!)

I sat down at the new “Clue” machine and got some random bonus after just a few spins that made me $40….that was the one and only time that “Clue” game paid me anything. I wish I would’ve filmed it but I forgot.  I also played “Aladdin” and made it to the bonus where the chair moves – which was pretty cool if you ask me. I think I made like $15 off of that bonus…I was only playing like $.40 a pull. Mom fell in love with one of those Penguin machines…because her Penguins were pretty active. They were jumping around, leaping and swimming, turning things wild and re spinning…which resulted in about a $50 profit for her. I tried the machine next to her and I think my Penguins were hibernating. I got nuttin.

From Flamingo was a walk past Harrah’s carnival court to get to Paris. They’ve got the sidewalk all torn up over there and it is a tight squeeze to get around. We saw some interesting “characters” hanging around. I don’t know about you but there is something incredibly wrong with a 6 foot Dora just hanging around on the strip! Creepy. Inside Paris we took a stab at that new community Wheel of Fortune video slot and a couple of others. No profits but we had fun.

Creepy Spongebob and Dora

Be afraid kids, be very afraid!

By this time it was nearing 4pm and we needed to see if our room was finally ready…as they never texted us to let us know. I picked up our show tickets from that night at the old Viva Elvis box office…now the “Zarkana” box office.  When I mentioned to the guy that I would be back in February and am excited to see “Zarkana”, he commented that they probably will still be working the kinks out of the show at that time, so it might be a good idea to see it twice.  Once in Feb and once later in 2013.  The box office area was really gorgeous and the show seems like it’s going to be excellent.  He mentioned that “Zarkana” will be a resident show to the strip, similar to the other Cirque shows like “Mystere” and “O”.

Zarkana theater area

The room was available and we were able to change and get ready for our show at NYNY. The room was decent – they had given us 2 beds even though I had made the reservation for a room with one king to avoid the extra $30 they originally wanted to charge me for 2 beds on the night that was not comped. It ended up that they gave us the 2 bed room for free because there was never that $30 additional charged to our room. The room seemed much smaller than the one my husband and I stayed in back in Feb. In my opinion, the huge entry way wastes a lot of space. However, the shower/tub combo thing is awesome.

Tryin out the technology

We took the back way through Monte Carlo to get to NYNY and grabbed a soda on the way. We had tickets for the new show “Broadway Celebration”. Mom and I are both musical theater nerds so this was right up our alley. I had heard and read some not too good reviews of this show but we both thought it was really good. Obviously the chorus/dancers were lip syncing to all of the background vocals while they were dancing. However the 4 main performers, 2 guys and 2 girls, were great and they had microphones. They had amazing voices and outstanding charisma. The guy who sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables gave us chills and brought tears to my mother’s eyes. That is personally my favorite musical ever so I was very glad that they didn’t change any of the arrangements and to me this was the best part of the show. They did a great job with it. The show is in a very small and intimate theater and all the seating is at one level. We got second row center and the view couldn’t have been better. The man next to me was begging his wife (before the show started) not to post anything about him going to this show with her on Facebook. He said the guys at the office would kill him if they knew. It was hilarious to me later that he was dancing in his seat, singing along and was cheering loudly at the end of each segment. I think he secretly wanted to be up on that stage with them!

I snapped this shot of the stage prior to the show

After the show was over we were starving. Nothing at NYNY sounded good and we were planning to try out the Lion’s Share machine anyway so we went over to MGM. I’m really getting to dislike MGM…it seems dirty and smelly to me…crowded and just …well, a zoo. There’s constant construction (I can’t remember a time within the last 6 years where there hasn’t been any construction on something) and it’s a pain to walk around without getting trampled by some drunk hoochie in 9 inch heels. Unless MLife comps me my entire stay and offers me a ton of free play to go with it…I won’t be staying here in the future until everything is renovated and complete.

We don’t really do any fancy dinners when I go with my mom so we ate at the Studio Café which didn’t have any line. I ordered the potato skins (4 tiny skins) and my mom had some chicken noodle soup. Add a side of fries and the bill came to $40. What a ripoff.

Thanks so whomever on T2V described exactly the location of the Lion’s Share machine at MGM..because we found it immediately. It’s like they’ve hidden it – it faces the wall of the high limit room! I expected to see droves of people around it but there it was…all by it’s lonesome. My mom and I sank $100 into the machine without even so much as a small hit. It was gone in less than 10 minutes. We were so not expecting that and just sat there staring at the machine once it was gone…..in shock. Hopefully it is still there when I go back in Feb with my husband. I want to kick it.

The infamous Lion’s Share

After MGM we just headed back to the Aria. The crowds and the smell was getting to us and we needed some fresh air. My mom wasn’t feeling too good either. It was either the chicken soup or the fact that we just blew a shot at $2.8 mil In 7 minutes. I could’ve put more money in but I figure that if it were meant to be, then it would’ve hit…apparently someone else needs that money more than we do.

Night view

Once back at the Aria, the gaming began. We played a ton of machines until around 1230am…and thanks to a quick bonus hit and run on the community Batman machine I ended up $50 up for the day. That was the only large bonus of the trip but it came at a good time. It was around $100. One thing I absolutely love about the Aria is the size of their drink glasses. At the Mirage, they are tiny….the Aria’s are huge. The waitresses are quick to return also and pretty friendly.  I think I finished the night with about 5 Vodka/Crans!

Small line hit on Double Davinci Diamonds

My Batman profit

Feeling every one of my 35 years, it was time for bed and hope that the next day would be just as much fun as the first.  Stay tuned for part II…this one took me forever so with any luck, I should have it up by tomorrow night.

Vegas Baby!

In approximately 48 hours I will be on a plane about to land in one of my favorite places on earth.  My mother and I are taking a little girl’s trip to Vegas.

I just wanted to pop in here on WP and let you all know that this will be my last post until I return because I have so much to do between now and then and no time to do it.  I’m sure the office will keep me nice and busy today before I leave a few hours early to get my son ready for his weekend retreat.

I’ll be sure to post a trip report when I get back, complete with pictures and if I can sneak a few slot machine videos I’ll post those too.  Hopefully they will show me winning a bunch of money!

Viva Las Vegas!

I Won Da Big One

“I won! I won da money! (slumps over for a second) I won da money!”
~Sid Caesar, Vegas Vacation

I was making my way through Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas and spotted the new bank of “Grease” video slot machines.  It was like a shining beam of light through the clouds…I swear I heard angels singing.  All of the seat were taken however I spotted the machine I wanted.  It was like it was calling my name.

New “Grease” Machines at Treasure Island Las Vegas Casino

This lady was playing it feverishly for a very long time but I just sat and waited my turn.  Another woman approached me from behind and I could feel her breathing on my neck.  I inched forward in an attempt to remove her from my personal space.  She wouldn’t move and just continued to stand there.  I was not going to let her take my turn on this machine!

As the credits wound down for the lady who was playing, I began to get more excited about my chance to play…wondering what the outcome would be.  As soon as she made the motions of getting up to leave, the lady behind me pushed by me…almost knocking me over.  I yelled…. “Oh hell no!  I have been waiting here for over an hour and I was here first!”  She fought me….she pushed my hands away as I attempted to insert my money in the slot.  She was a much larger woman than I and I didn’t have much of a chance.

A slot floor attendant witnessed our scuff and quickly came over with security guards to break it up.  The resolution went in my favor, as this psycho lady was hauled away and I was allowed to take control of the machine.  With a big sigh and a satisfied smile, I put my money in, said a prayer,  hit “max bet” and SPIN.

Three spins in I hit the bonus round.  This bonus round was based upon the Grease movie song “Grease Lightning” sung in the auto shop.  I was picking tools on the screen and watching my credits add up.  All of a sudden I was down to the last choice and the screen cleared.  Suddenly lights began to flash and up on the screen appeared the words “BIG WIN!”.  Credits started to ring up and continued for quite some time.  A crowd gathered behind me…what did I win??  It looked like $400…..wait, no….it’s $14,000!!  I couldn’t breathe and then………

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ  my alarm clock went off.  Dammit!! oh well, it was a nice dream while it lasted.  At least I know how good it feels to win that much money, even if it was just a dream.  I am off to Vegas in a little over two weeks and you can bet I will be taking my chances with this machine.  Even if I have to fight someone to get to it!

Travel Tip Tuesday: Vegas Dos and Don’ts

Last week I had a really good idea for Travel Tip Tuesday but I should’ve written it down when it came to me because I cannot for the life of me remember what it was about.  So I decided to go with what I know.

Aaaah Vegas!

My husband and I have been to Las Vegas approximately 15 times in the last 12 or so years.  Our first trip was in 2001 for our 2nd wedding anniversary.  Having only been there once in 1994 with my mom when I was 16, I knew nothing about what to do, where to stay, how to book etc… I booked a package through Vegas.com with airfare on Sun Country airlines and a room at the legendary Stardust Hotel and Casino.

I think this is from 2002…boy does time fly!

Before booking the trip, I had to talk my husband into going.  He told me “Vegas is just for gambling and drinking — neither of which I do.”  I begged him to just give it a chance.  Upon walking out of the plane, it was love at first sight.  We had an excellent trip, learned how to play blackjack, ate some good food, did all the touristy things and vowed that we would be back.  And, we did go back….14 more times!

Another visit


Over the years we’ve learned a lot of things about Sin City.  What to do, what not to do etc… If you are going for the first time, it helps to know some of these things in advance so that you can be sure to get the most of your money while in town.


  • Check the Las Vegas convention schedule prior to your trip.   Huge groups flocking to the area will cause airfare and hotel prices to be higher than normal.
  • Try to go during the week, Sun-Th.  Hotel/Casinos offer their best rates on these days.  Weekend rates can be nearly triple and if it is over a holiday weekend…even higher.  Off peak times are good (don’t go during spring break, Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend etc…).
  • Sign up for players cards at every hotel/casino even if you don’t play much there.  You will get future offers for discounts, show tickets, food etc..
  • Learn how to play.  If you are new to the world of casino gaming, look into lessons.  many of the casinos will offer free lessons during off-peak hours and allow you to practice with “play money” before taking a chance on the real thing!
  • Try the $20 trick at check in.  Many of the hotel front desk agents would be happy to upgrade you for a little extra cash in their pockets if it’s possible.  Stick a $20 bill between your ID and your credit card to where it is noticeable to the clerk.  Be nice and say “I’d really appreciate any upgrade you might be able to do for me…” If they can, they will.  If they can’t, they will look disappointed and turn you down.  No harm done.

    $20 trick at the Bellagio got us this view

  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Las Vegas is a busy, busy place at all hours of the day.  Keep your purse close to your body (I wear mine across) and gentlemen, don’t keep money in your back pockets.  Thieves are everywhere and you might not even notice until you are already a victim.


  • Let your cabbie take the tunnel to the strip.  This is called “long hauling” and it is not allowed.  Tell your can driver to take you to your hotel “no tunnel”.  If they argue with you or do it anyway, then tell them you will be contacting the Las Vegas Taxi Cab Authority to report them.  They will shape up right away.
  • Think you can smoke everywhere.  A lot of places now are non-smoking even in Vegas.  Obey the signs and only smoke in designated areas.
  • Try to hail a cab in Vegas.  It is illegal, you are not in New York City. Cabs cannot stop in the streets to pick you up.  Find the nearest hotel and wait in the taxi line for one to pull up.
  • Think she is THAT into you…for the guys.  Women of the night are prevalent in Las Vegas.  They are like vultures waiting for their next meal.  If she seems too good to be true, she probably is.  And hold onto your wallet!
  • #1 don’t in Las Vegas: Don’t go to Vegas expecting to go home a winner!  Those ginormous, glittering monstrosities weren’t built on winners.  You are there to have fun.  If you win, then even better but if you expect to win you will be disappointed and ruin your experience.  We’ve been close to 16 times and are still waiting to win THE BIG ONE.

    They are fun but dangerous!

    I read a blog recently where someone absolutely loathed and hated their time in Sin City.  To each his own I guess.  My husband and I really enjoy going there.  We enjoy the lights, the sounds, the crowds…even the smells of Las Vegas. There is just something about it that keeps us coming back.  Yes, we even took our kids….once.

Say what you like about me taking them, but they had a blast! (2009)

If you have any specific questions about LV, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’d be happy to help where I can!

Las Vegas Trip Report Feb 2012

David and I take trips to Vegas at least once a year.  It is our favorite non-kid place to go.  Our most recent trip was last month for a few days.  Thanks to our friends at casino marketing, we were able to take advantage of a fully comped stay with two nights at the Mirage and one night at the new Aria Hotel and Casino at City Center. 

We arrived late the first night and checked into our room at Mirage.  The room was larger than I remember and the recent renovation boasts of modern decor and bold colors. 


We didn’t have much of a view and as usual our room was 100 miles away from the elevator.  I don’t know how we always luck out with those long walks to our room but it always seems to happen that way! 

The casino was less than kind that night, however we did get to try out some of the new slot machines that had come out since our last visit.  Davidfell in love with the Dirty Dancing slot and was hitting sustainable winspretty consistently. 

I had great luck on the Batman slot while playing as the joker…not to mention the bonuses are great. I won the Joker’s Heist twice and walked away with about $80. Batman was not kind to my husband, he didn’t hit one bonus while I hit at least 5 in one sitting! I wish I had gotten a video of the Batman slot.

Ghostbusters and Hangover were a ton of fun and we got several bonuses on them as well. I tried my hand at the Playboy slot….great money but no hits this time.   We also played “Panda Race” because Amber loves pandas.  It was fun and we made a profit of $12!

On the second day we got up earlier than I think we ever have inVegas.  We were up and out by 8am.  Both starving, we made our way to Stage Deliinside Mirage.  It was not very busy atall and we were sat quickly.  I ordered apotato knish and my husband ordered the eggs and bacon with a huge orangejuice.  Food took forever and theyfinally brought  D’s meal out but ourwaitress said “I forgot your knish it’ll be right out.”  A while later the waitress walked by and I motioned to her so I couldtell her I didn’t want the knish anymore. She looked my way but didn’t give me a chance to tell her.  She raced off to the kitchen and came backwith my knish.  I told her that I didn’twant it anymore and that I was trying to tell her that.  She said “The cooks are really messing upback there so I’m going to take care of your meal”.  Now I did notice how she blamed the cooks,even though she told us a few minutes ago that she was the one who forgot myorder.  But, taking care of the check wasa decent customer service gesture so I was fine with it.  We gave her a pretty good tip even after whathappened since she did comp the meal.  Ieven got to take the knish with me to eat later.  I wish the Mirage rooms had a fridge becausethen I would’ve eaten it later that night. By the time we were back in the room it was cold and didn’t taste verygood, I had to throw it away!

David’s Meal @ Carnegie Deli
Wentover to the forum shops at Caesars and did our traditional walk through to thecasino.  On the way there we saw something pretty interesting — Spiderman chillin on his cell phone.  I wonder if he was playing “Angry Birds”?
It was early still so the shopswere just opening up.  It was quiet andrelaxing just walking through without people on top of you constantly.  Inside Caesars, David met up with his old nemesis….DavinciDiamonds.  I played a few slots here andthere and while I was losing, he was trying hard to kick DaVinci’s ass.  Pretty soon he was like “what?’ and I lookedover at his $100 hit off of a 30 cent bet. Then he walked over to Kitty Glitter and another few pulls….a $62hit.  He was having all the luck thisday.
We walked over to Casino Royale to do the pomotional slot pull and to get our $.99 margaritas.  They don’t pack much punch but they sure are good!  Saw this on the way:

The things you see in Vegas!  His sign says “Why Lie?  Minnie left me…need money for girls and booze”. 
Nextstop,  Venetian/Palazzo.  I was hoping that there would be a wax figureof Justin Bieber at the top of the moving walkway so I could get a picture forour daughter.  Nope – still WhoopiGoldberg and now there is a pretty good Elvis standing there lookin sexy.  We walked through the Venetian shops (anotherthing we do every trip) and looked at everything we can’t afford whilewondering who CAN afford shopping there?  Palazzo was decorated in honor of chinese New Year.  I love this stuff so I took a few pictures.

While I couldn’t hit anything to save my life. inside the Venetian caisno,  David found a Star Wars Droid Hunt game and hitabout 5 bonuses almost in a row.  Walkedaway with a $65 profit.  He loved these Star Wars slots!  I only caught the end of one of his bonuses here:

Wedecided to walk back and have lunch at the Mirage and ate at California PizzaKitchen.  I had the best pizzaever, it was the wild mushroom pizza on whole grain crust.   I wish I knew how to make this at home!

The next few hours consisted of us just walking around and visiting Treasure Island next door since we had not been there in a while.  It is there that I left my hoodie in the bathroom and it disappeared.  I had a couple of really good NewCastles and David found a weird sort of tribal, volcano slot machine that he spent a while on.  He also found another Dirty Dancing machine!

Hours passed quickly and already it was time for dinner!  We went to the Mirage and knowing that we would have expresscomps coming our way, we chose to eat at the buffet.  It had the shortest wait.  The buffet was decent.   Buffets are great for veggie-pescatarianslike me.  I love sushi, shrimp andcrab…where else can I get my fill of that for a decent price?  I don’t think my husband liked the buffet asmuch as I did but he said it wasn’t too bad. I swear I must’ve been Asian in a former life because I cannot getenough of Asian themed food. It’s my favorite!

That night we spent at the Mirage trying some new slot machines and found a few that we really liked.  Ourfavorite was the 3-reel Haywire slot. Not sure if you’ve seen them but it’s a quarter slot, max bet of $.75and whenever you hit something it will randomly stop the reels, start shakingand blinking and multiply your winnings by a random number.  The machine can go “haywire” up to 8 timesand the credits add up until the haywire bonus is over.  It doesn’t go crazy on every hit so it’sexciting to sit there and wait to see if it’s going to go nuts or not.  The first hit that David had was for $150 and hehad no idea what was happening.  Hethought something was wrong with the machine. I sat down at the one next to him and within a few pulls I had a win for$150.  We played these machines for avery long time and both started with only $20. 

Day three began with getting up earlyand moving over to Aria.  We checkedout of the Mirage via the TV and made our way to the taxi stand.  I guess the cab driver was expecting anairport run and didn’t seem too happy when we said we were only going to theAria.  There was NO traffic on the stripat this time of morning however he proceeded to drive as slow as he could tokeep the meter increasing.  As he pulledinto the Aria front drive he literally was at a crawl.  The fare was $10 and when I gave him a $20 hegave me 2 $5’s back.  Uh….fat chancedude, give me ones please…. Here’s $2 for ya now go screw someone else.

Thebellman took our bags, as it was only about 9am and we knew we wouldn’t be ableto get into our room yet.  We looked fora check “in” area but there were only check out lines that were a milelong.  Not a problem, we just went towalk around for a bit and see what the Aria was like.  Last time we visited we only went in for afew minutes and didn’t really spend much time there.  I have to say, this time I really likedit.  It is much more sophisticated andupscale….laid back and quiet even at times. The clientele seemed even to be of a different level than I saw at theMirage and other places.  Overall theAria casino had a great atmosphere. 

Aria hosts the Cirque Du Soilel production “Viva Elvis”.  We wanted to see it however it was dark on all the days we were in Vegas.  Davidwanted to see the Elvis shop so we took the escalator upstairs.  Talk about ALL things Elvis…he was loving theshop! 

It was still too early to check in so we decided to go check out the new Cosmopolitain next door and try our luck at their “Win $100 on us” promo.  We did and profited only about $30 but hey, we didn’t lose!  Wewere really impressed with the inside of the casino.  Cosmo was veryupscale, clean and comfortable.

After the Cosmo it was around 1pmand we decided to see if we could check in. When we walked outside between Crystals and the Aria lobby we noticedthe weather was changing.  It was gettingcooler and windier out with a few sprinkles here and there.  For the most part we had been having somegreat weather.  There was a pretty longline at the check in counter due to an HP conference of some sort however thestaff at Aria had it totally under control. They had several agents at the desk and we moved through the line veryquickly.  We had no issues checking in,we got our smoking room and she told us about our $40 buffet credit. 

Instead of going to the room first,we utilized our $40 credit at the Aria buffet for lunch.  It was very good.  2 “brunches” came to $78.00 so $38.00 for 2buffets was not bad.  I was starvingagain and got my fill of fish, Asian food, salad and sushi.  I also had my first and only dessert of thetrip which was a blueberry filled crepe. It was yummy!  D and I got a kickout of watching this young Asian boy who must’ve been around 12 years old at atable next to us with his family.  Hefilled his plate at least 6-7 times with sushi and crab and cleaned it off eachtime.  At one point he was over at thesushi station telling the cooks how to make it! It was hilarious. 

Wegot up to the room and it was very nice. There is a very large entry way and as everyone here has mentionedbefore, everything is electronic ally controlled.  I was familiar with this because at the hotelI used to work at in Dallas recently did a renovation when I was there andeverything was upgraded to the exact same thing.  Shades, lights, alarm, privacy signetc….everything controlled by your TV and one touch of a button.  Pretty cool. The room was a good size and the bed was comfortable. 

After we freshened up it was time to go pick up our show tickets at NYNY.  Thewalk to NYNY was interesting and very convenient.  You go through Monte Carlo and barely have togo outside.  There is an exit on the sideof Aria that leads you down a hallway where there are a few shops andrestaurants along with a food court.  Iwanted a Starbucks but there was a long line so we stopped at Mickey D’sinstead and go ice coffees.  You exitthis area into the Monte Carlo casino. I’m not sure if the Monte Carlo has renovated recently (?) but it wasnicer than I remembered.  I actuallywouldn’t mind staying there some time. 

Once inside NYNY and while waiting for a snafu to be worked out about our show tickets I thought I would give my mother’s luck a try.  My mother gave me $40 to play forher because she is always lucky and I always bring her something back off ofher money.  She said I had to play WOZfor her, as I always do.  I plopped $20into one of the WOZ machines and just like every other time this trip I hitnothing, nothing at all.  I’m reallystarting to hate this machine and I don’t think I will ever play it again.  Here’s the proof of me losing!

We had to wait for our show tickets for “Zumanity” due to some mistake that was made by casino marketing.  So we headed over to the MGM for a little luck on the Majestic Lions machines. We have aritual that we play a little bit in a few different machines.  In the past when we have hit something onthem, it has been a quick hit off of just a few pulls so we stick to thatstrategy.  $20 in onemachine…nothing….  $20 in anotherone….nothing.  I decide to play my mom’s$20 in a different machine and take a video for her.  3 pulls and …..almost!  Down to $8 and ding, ding, ding… $300!  See I wasn’t lying when I said SHE waslucky.  Every freaking time without failand we had it on video this time too.  Dcalled her and told her…after all the screaming and rejoicing we sent her thepicture I took with my phone of the machine and her TITO.  She said that she showed my kids the pictureand my daughter said “Hey, that ticket says $308 dollars!  Can I have the $8?” 

Back over to NYNY after that to get our tickets.  The lady that helped us at the ticket office was very nice and gave usseats in section 102 row A … which we find out are right behind the loveseats…so 2nd row dead center! I thank MLife services for screwing things up because I think we gotbetter seats because of it.  The ladyfelt bad for us that we had to wait 2 hours so she fixed us up nicely.  These were $115 seats for F-R-E-E so Iconsider that a win in itself!

We had a 5pm reservation atGonzalez y Gonzalez however neither of us were hungry for dinner so instead whenwe went back to NYNY we grabbed 2 Antie Annie’s pretzels and a big diet coke.  Dinner of champions.  On he way back to the Zumanity theater westopped at the big pirate game since we had about 20 minutes before getting inline.  It’s a bank of 4 machines, eachone a different slot but there are community bonus rounds of a piratebattle.  We were on the far right machinecalled “Laredo”.  D was hitting severalsmall wins here and there and then racked up $90 in the bonus round.  We were only betting 50 cent bets.  There was nobody else playing on the bank soduring the pirate battle he won off of that too.  We walked away with a $120 profit from thatmachine in only a matter of minutes – just long enough for us to eat ourpretzels and get in line for the show.

“Zumanity” is not for the faint of heart, the prudish, the ultra-conservative or anyone without an open mind and sense of humor.  It’s got great acrobatics, music and dancing as well, but just keep in mind it’s Cirque’s “adults only” show, so there you go.   I haven’t seen this show in at least 5 yearsand I don’t remember it being so ….. well…..full of boobs.   The best part of theshow is the little guy who does the aerial act. He was amazing. 

After the show we needed drinks soI sat down with $8 at the Planet Moolah slot, ordered my vodka cran and hit forabout $45.  Cash out!  Thank you cows.  The waitress came back really fast so doublewin there!

That night was full of wins and vodka (well the vodka was for me).  Cocktail service at Aria is really good and the glasses are huge compared to other casinos.  We had some great hits on Playboy, Battleship, Maltese Fortune and more.  Later we had a bite at the cafe and then called it a night. 

On our last day, we did some shopping @ Miracle Mile Shops and played a few more machines here and there.  I had some great last mintue wins on Top Dollar, Betty Boop and Battleship before we caught the shuttle back to the airport that day.  We had tons of “excitement” at the airport regarding our flight but finally made it back to DFW around 1am.

Overallit was a great trip.  We came home withabout 1/3 of our bankroll still left intact which was a plus and we had gonehard at the slots all weekend.  Not bad.  Aria was fabulous, I think we will stay therefrom now on and our MLife status moved up to Pearl which only makes me want to goback soon so that we keep moving upwards instead of down.  We’ll be back sooner than later hopefully to our favorite adult Disneyland!