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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12th, 2016
  • Did You Know?

    • • LV's McCarran International (LAS) is the 8th busiest Airport in the U.S. and number 23 in the world, with 41.7 million passengers
    • • 79 percent of McCarran's departures and 82 percent of arrivals are on time, the average departure delay is 52 minutes and arrival delay is 50 minutes, and cancellations are at 0.6 percent
    • • McCarran Airport is only two to four miles southwest of most Las Vegas Strip hotels
    • • Metered taxi fares to major hotels on the Strip cost approximately $15–$25. A consolidated car-rental center is three miles from the terminal and is accessed by shuttle bus. ScottyVegas always rents a car.
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The Eiffel Tower VEGAS Experience at Paris

WP_20131031_008When you see pictures or skyline views of the Las Vegas strip, the iconic Paris Hotel Casino Eiffel Tower (at half the size of the original) is no stranger. I personally have countless pictures and still find myself, trip after trip, snapping more.

If you didn’t know, there is a caged observation deck at the top of the tower and for one reason or another we’ve never been up there. But during our 1/2016, while in the casino playing, we happened to walk past a sign advertising the Eiffel Experience along with pricing. My wife noticed that FREE admission is given to those on their birthdays and to active military personnel. As that very day was my birthday, the FREE offer was too good to pass, so off we went to get my wife a ticket (Regular adult admission $19.25).

Tip: FREE admission is given to on the day birthdays and active Military Personal

Tip: Discount (think ½ off) admission tickets can be found at tix 4 tonight outlets all over the strip. See Discount coupon on the website

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Have your camera ready because from the bridge to the elevators to the observation deck itself, many, many wonderful photo opportunities await. The 360 panoramic views of the strip and surrounding mountains is priceless. The Bellagio fountains are directly below and offer a unique viewing from 460 feet up!

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Tip: Phone or Camera battery low? Make sure to have a full charge as photo ops are endless

Tip: Best time to visit is at dusk, see the mountains and the lights

Do yourself a favor and plan to visit the Eiffel Tower Experience during your next visit as it won’t disappoint!

jusqu’à la prochaine fois

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Eats from our January 2016 Trip – The Buffet Yard House Cravings Feast of not so Grand Buffet

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Yard House – Located near the High Roller observation wheel at The Linq is Yard House. Nice looking place with good service and 100 beers on tap plus good, very reasonably priced, eats… do I need to say more? Sure I do! If the already mentioned didn’t spark an interest than these tips should:

Tip: GREAT Lunch Specials and Happy Hour (M-F, 3-6)

Tip: The Club Sandwich is da bomb! Seriously large sharable dinner portion.

Mirage’s Cravings Buffet Cravings is a solid buffet option with several themed stations with a variety of consistently good food options. Since we often stay at The Mirage Casino Hotel we’ve visited this buffet probably more than any other.

Tip: Buffet includes unlimited draft beer (Budweiser and Goose Island IPA) and house wine (a red and white)

Tip: Active military receives BOGO or 50% off

Excalibur’s The Buffet – If in the neighborhood and hungry for a buffet that won’t break the budget consider The Buffet at Excalibur. This recently upgraded buffet is well appointed with the usual buffet fare. Taste and selection is pretty good and the dessert area has a crepe station that I always look forward to.

Red Rock’s Feast Buffet – Located 30 minutes west of the strip in the Red Rock Casino is the Feast Buffet. And a feast it is!! This is one tasty, well appointed, clean buffet. I can’t think of one thing that didn’t taste good. We went for lunch and it was very crowded but service and food item availability surprisingly excellent!

Tip: Excellent weekday pricing (with players card), Breakfast under $7.50, Lunch $9, Dinner $14

Tip: Same quality and pricing can be found at Green Valley Ranch which is also a Stations Casino

MGM (not so) Grand Buffet – Saving the worst for last, you’re welcome. Wow, what a disappointment this buffet was. Went for dinner at around 5pm ($60, $30 each) and lunch was still being served. Talked to the manager as he happened to walk by. He admitted that the kitchen was slow transitioning (lunch ended at 3!) to dinner. I told him food dishes were empty and the place was a mess, and he agreed! Ironically there was plenty of cheap pizza coming out of the kitchen. No Thanks, refund please.

Tip: If something isn’t right, say something. Vegas usually makes things right without hassle

The manager said a buffet remodel is underway and asked us to give them a second chance after completion. Since I’ve had good experiences with the Grand Buffet in the past, I just might do that, but not until the remodel is complete.

 

Excalibur is like White Castle

ExcaliburLasVegasNot because they’re both “castles”. It’s because Excalibur may not be your first choice, but in the end it doesn’t leave a bad taste either. It has its purpose and that purpose for me is inexpensive consistent lodging. The rooms are clean, bed and pillows comfortable. We usually end up here when conventions or major events are going on causing other preferred options to go through the roof price wise.

Tip: I’ve stayed in both towers and Tower II rooms are, in my opinion, nicer/better condition.

Tip: Food Court upstairs offers many less inexpensive food options.

Excalibur_Pool[1]Never chilled pool side but it didn’t look bad from the 25th floor.

The casino and castle grounds could use some modernizing like neighboring properties New York New York and Monte Carlo.

In the end, a solid choice for budget conscious visitors (Stayed 1/2015 in tower II room 25-251)

The Wonderful World of Casino Buffets

Excalibur buffet

Excalibur BuffetThis was our first ever visit to the Excalibur buffet. Freshly re-opened 12/2014, so everything was shiny new. The buffet itself offered a good selection of breakfast and brunch foods. The made to order omelet was large and delicious. I couldn’t help to indulge in the crepe station. The fresh baked muffin wrapped in a napkin was wonderful on the flight home. The buffet has a self-serve drink station with a nice variety of options. Weekday Buffet price was $17.99 each.  (Visited 1/2015)

 

Monte Carlo buffet

Monte Carlo 1This is a middle of the road buffet option in the land of buffets. Went for a weekday brunch and the breakfast items were of decent temperature and quality. Lunch items were disappointingly cold, when they were supposed to be hot. Selection was limited but adequate. It was very slow when we visited so maybe this contributed to our experience. Neither a fan, nor a hater on this one but the Excalibur, Orleans down the road, and Palms has it beat hands down with price and quality. (Visited 1/2015)

Valley of Fire, A Must See

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Visiting the Valley of Fire State Park has been on my Las Vegas to-do list for many years now. Though I’ve only heard wonderful things about the park, for one reason or another I always failed to visit until our October 2014 trip. Getting there from the strip took just over an hour. Once there, plan on at least two hours to drive through the park and getting out at most stops. To really explore, and there is a lot to see, plan on more time. Walk out and see some of the petrified wood, really cool! Take the time and walk the steps to the Indian petroglyphs. The traveler cabins are also another must see. Many, many, wonderful photo opportunities can be found.

I would recommend turning around at the exit of the park and returning to the strip the way you came. The alternative is beautiful, but takes much longer and there is literally nothing or no-one around for miles and miles. We didn’t have cell service for the majority of the return trip.

petrifiedWLogI will definitely return to further explore the valley on future visits.


Tip
: make sure you have plenty of gas and water before entering the park!

Criss Angel – Don’t Be”LIE”ve this Cirque du Soleil LIE

Don’t Be”LIE”ve this Cirque du Soleil LIE. This show is NOT an “illusion spectacular” nor are there 40 “mind-blowing illusions”. This was a slow and boring let down. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, Zarkana, and Zumanity, I would, and have recommended each one of these. If you want to see Criss Angel save your money instead go to youtube and watch his video’s, then read his Wiki page because that’s what you will see at the show…. Seriously!

UntitledThis “fast paced” show was horribly slow. The I’m so cool Criss brings a 16 year old on stage, and then has an older woman tease the kid, so Criss can make “jokes” at his expense. This show was extremely awkward. It left many people looking around in disbelief. To be fair, some people, but very few, did seem to enjoy this miserable show. I think the overwhelming majority were to stun at the only illusion Criss and Cirque managed to pull off was to make the money paid for this show disappear.

This show stung so bad that we won’t be attending another Cirque du Soleil show doing our next Vegas trip. We decided instead to explore other Vegas offerings for a while. Listen to the reviews and pass on this show!

January 2014 Trip – Reviewed – Old and New Again

With our January 24, 2014 Vegas trip fast approaching I can’t help but find myself getting excited. Leading up to each trip I always try to loosely plan out things I want to see and do. Here’s what I have planned this time around, I guess you could call it, old and new again.

O’Sheas

osheas

The new O’Sheas, after being closed for over a year and a half it has reopened and from the sound of it better than ever. I’m really looking forward to drinking an Irish beer in this dark stained wood casino.

Flamingo

For this trip our new hotel to stay at is the Flamingo, yeah I’ve wrote bad things about this hotel in the past but this time around I have high hopes for their newly updated FAB rooms. They look great from the pictures and for the price at $26 per night just couldn’t be beat. Well not so fast, they now add an $18/night resort fee but overall still a FABulous deal.

Last time we stopped in the Flamingo it was absolutely hopping with a surprisingly younger crowd. Maybe it’s the Jimmy Buffet “casino” that’s doing it, whatever it is I’m looking forward to staying and playing here.

Downtown: Downtown Grand and Container Park

fabulous-downtown-las-vegasThe Downtown Grand  opened in late 2013, noted as the first new hotel to open downtown in 30 years, this off Fremont Street, former part Lady Luck Casino looks great from the pictures. On paper this place sounds like a winner though early reviews suggest otherwise. From what I’ve read gaming is less than stellar with poor video poker and black jack odds and slots tighter than a hungry boa constrictor, never the less I am eager to see for myself.

Downtown Container Park opened in November 2013, personally I’m not a shopper or remotely interested in shopping but this unique idea sparks my curiosity enough to go check it out. Located on Fremont Street, kiddy corner from El Cortez Hotel Casino, is the new 34 outlet style mall made up of all steel prefab shipping containers, some even stacked three tall.

To be honest I’ve never been a fan of downtown, but I’m starting to have a change of heart. With so many improvements going on, better video poker odds and lower table game minimums than the strip plus an overall fun atmosphere I foresee myself spending more time in this forming, much improved, playground.

Cirque du Soleil

ZumanityShow selection for this trip was an easy one, we are seeing Zumanity at New York New York. Simply could not pass up the fantastic deal we got from MyVegas.com, $53 (tax included) + 4k in MyVegas points for TWO tickets. Zumanity will be our 4th Cirque show and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Tip: Have a Facebook account? Play MyVegas.com and earn REAL points

We had a GREAT trip, here are my REVIEWS

Zumanity

Best Cirque du Soleil show ever? No, but it was truly enjoyable. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, and Zarkana, all of these share commonality. Zumanity the edgy side of Cirque is well… that. Unlike other Cirque shows where sitting a little farther back is better, Zumanity is intimate so sitting closer is a plus. Nudity, profanity, sexuality, yes all here. In bad taste? Well that’s subjective. Sitting in the front row was an elderly (late 70’s/early 80’s) couple. I kind of watched them to see their reaction and from what I saw they held hands, laughed, and enjoyed the show along with everyone else.  

If you’re easily offended or prudish choose another Cirque show otherwise buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Tips: The stage was small as was the theater itself. The best seats are definitely surrounding the stage. Get a drink before you enter the theater, but ask for it in a cup, yes they let you bring it in.

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