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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12, 2016
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    • • 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
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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


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!


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

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


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.


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!

El Segundo Sol @ Fashion Show Mall

El Segundo Sol Tequila and margarita bar located at the end of the Fashion Show Mall  rfashion showight across from the Wynn is a personal favorite of ours. The food is very good, and the happy hours specials keep us returning when in town. WP_20141006_019

Belly up to a bar table, order some endless chips and salsa and a street taco or two AND don’t forget the sangria (DELICIOUS!)


Tip: Certificate’s are available at Restaurant.com, they go out of stock fast!

Advice from the Veterans, Las Vegas Traveler Style…

South End Las Vegas Strip

If you have never been to Las Vegas or haven’t been in decades you undoubtedly have some questions or at least have searched the web for some tips. I can see how a Vegas trip might stress some people out. After all, Las Vegas has tons to offer and has a reputation of being wildly expensive.

Now this isn’t an end-all guide but when I came across this forum topic I immediately thought it would be a worthwhile post. Here’s some good practical advice from well seasoned Las Vegas travelers pulled from the Trip Advisor Las Vegas Forums. I’ve added my two cents worth noted in blue text.

“Drink a bottle of water for every 2 alcoholic drinks- Nothing kills a Vegas adrenaline rush faster than a nasty hangover.” – Remember, water is your friend!

“Distances are farther than they look” – Hotels are huge and sprawling, depending on your abilities you might want to break up the strip in chunks and visit each chunk at a time.

“Set a gambling budget and stick to it!” – Play it smart and set a budget, especially if you have limited funds. Takes breaks if you’re on a losing streak, people watch, hit the pool, window shop, or partake in free entertainment. Remember there’s a ton to do in LV. Return to the game later with better luck.

“Realize the odds are against you winning, expect to lose, and consider it entertainment. But while gambling enjoy the sites, drinks, and freedom. Abiding to this will ensure a better time.” – See above

“Always sign up for players cards – you never know what you’ll get in terms of offers.” – First timers often receive freeplay or other gifts for signing up. Always give them your email address (sometimes worth an extra bonus), I enjoy reading all the email offers they send me and find them valuable when planning my next trip to wonderful LV.

“NEVER chase comps” – just 500 points for a free buffet or every 250 points gets you T-shirt, oh wait just another 100 points get me $5 bucks in “pointplay” (like freeplay) . Not always, but many comp programs, 1 point = $1.00 cycled through a slot machine. If you happen to reach that point amount fine, but don’t chase it because it might just cost you much more than it’s true value.

“Don’t plan any really big event (show, dinner, etc.) for your first night.” – traveling is much more involved these days, especially if you’re flying. Arrive two hours before departure, time to fly, transportation to your hotel, check-in process, and now finally getting to your room. All this can be exhausting. The last thing you need is to be somewhere at a set time. Remember delays happen when traveling. So on your first day/night chill out and just enjoy where you’re at and play it by ear.

“Go to Fontana Bar at Bellagio and ask to sit outside. Have at least one drink (they are expensive) and enjoy the fountains close up. It’s breathtaking.” – This one’s on my to-do list I’ve heard it is fantastic. Also I believe specials can be had after lunch but before dinner.

“Believe it or not I’d say bring comfortable shoes. You’ll be amazed on how much walking you’ll do” – Casino Hotels are large, sidewalk are not straight, escalators to overpasses fail frequently. Walking the strip in high heels or dress shoes at 3:00pm is stupid. Do yourself a favor and WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!

“Wear comfortable clothes” – Similar to above. If you are going out for a nice dinner, show, or club, fine, dress to impress. Just walking the strip? Who cares! Wear nice, clean comfortable clothes. Remember summers are HOT and winter can be cold, dress appropriate!

“The girls on the front of the slapper’s cards are NOT the ones that actually come to your room” – Hmmm… I have no experience with this one… so I’ll take this persons word for it.

“If it’s your first time to LV, don’t try and do everything because you’ll be back!” – Oh how true, realize there is a ton to see and do. Do a little research before you arrive so you get an idea of what’s available, pick a couple then play the rest by ear. It won’t be long before you’ll want your next LV fix then rinse and repeat.

“Don’t arrive with a plan or agenda to see or do something every minute of every day. Book a show or two, maybe a special meal or two. But leave some time for things to just “happen” depending on what you feel like doing at the moment” – Wish I would have read this before I typed the comment above… yep well said

“Don’t be afraid to try a table game or ask a dealer how to play if they aren’t too busy. They are usually happy to help.” – There are many online and retail casino game simulators to learn and practice on. Also many casino’s offer FREE lessons. Dealer quality varies but many are more than willing to help. Don’t forget to throw your dealer a chip every once in awhile if they’re doing a good job.

“Don’t feel you need to pull all-nighters just because you’re in Vegas. Vegas is 24 hours, your body is not” – The only place time exists in Vegas is on your watch. Be wise and get some sleep because if you don’t it won’t take long before you’ll be walking the strip looking and feeling like a zombie. Now if I could only get my wife to understand this.

“Leave the babies/kids, non-gamblers, naysayers, people without money, and duds at home. If you don’t your fun is in jeopardy.” – Vegas has little to nothing to offer these types, follow this one closely

I hope this post provided some useful advice or at least a bit of entertainment. Anyway, like always feel free to share your own advice in the comments below.

Las Vegas Rent A Car Tips

Northbound LVB

For me the only way to get around Las Vegas is by renting a car. It’s a perfect place to store your luggage when arriving early in the day or departing late at night. Checking out off strip properties (Better table odds with low minimums) or visiting local attractions is something I enjoy doing early each day. As a bonus, food is much cheaper off the strip too.

McCarran Airport uses a free shuttle service located on the ground level that takes you to a rent a car center. Signs are posted everywhere making navigation to it easy. Shuttle buses are plentiful and lines move quickly. Once boarded it is only about an eight minute drive to the center.

Tip: I found Dollar rent a car to have the best deals in Vegas. If you have an American Express card they have a standing 10% discount with promo code: AX10. Book early for the best deals and check frequently. If you find a better deal, book it and cancel the old one. I have been very lucky doing this. Also Dollar offers Dollar Express, once you sign up (FREE) it allows you to bypass the often loooong lines at the counter and go directly to the Express booth where your paper work is already waiting. After signing a few times you are off to your car. They will point you in the direction of the car class you reserved and tell you to pick out the one you want.

Tip: Not all cars have power locks and windows (Yes, they still make these). It’s my recommendation that you pick one up with at least power locks. It’s amazing how dependent we’ve become to them. If you don’t it will soon become evident the first time you run back to double check the doors. I made this mistake once and will never again forget to check for power locks.

Regardless of the car rental company you choose, look over the car carefully. I have never had a problem through Dollar but there is always a first time. Remember note on the paper any dents or scratches, and don’t forget the interior.

Tip: I often make note of a few extra in common areas just in case.

Now that you have picked out your car and checked it over, you are ready to go. Your final stop is the exit booth where they will check over your paperwork and lower the bar so you can exit.

Once you exit the center you only need to make two right hand turns to get on Las Vegas Boulevard! When on LVB just head straight (North) to “The Strip”.

Tip: The Famous Las Vegas Sign will be on your left hand side (in median) just outside The Strip. There is parking available so you can take pictures but you can only enter the parking lot from the South bound side. So if interested, loop around and take pictures, as you will see everyone else is at all hours of the day and night.

Returning cars to the center is just as easy as there are plenty of signs to direct you to the rent a car center. I know at dollar you simply drive up where you will be met by a check-in person who scans your paperwork, then car and finally hands you a receipt. Yes it’s that easy! Next, just make your way to the shuttle bus that will take you to your airport terminal.

Tip: Before leaving remember to verify amount charged with amount quoted. On my last trip they forgot to apply a discount. Hey $15 bucks is $15 bucks! I simply went to the return counter where the adjustment was quickly applied pain free.

Dang! This was supposed to be a short and quick post… Sorry I wanted to make sure I covered everything.

One last Tip: If you have a GPS bring it and don’t forget to update it before you leave. The rental companies charge $9.00 or more per day to rent one. Trust me a GPS is gold when driving around Vegas.

What would you NEVER do again in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas Strip

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas2

Oh what a great question this is. I frequently peruse and participate in forum discussions at Trip Advisor. Someone posted this question and as you could imagine it received an overwhelming response with over 120 replies. I found the replies both entertaining and informative. They kind of answer many questions people ask or wonder about when planning a Vegas trip. The replies have confirmed mental notes I have made to myself, “NEVER eat at the Riviera Hotel Casino buffet again!” and so on…….

Since I enjoyed them so much I thought you might enjoy them as well so I went through them all and plucked out my favorite, cleaned them up and made a few comments. Regardless of how many times you’ve been to Vegas you should be able to take something away from these.

TipTrip Advisor is a great site for hotel reviews and everything else trip related regardless of where you’re headed. I use it to get hotel price ranges, see honest photos taken by reviewers, and to review area attractions. I highly recommend it, check it out.


Forum Replies:

NEVER go to Circus Circus or Slots a Funk (Fun) again!

I would NEVER do so much shopping without working out how to get my purchases home first – or leave shipping everything until the last day!

I’ll NEVER spend New years Eve in Vegas again

I will NEVER leave Vegas before 6:30am – You don’t know how bad this is until you’ve done it, avoid if at all possible

I will NEVER eat at the IP (Imperial Palace) buffet again

I will probably NEVER go to Las Vegas with family (parents, sister, brother, niece, ect.) again. I find it very hard to have an intimate family time in Vegas.

I will NEVER go when money is so tight I have to watch every penny.

I will NEVER take a red eye flight to Vegas without having a room ready when we arrived.

I will NEVER take money from an ATM from my credit card. Fees are ridiculous.

I will NEVER visit Las Vegas for only one or two nights.

NEVER ever keep playing the same slot machine, because I was stupid to think it’s going to hit.

I will NEVER stay at a dump like the Riviera again to save money

I will NEVER book a red eye flight home when checking out of my hotel at 11 am that day – Having a rent a car is priceless in this situation

I will NEVER put more than $20 in a non-paying slot thinking that “it is bound to start hitting!”

I will NEVER stay Off Strip again. I am a Strip person, through and through.

We will NEVER see the Blue Man Group again – This one surprised me, but there were several postings, I guess it’s not for everyone

We will NEVER go with family & friends who only have a $20 budget (per day)! – I can’t even imagine!

NEVER get lured into Casino Royale with “free money” from their Zoltar fortune-telling machine. First you had to sign up for their casino card and then learned that you will be playing certain “special” slots machines with the credit to win a chance at a pot. It took forever to lose all our “free money”. We should have just walked away. – Been there, done that, live and learn

I will NEVER go to another timeshare presentation – that was 3 hours wasted out of 4 days of precious Vegas time.

I will NEVER walk from New York New York to the stratosphere because it didn’t look that far. – Distances are deceiving on the strip
and the sidewalks aren’t straight

I will NEVER ever go with none gamblers again they stand behind you and say why do you think this is fun? What is the attraction? As my other friend said they just “sucked all the fun out of gambling”. – Once again, I can’t imagine

I will NEVER remember that the Tropicana casino is not worth walking across the bridge to visit it.

I will NEVER gamble more than the amount I plan for each day. Never chase comps!

I will NEVER again go see the Show in the Sky at the Rio. – Don’t get me started…

I will NEVER go to Las Vegas and think I will get by on my winnings.

I will NEVER go over my personal drink limit while gambling. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I will NEVER book a flight somewhere else with an 8 hour layover in Vegas. Sounded fun at the time. I lost more on that layover than our regular vacation.

I will NEVER again stay in 5 hotels in 6 nights.

I will NEVER forget that I’m in Las Vegas on vacation, and given my limited time there, there are some things more important than saving $10 on something….

I will NEVER stay at a hotel with the idea that it’s just a place to sleep and clean up at. I discovered that a nice room DOES matter.

I will NEVER drink too much and spend the following day or two trying to recover- Vegas time is too precious – Amen

I will NEVER ever go with friends who bring their kid! – See Post: Children in Vegas

I’ll NEVER go to Bonanza (world’s largest gift shop) again

I will NEVER again worry about a strip view when I NEVER look out the window once after the day I arrive….I would prefer a better room that a better view.

I will NEVER again buy new shoes for a Vegas trip

I will NEVER stay at the same hotel for 6 years (MGM). Once I started checking out different hotels (off and on the strip) I was addicted. – I love trying new hotels

NEVER buy a wristband pass to a club from the street promoters even if they are legitimate, they will tell you anything to sell you the wristbands. – Never buy anything from a street vendor/person

I will NEVER again decide it is a great idea to do a round of golf midday when the temperature is 120.

I will NEVER again leave all my money in Vegas again!

Have your own “NEVER do again in Vegas” you would like to share? Well go ahead leave it in comments.

YES drinks are FREE in Las Vegas!

For some reason I am always surprised when people ask me if drinks are free in Vegas. My answer to this is yes, kind of. I guess it all depends in how you define free.  Here is the lowdown, drinks are “free” as long as you are gambling.  Then of course there’s the tipping. I usually tip $1.00 per drink.

Waitress service and drink quality varies from casino to casino. General rule of thumb the nicer the casino is, the better the drinks are.  As far as service goes it depends:

Table games – Usually table games have the best waitress service. Waitresses are usually very quick here. Note, you can tip with a chip if you prefer or are out of smaller bills, don’t forget your dealer.

Sports book – Also a good place for waitress service. Interesting, I have sat in a casino’s sports book watching games and drinking there drinks even though I’ve placed bets at other sport books. Waitresses here don’t seem to care. See a pile of horse race tickets? Pick them up and put them in front of you. Bingo… she will never question you.

Note: Some sport books are tightening up their rules on comped drinks, check before you order..

Slot Machines – Waitress service is always spotty while playing slots. If you are not seeing a waitress, ask, still no waitress? move, can’t find one in the joint? Leave.

Casino Bar – Possibly the best spot to get a drink but note, you MUST be gambling to get a free drink. Sit down, put a couple of bucks in the game and play slowly.

Note: Drinks at a casino bars can be very expensive, especially at the high end places.

Tip:  Waitresses take and distribute drinks at a time. In other words, if you see a waitress and her tray has drinks on it she will not take your order because she is distributing her last order.  When empty, she will begin taking orders by walking her area asking “drinks? Cocktails?”.  

Tip: If I am walking around a casino and want a drink, I will look for a waitress asking people for drinks I will approach and order telling her I will be playing in this area.  

Tip: Always watch out for your waitress. They get confused.

Tip:  In a hurry for a drink but don’t want to pay the high bar rate? Many casinos, low to middle of the road, have convenience stores that have beer and liquor for sale.  Also along the strip you will find many places to purchase booze at a fair price.  

Don’t forget to check out these posts:

Make a Drink List

Get Happier in Las Vegas with Happy Hour Specials