Trip Report
8/4/00 - 8/6/00

Background
This was our first trip to L.V., and we prepared by reading everything we could about the strip area, and pre-picked things to do that sounded the most interesting. We never ventured north of the Mirage, or south of the Trop. Overall, we really enjoyed the trip, and would return tomorrow if we could. Home safe, but tired.

Booking
America West vactions, through a travel agent. All went well, except the hotel 'documents' arrived only 2 weeks before departure, hardly enough time to send away for the special offers in America West's coupon book. Considering that the individual total for self booking would only be $5-$10 more, I'd be inclined to try self booking next.

Flight
America West. Minor delay departing Philadelphia, along with 4000 delegates of the RNC convention. Not America West's fault. Other aspects of the flight tell me why A.W. does not have a hub on the east coast, full of business travellers. If you want cheap though...

Transfer
Greyline voucher. Effortless trip to the hotel, but, then again, Excalibur is close to the airport, and we didnt have to wait for a bunch of stops before we got there.

Room
Excalibur standard room. No arguments here, except that there was NO TUB. Shower, yes. Hardly the kind of question I'd even think to ask, normally. Check in was smooth. During the course of check in, I mentioned that this was our first trip to LV, and that it was our 25th wedding anniversary. Later that night (Friday) low and behold, an iced bottle of house-labeled chanpagne was found in our room. Thanks, Excalibur.

City
For a place with so many folks walking through it daily, the cleanliness led me to believe I was in Disneyland. Awesome job, city.

Buffets
Against newsgroup advice, we had late lunch at Excalibur's buffet, and lets just say it: the newsgroup is right. Saturday, based on the positive newsgroup traffic, we went to Bellagio for Saturday brunch. Lastly, after checkout on Sunday, we went to Mandalay Bay. Frankly, I admit that I just don't understand why LV has this reputation for great food at buffets. Coffee is terrible. At Bellagio, after spending $18.50 for a brunch, I was told that bottled water was EXTRA!! (but shrimp is free: go figure) And, with as far away as the food is, and as deep as the lines are, you might as well be prepared to eat cold food. The best food we had was at Trop's Calypso 24 hour place.

Gaming
We had the most fun playing the 0.05 machines. A hoot when you win 200 'credits', and not the end of the world if you have to feed in 2 dollars. What was fun was looking for the same machine in the different casinos, and trying each place, just once. We got slot cards at each place, but, lets face it: you're not gonna earn points on nickel machines, and, just there for a weekend, you're not gonna win anything either. Regardless, the gaming portion of the trip was fun, and not too costly (based on the way we played). Don't forget the free pull machine at the Trop, and get your free deck of cards.

Show
We played Tropican's $20 guaranteed win for tickets to Follies Bergere. At $20.00, the show was good value (7:30 covered edition), but, I can see why its one of Vegas's last full blown revues. A little dated, but really good entertainment. The comedians (twofunnyguys.com) were really good, and, in the middle of their act, started doing a shictk in Japanese for the tourists. Apparently, they speak the language, and the visitors from the land of the rising sun really enjoyed it. I was impressed. Also, they had a female dancer who could bend and stretch in ways that had the audience oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing, just to watch. Sadly, the house was, at best, 1/4 packed, but, then again, Brittany was in town. :))

IMAX-3D Race for Atlantis.
Get Ceasar's slot card (free), and get in this for $8.50. Great ride, unique fun.

Casinos
Luxor seemed real small and closed in, while Ceasar's was clearly the largest. MGM was roomy and comfortable. Jeers to Luxor: Their change booths ran out of change. (HOW does this happen?
Moving walkways.
Clearly, man's greatest invention. In Vegas this weekend, only about half worked. And not just anywhere: Bally's Ceasar's, Excalibur.

Trams
The hotel-to-hotel trams really ROCK. Quicker than the trolley, faster, and, most of all, cheaper. But, here again, directions must be asked, since signage is nearly non-existant.

Trolley
The strip trolley (1.50 exact change) stops along the strip, but, here again, you have to ask. And, before you get on and pay, you might want to know if the air conditioning is working, and if you'll get a seat or have to stand.

Things.......

Things somebody should have told us.

1.) Why don't people recommend taking a video camera? Snapshots just don't give the city credit. I find myself telling others who have not been there: you just have to see it for yourself.

2.) The kids are not just at Circus-Circus. They are everywhere.

3.) Ask when you're lost, right away. Looking for a directional sign, anywhere, is just a waste of time. For some reason, they WANT you to be lost.

4.) It really isn't the heat. Hot as it was (105), it really didn't feel hot.

5.) Rest up. I never stayed up till 3AM my whole life, and did it twice in Vegas. Funny, it just didn't LOOK late, like it does at home.

Things somebody should tell everybody else.

1.) Check your airport transfer ticket. Call ahead, and know your carrier's Company Name. Avoid delays and embarrasment. Call ahead.

2.) Las Vegas doen't really have anything great for kids to do. They won't enjoy being cooped up, and really hate being told to stay away from slot machines. And, if you're doing your job as a parent, YOU won't have any fun. Try Disneyland instead. They're set up for kids already.

Things somebody should tell the Nevada Gaming Commission. (see #2's above)