Trip to Las Vegas, Sunday April 4, to Thursday April 8 (1998).
Left Vancouver's YVR . Got in to McCarran at about 12:00. Flight was good. We were delayed in Vancouver 45 minutes while they fixed some problems. Flight was on a Canada 3000 Airbus A-330 (wide body)--lots of room. Got into the Riviera, had lunch at the buffet at around 3:00. After lunch went back to the room . When our luggage arrived at 4:30, we changed into our bathing suits and went down to the pool for a swim. It was a cool day but the pool was good.
We were looking forward to our Mystere date at 10:30 (at Treasure Island). We dressed up (relatively speaking) and then went for dinner looking for a buffet to eat in. Harrah's was expensive, so was Flamingo Hilton. Bally's was expensive, and the Maxim was busy. We were getting concerned about getting back to Mystere on time. We then went back to Treasure Island, where the buffet was really busy. We finally ate in the Deli, where there was hardly any seats. Made it over to Mystere with lots of time to spare.
At 10:10 we went in. Show started. What an enjoyable time!
Lots of acrobats showing great strength and agility.
Got home (Riviera ) to bed at almost 1:00am.
Got up late (11:00). Walked down to the Denny's near Casino Royale (or Imperial Palace). Even though it was 11:30 when we got there, the place was filled to more than capacity. We waited about 15 minutes to get a table. Once seated we got a carafe of Orange juice, and I ordered Pancakes, eggs, sausage, toast, and bacon while Susan got some sausage and toast. Very good breakfast. While in Denny's, we made reservations for a Guaranteed Tours deluxe tour to Hoover Dam. We made a Key Tours reservation to go to Primm Nevada (used to be called Stateline). We wanted to go there to ride their supposedly phenomenal roller-coaster.
After leaving Denny's we toured through the Mirage quickly, then went back to Circus Circus. We went and watched the Pet Tricks show on center stage, and then we waited a bit and watched some very cool trapeze artists.
Next on to Circus Circus's AdventureDome where we got an all day ride pass for $14.00. We spent the afternoon riding the big log ride Grand Slam Falls (getting wet), riding the very fun roller coaster Canyon Blaster. Had some fun driving bumper cars. I spent $2 to have my month of birth guessed (within 2 months) and won a bear (for Susan of course) because the "carny" picked a month six months away from my birthday.
At a bit after 4:00 we went looking for lunch. The Circus Circus buffet is closed from 4:00 to 4:30 so we went to the Promenade Café where we had some excellent food (highly recommend this restaurant--good price and good food, better than the Circus Circus buffet).
After a rest back in our room we headed towards down town. We looked in at the Sahara , very nice place. On to the Stratosphere. We looked around a bit, then headed to the elevators to go on up top to have dinner, ride the roller coaster (High Roller), and the Big Shot. As we stood in line, we noticed a sign saying the rides were closed (probably too windy). We skipped out (price for ride up and just dinner being too much) and went back to the Sahara. Excellent buffet, good price. After dinner, too cold to continue downtown so we went back to our room at the Riviera.
Up early (6:45). Down to Kady's (café in the Riviera). I ordered hot cakes, Susan ordered a fruit bowl. Nice food, all served by a robotic like host. Out to catch the bus at 8:00. We got on a bus with a nice driver, and went down to another hotel which was a meeting place for Guaranteed Tours tours leaving that day. After checking in, we got back on the bus with the same driver. The driver handed out some notebooks containing info on the history of Las Vegas and the area. We were off. Driver gave a good running commentary on hotels, history, jokes, you name it… We toured around and saw where various famous people had lived and owned land (like Howard Hughes, etc).
We watched part of a video on Hoover dam on the way out. Once there, we took some pictures, walked into Arizona, and then went on a guided tour of the inside of the dam. We both felt we would have preferred the more in depth hard hat tour, but didn't have the time to do it (the hard hat tour was an hour long) and we only had an hour left before our bus left again. We went 700 feet down in an elevator and then took a very neat tour (walking on a marble floor built to last 2000 years, that's what our guide told us anyway). The water behind the dam was quite high, supposedly only 5 bricks from the top. Once in the history of the dam, it overflowed (1983--maybe 84).
Once back on bus, we watched the remainder of the video. We stopped in at the Eldorado in Henderson (not the Gold Strike, the usual stop on the tour, it had burned down a few months earlier and was being rebuilt).
Lunch was good, and we spent a little while gambling in the casino. Lost a little money but had some fun.
Then it was on to Ethel M Chocolate factory where we toured the factory, tasted some fine chocolate, and then went through their cactus garden .
Once back in Las Vegas, we got off the bus at the MGM Grand. We went out back and bought a day pass to the theme park ($10). We were a little disappointed in the rides (being rather small), but we did have a lot of fun on the Grand Canyon Rapids and on Over the Edge (two water rides). We also enjoyed the "Feel the Beat" musical, and also were amazed at the Xtreme demonstration (there was a biker who could do a flip without any problem at all!). The one neat ride was a Skycoaster (SkyScreamer) but cost an extra $40 US (too extreme for us).
At 7:00 Grand Adventures closed, and so we made our way out of the park. Having just ridden the Grand Canyon Rapids we were a bit (quite a bit) wet and so went looking for a bathroom hot air hand dryer. MGM didn't have any. Neither did New York New York. Finally Excalibur did, so they won our "dinner ticket" (after drying off for five minutes in the washroom). After dinner we walked through the Luxor, then onto the new Mandalay Bay . Took a few pictures and enjoyed the classy feeling of this new casino.
For our trip back, a little after 10:00 we thought we'd catch the new train connecting Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur. We planned to get to the Bellagio by 11:00 to watch the water show. We almost made it on to the first train, but missed it by 4 people. We then stood in line for 30 minutes! Not impressed. Finally the train came back and we got in. Very crowded, but we made it back to Excalibur. Across the street to the MGM to ride the monorail to Bally's. I went to the washroom, and Susan played her one quarter. Won 50 quarters back! Played a few more quarters, but didn't get quite the same return as the first.
Out of Bally's (it was past 11:30 at this time) and just saw the end of the water show. We continued our walk, and finally made it back to our hotel. Off to bed (watching a bit of a Jackie Chan movie in the process).
Up early again! Same procedure. Same restaurant. Same breakfast. Same robotic service. This time it's out and across the street to Circus Circus to catch the bus to Primm . This time we're off directly to the destination. The driver does the standard good banter all the way there. We arrive at Buffalo Bill's a little after nine. The rides aren't open yet so we spend some time playing slot machines. By 10:00 we've made almost $10. Now it's off to buy a day pass for the rides. First ride is the 200 foot drop TurboDrop. Straight up! Then straight down! Acceleration totally gravity driven. With a bungee bounce at the end to avoid hurting ourselves. We rode a couple of times, encouraged by the very friendly ride staff. Next on to the Desperado. 140 km/h roller - coaster. 225 foot drop. World's tallest and fastest roller coaster (experiencing anywhere between 0 and 4G's--space shuttle astronaut only experience 3.2)!
After riding a few times we then move onto a virtual reality coaster. Bad idea! Makes you feel kind of sick. I recovered, Susan never did (at least in time for more big rides). We take some time to get some snacks, shop in the trinket shop. We then go on the Adventure Canyon Water Log Ride. A lot more fun than most water rides since we've got laser guns to blow up TNT and various bandits along the ride. We have lunch at Buffalo Bill's. Very good mashed potatoes (Susan's favourite food for the whole trip, how do they get them so smooth?!?).
After lunch we take a monorail over to Primm Valley Hotel and Casino. Look around a bit and then onto Whiskey Pete's. Do a teeny bit of gambling (not getting anything in return).
Back at Primm Valley Hotel and Casino we take a detour through the Fashion Outlet Mall (getting within a few feet of California, where the mall ends).
Once back at Buffalo Bill's we do the Motion Simulator a few times (that was fun), and then I go ride the TurboDrop and Desperado a bunch more times. $29 is a bit steep for a day pass, but this certainly has been the best rides we've seen.
At just after 5:00, we head back to Las Vegas.
Dinner at Circus Circus buffet (not as good as their Promenade Café restaurant). After dinner, we're quite tired so again miss getting downtown. We watch a center ring act up at the midway, and then Susan wins me a lamb while playing a squirt gun midway game, and then it's back to the room for bed.
Oh, the news say the Mandalay Bay-Luxor-Excalibur train opens tomorrow! Friday! They must have just been testing the thing the other day. That was the problem.
Over to the Peppermill for breakfast. Good food. One last response to the guys who have been trying to sell us time shares all week… "How long are you here for?" "Fifteen minutes". What could they answer to that?
On the transfer bus, back to McCarran international. In the store last year, I had wanted to buy a book Las Vegas Behind the Tables by Barney Vinson. It's still there so I get it. On the plane on the way back we read (because the movie has problems).
Pick up baby (the car), and we're home.
What a good trip!