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Going to Vegas...Need Advice


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So I'm going to Vegas for a convention in a little over a week, and I'm going to have a day at the end of the trip to myself to go coastering and whatnot (Saturday 6/21).

(I may also have some time on Monday 6/16. We're scheduled to land around noonish local time & I don't know what all we have planned for the rest of that day)

 

I know I want to ride all four coasters in the greater Vegas area (Canyon Blaster, El Loco, Manhattan Express/The Roller Coaster/Whatever They're Calling It Now, & Desperado). Is there anything else I need to make sure that I do while I'm there? I've never gambled before, but I figure I'll take $100 or $150 and go try my hand at blackjack or something for a while.

 

The other big question is what would be the best plan of attack for Saturday as far as where to go when? I won't have a car for the convention, so at some point I'll need to rent one to drive out to Buffalo Bill's for Desperado. It looks like my hotel for Friday night is going to be right near Circus Circus, so I'm thinking of starting at the Adventuredome and then going from there. Thoughts?

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^ I would check with Buffalo Bills to see what time their rides open (call them, don't just trust the website) and go out there first thing on Saturday. Then hit NYNY on your way back and end at Adventuredome.

 

Buffallo Bills seems VERY flaky on their operating times and I would most certainly double check, even the day of your visit, before you drive out there and find their rides schedule to have changed or for a ride to not be operating.

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Robb is dead on correct about Buffalo Bill's.

 

Desperado is fun, but not if you drive out there (really only about 45 minutes if light traffic) and nothing's open!

 

if you're not terrified of heights (or spending money), the rides on top of Stratosphere are fun -- tho I would never, EVER do the repel down the side of the tower- regardless of how popular it is!).

 

But Big Shot and Insanity (the claw) are not to be missed -- if you're not scared of heights.

 

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$100 or $150 at Blackjack (if you've never gambled) likely won't last more than 5 minutes. . seriously, most of the tables on the strip are $10-$20/ hand, and it goes fast if it's not a full table. If you want to gamble, I'd suggest the quarter slots. . . they are fun, and the money will last longer, so you'll get more enjoyment out of it.

 

 

Personally, we LOVE the Wicked Spoon buffet at Cosmopolitan, but a friend just went and told us it was $37 per person. Still worth it, but yeah. . not cheap buffet at all.

 

 

Edit to add: The High Roller which opened behind Flamingo/Harrah's/Quad looks spectacular (some folks have done trip reports on CBR). . I'd ride that!

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I went to Adventuredome on a weekday in early May and it was dead, I walked on El Loco multiple times. Manhattan Express shouldn't have much of a wait if you go on a weekday either, and try to do it at night. I didn't do Desperado so I really can't comment on that. But I do feel like the other three should be doable in a day if you do Adventuredome early in the day when it opens and Manhattan Express at night, leaving you some extra time here and there to do whatever.

 

Also, High Roller at night is something I recommend. It's a tad pricey but if you can afford it I would definitely recommend it.

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The roller coaster advice is all sound, but if you haven't gambled before, find a $5 craps table and bet on the pass line. Your money will stay stagnant (win some, lose some) until you figure out the game, and you get free drinks while you are hanging out there!

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^ I would check with Buffalo Bills to see what time their rides open (call them, don't just trust the website) and go out there first thing on Saturday. Then hit NYNY on your way back and end at Adventuredome.

 

Buffallo Bills seems VERY flaky on their operating times and I would most certainly double check, even the day of your visit, before you drive out there and find their rides schedule to have changed or for a ride to not be operating.

 

Definitely. I was out in Vegas this past March and planned to go over there early Thursday. Fortunately, I check their operating schedule and found out that they were only open Fri-Sun. They didn't start operations until 12pm that Friday I went over there (actually, is was closer to 12:30).

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if you're not terrified of heights (or spending money), the rides on top of Stratosphere are fun -- tho I would never, EVER do the repel down the side of the tower- regardless of how popular it is!).

For what reason do you not recommend it? Is it mainly because of how high up it is, or is it just a bad experience? i don't have any plans for visiting Vegas, but if it comes up, then I was thinking of getting down that way! I'd rather take that way down then the elevator!

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Also keep in mind school is now out here in Las Vegas and Adventuredome is now operating 10:00AM to 12 Midnight daily. The park has already been busy since school let out, though wait times are never anything more than 30 minutes. Have a great trip!

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if you're not terrified of heights (or spending money), the rides on top of Stratosphere are fun -- tho I would never, EVER do the repel down the side of the tower- regardless of how popular it is!).

For what reason do you not recommend it? Is it mainly because of how high up it is, or is it just a bad experience? i don't have any plans for visiting Vegas, but if it comes up, then I was thinking of getting down that way! I'd rather take that way down then the elevator!

 

 

It is super expensive ($120 per jump!), and it just frightens the crap outta me. . that's why I'd "never ever" do it

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if you're not terrified of heights (or spending money), the rides on top of Stratosphere are fun -- tho I would never, EVER do the repel down the side of the tower- regardless of how popular it is!).

For what reason do you not recommend it? Is it mainly because of how high up it is, or is it just a bad experience? i don't have any plans for visiting Vegas, but if it comes up, then I was thinking of getting down that way! I'd rather take that way down then the elevator!

 

 

It is super expensive ($120 per jump!), and it just frightens the crap outta me. . that's why I'd "never ever" do it

Wow I had no idea it was that expensive...but I would still do it! Its Las Vegas! Go big or don't go! And besides, it'd sure make a heck of a story...

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Like Robb says, call Buffalo Bill's minutes before you drive out. They operate their rides like a permanent carnival: if so-and-so couldn't come in that day, well then shucks the Desperado just can't operate. Saturday is your best bet as that is a big money-making day for them. A rental car, of course, will be infinitely cheaper than a taxi and honestly I'd recommend it for the entire stay if you seek transportation for much of it. Aside from downtown (and unless you want to do some zip-lining... don't bother with downtown), the strip and yes, Primm too, boast free parking and it's not at all limited. Every single hotel property has gigantic parking garages so a spot is extremely easy to find.

 

Due to the Adventuredome's summer hours you can about check out the park anytime. If you seek only one ride on Canyon Blaster and El Loco, I'd recommend going late and buying separate passes (I believe it's $8 for CB and $10 for Loco) and knocking them out in five minutes flat. Multiple rides I'd recommend the all-day pass which is just $29. Not sure which convention you're going to, but the prime convention centers (Sands and LV) are both within walking distance of Circus Circus. If you're close enough you could jog over there and actually do both in a single hour. Monday would actually be the BEST day to do this: little crowds and you don't have to plan your whole day around it.

 

Manhattan Express I'd recommend going on Saturday night if you don't have a flight to catch. This is the one I'd be worried about a line (aside from the massive costs), not to mention you'll probably need a drink afterward to soothe the pain. While you're there you might as well check out the new outdoor mall they're constructing, which includes a brand-new lavish Hershey's Chocolate World.

 

As for other things aside from gambling, it really depends on how much you're willing to spend. For every amusement that's free, there's another extremely costly one just around the corner. Since you will be spending most of your time at a convention and wanting to catch the four coasters I'd absolutely 100% recommend not to do the "strip walk". If your hotel is in the middle of the strip you may consider walking to either end which won't exactly kill you, but the entire thing will completely burn you out. It's not so much that it's a straight line but the fact that most hotel and resorts have gotten wise and force you to take detours into their casinos (cough cough City Center cough cough), making the walk even longer then it should be. A lot of hotels on the west side of the strip have free monorails between their properties if you do: make note of them and use wisely.

 

Luxor has some pricey novelty exhibits like Bodies and Titanic, Excalibur has a midway/arcade/defunct simulator-in-cobwebs, Mandalay Bay has the Shark Reef aquarium that is literally the last thing you can reach on the strip, MGM Grand has... CSI the Experience (how the tried-to-be-mighty-has-fallen), Bellagio has its fountains... and then there's the ultimate tourist trap aka Showcase Mall/Hawaiian Marketplace. Unless you REALLY love M&M's avoid it like the plague. After about a dozen of malls that mix in high-end shopping with kitsch and novelty you finally get to the Linq which is fun (and new!) because it's mostly kitsch and has the High Roller, Brooklyn Bowl and Ghirardelli. High Roller is pricey, but the night view is totally worth it and it's a world-record holder right now so that's a plus. Across the street is Caesar's which has the Forum Shops containing the only animatronics on the strip... and Hangover merchandise. After that is the Venetian with pricey gondolas (they are both indoor and outdoor) that look romantic with a couple and hysterically pathetic with a single person. The Grand Canal Shoppes are a carbon-copy of the Forum Shops except without robots and with more water. (not to mention higher price tags)

 

Outside the Venetian is the tiniest Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum ever built. I only mention this because right now it contains a cute 4D Marvel Avengers show at the very end... it's up to you if you think it is worth it. Back to the west side, The Mirage still has its volcano show at night and the indoor casino still features its lush greenhouse. You can also pay to visit the Secret Garden which contains tigers and dolphins. Next door is the Treasure Island. There's no show anymore. Everything there is being knocked down to build the zillionth shopping mall on the strip that will combine bars, restaurants, high end shopping and kitsch. Hooray. The only thing of note is that a tram will take you from TI to the Mirage. The Fashion Show Mall next door isn't attached to a property and aside from a neat and eclectic food court out front (not to mention "the cloud")... it's not much of mention either.

 

About the north end of the strip is where things get a little depressing. Two flat lots lie on either side, one (which used to be the Stardust) is being made into Resorts World Las Vegas, the other (which used to be the original [and far superior] Wet n Wild) is... just collecting dust. The Sahara is also shut down and being turned into SLS. Quite literally it's just Circus Circus lying in between a vast wasteland.

 

LVH and the Stratosphere lie at the very end of the strip. The Stratosphere will soak up a ton of cash if you let it. There's a fee to access the observation deck (it's double digits) and there's of course separate fees for the rides (also double digits). However there are tower packages available to reduce costs. If you're really terrified of heights but still want a thrill, ironically I'd recommend the big shot. It may propel you higher than any single ride on the strip, but at least it doesn't dangle you over the edge.

 

Just off the strip, there's the Rio which also opened up a super-expensive zipline attraction that propels you from its tallest tower to the other... and then you go backward. Strangely enough, the entire experience has you facing AWAY from the strip. I'm not sure if I'd recommend however it is the tallest zipline available in the area right now.

 

Otherwise, like I mentioned earlier be prepared for a lot of construction. Vegas is undergoing yet another transformation into a bizarre megalopolis that offers unlimited shopping (the city is trying to attain the notoriety of being the shopping capital of the world), a vast array of awe-inspiring and grand attractions (a far cry from the cutesy/Disney-wanna-be attempts of the 90s) and even a sports arena that is rumored to bring an NBA team into the city. And, of course, gambling and hotel rooms.

 

Finally, gambling with $100 to $150 on the strip is really only worth it if you prepare to lose it all. However in case you do get lucky I'd first pick up a rewards card at any property you're staying with. It's free, and usually gives you discounts on any restaurants you dine at on said properties anyways. (many hotels are owned by the same corporation, especially MGM/Mirage and Caesar's) If you want your money to last, and you happen to pick up a rental car I'd recommend driving out east into Henderson. Local casinos such as Green Valley Ranch, Sunset Station (which just happens to be a stone's throw away from the soon-to-open Cowabunga Bay water park) and Fiesta Henderson offer cheaper minimums on all their tables which could easily give you at least an hour of play. If you're worried about gas, no worries as these hotels are only within 10 to 15 minutes driving distance of the strip on the 2-15 freeway. (by contrast, Primm is about 30 to 40 minutes out on the I-15)

 

Hope this helps!

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In regards to Skyjump Las Vegas... It is AMAZING!!! The fall itself is not actually that amazing, it's just that first step off the platform, and the first second or two of the fall! It's comes with a nice price tag, but it is simply amazing, and when to this day when I tell people about it they still say "OMG, No way" So then I have to drag out the photos and videos! If you are in Vegas, Skyjump is a must! Even more so if you are slightly scared of heights. I also highly recomend the other 3 rides at the top of the tower. X-Scream, Insantiy, and Big Shot are all super thrilling, just because of their location. If you do X-Scream, make sure to sit front row, right side! Enjoy your trip, and we all look forward to a PHOTO Trip Report!

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Outside the Venetian is the tiniest Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum ever built. I only mention this because right now it contains a cute 4D Marvel Avengers show at the very end... it's up to you if you think it is worth it.

 

 

we've enjoyed it in the past, but agreed, not worth it for full price.

 

HOWEVER (and I mention because if he gets to take in a show, he might be at the booth anyways) you'll see "Tix4Tonight" booths all up and down the strip, offering discount tickets to shows -- as well as restaurants.

 

and they happen to offer cheap tickets to Madame Tussaud's. I think the last time we went, back in 2012, the admission (bought from a Tix4Tonight booth) were only $13 each.

 

for that price, it was a worthwhile hour spent looking at wax figures:

 

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Thanks everybody for all the tips. Right now, here is my preliminary list of the things I would like to see/do while I'm out there, with a few maaaybe's in there. I have no idea if I'll be able to fit them all in, especially since I'll be with my boss for most of the time, but we'll see.

 

Thrills:

Stratosphere--Big Shot, X-Scream, and Skyjump (I don't do spinning rides)

Adventuredome--Canyon Blaster, El Loco, Sling Shot

NYNY--The Roller Coaster/Manhattan Express/The Big Apple Coaster/Whatever they're calling it this week

Buffalo Bills--Desperado

Wet'n'wild? (someone mentioned this one--is it worth going to? and can I do most of the slides as a single-rider, or is it going to be a waste of money?)

(I don't plan to do the High Roller)

 

Shows:

I've been told to go see a Cirque show (never seen one before). Looking at Mystere for Saturday night.

Fremont Street Viva Vision Light Show

Fountains at the Bellagio

 

Dining:

Definitely going to Gordon Ramsay Steak on Saturday night

Also looking at Lola's, Emeril's restaurants, and Wolfgang Puck's restaurante

Need suggestions for non-super-fancy (but still very good) places so I don't blow all my money on food

 

Educational/Informational:

Hoover Dam

Clark County Museum

Neon Museum

Mob Museum

National Atomic Testing Museum

 

Animal Attractions:

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

 

 

Again, I very highly doubt I'll have time to do all that, but what should I kill off? Is there anything that I'm really missing that I should put up there?

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Shows:

I've been told to go see a Cirque show (never seen one before). Looking at Mystere for Saturday night.

 

 

 

I'd kill off the animal attractions for sure (they are overpriced, and not really something you can't get anywhere else).

 

as for shows, you really can't go wrong with any of the Cirque shows in Vegas (tho the Criss Angel Believe one is boring to me, and we disliked the majority of Zumanity).

 

Mystre is a good "starter" show, as it IS the first Cirque show they brought to Vegas -- and they have updated it within the past few years with a few new acts.

 

for my money tho?. . I'd go for either "O" or "Love". . the two best shows in my opinion.

 

for food, my standard recommendation for the past several years is Wicked Fork at Cosmopolitan. It's a gourmet buffet, served tapas style. . . so it's not the standard Vegas buffet. Yes, it is sorta pricey, but yes, it's worth it.

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I suggest this to everyone who goes to Vegas.

 

Go to the Pinball Hall of Fame.

 

It has hundreds of pinball machines and it is an electric atmosphere. Even if you don't really play pinball, just spending a half hour and just looking at the machines. The pictures on the website do not give it justice. Best part FREE ENTRY. Most of the machines are a quarter for 5 balls. All proceeds go to charity.

 

http://www.pinballmuseum.org/

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I suggest this to everyone who goes to Vegas.

 

Go to the Pinball Hall of Fame.

 

It has hundreds of pinball machines and it is an electric atmosphere. Even if you don't really play pinball, just spending a half hour and just looking at the machines. The pictures on the website do not give it justice. Best part FREE ENTRY. Most of the machines are a quarter for 5 balls. All proceeds go to charity.

 

http://www.pinballmuseum.org/

I almost wish the proceeds didnt go to charity, Id like to support the guy who runs it. He does really great work and I kinda worry what will happen to the museum when he can no longer run it since he's pretty much a one man operation. Every once in a while when Rick Dale at Ricks Restorations gets a pinball or arcade machine in to restore Tim may be hired to do the mechanics inside and hes a freakin genius.

 

For someone above who said the Titanic exhibit is pricey, it is like $35 I think but if you have any interest in history it is so very worth it. Its not just a few pictures and pieces of rusty metal, they have entire parts of the ship reconstructed (including the stairway and a first/second/third class cabin), hundreds of artifacts from the ship and a huge section of the hull. They also give you a card with information about a passenger when you enter and when you leave you find out if "you" lived or died. It was may favorite part of my last Vegas visit and I highly recommend it. You can get discounted tix at the Tix4Tonight booth.

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Get the all day pass at the adventure dome... you'll want more than just one ride on El Loco... it's a lot of fun....

 

I'd kill off the animal attractions for sure (they are overpriced, and not really something you can't get anywhere else).

 

I was looking at the 3 for $57 package and getting the Adventuredome all day pass, The Roller Coaster all day wristband (even though I'll likely only ride it 1 or 2x), and then something else. Other options are Bodies, Titanic, CSI, Shark Reef, Secret Garden, or SCORE!.

 

If I didn't do the animal attractions, what else (if anything) would you recommend on that list?

 

 

Shows:

I've been told to go see a Cirque show (never seen one before). Looking at Mystere for Saturday night.

as for shows, you really can't go wrong with any of the Cirque shows in Vegas (tho the Criss Angel Believe one is boring to me, and we disliked the majority of Zumanity).

 

Mystre is a good "starter" show, as it IS the first Cirque show they brought to Vegas -- and they have updated it within the past few years with a few new acts.

 

for my money tho?. . I'd go for either "O" or "Love". . the two best shows in my opinion.

 

From the seat maps, it looks like you'd want to sit in the lower section for O and a little further back for Mystere. That is a huuuuuge price difference. I can get a seat right near the sound booth for Mystere for $85. The front middle section for O is $198; the section back with the sound booth is $182.

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From the seat maps, it looks like you'd want to sit in the lower section for O and a little further back for Mystere. That is a huuuuuge price difference. I can get a seat right near the sound booth for Mystere for $85. The front middle section for O is $198; the section back with the sound booth is $182.

 

You should definitely avoid the lower section for Mystere. I've seen the show over 20 times and sat all over the theatre. One of the aerial acts in the show (Bungees) practically performs right over the entire lower section. You pretty much have to look straight up the entire time the acrobats are flying over you. The seats near the sound booth are the best.

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