Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fabulous Forty Vegas- Day 3

All You Need is LOVE
Friday, May 11, 2018 

Once again, we woke up earlier than we wanted to but we got right up and went to exploring. We ate breakfast at Baja Fresh inside Excalibur and we enjoyed it very much. After breakfast we had a few more drinks, for dehydration purposes of course, and then went to buy our show tickets. 

Wow... the strip was like a ghost town for cars at 9AM. 

Lots of friends had told me about the "Tickets Tonight" booths that offered half price tickets for THAT night's show. Unfortunately, these booths did not offer the show we wanted which was, LOVE. We then found a ticket distribution center on the strip and got our tickets for the 9:30PM show of LOVE. The tickets were about $165 each once you included all of the fees and taxes. This was WAY more than I planned or expected but Chris is worth it and looking back, I am really glad I pulled the trigger

TIP- This is the booth all of my friends were talking about and they have LOTS of location along the strip but they DO NOT sell every show. I should have done my research better. 

Once we got the tickets taken care of we rode the bus to the Venetian to use our free coupons from our flight. TIP- As I mentioned in the 1st installment, United has a 4 year partnership with The Venetian/ Palazzo and gives a coupon book on EACH of the flights to Las Vegas. This coupon book features $25 match play, FREE resort credits, BOGOF drinks, cocktails and even appetizers. It was a GREAT deal and had I known it was offered may have even stayed at one of these hotels... NEXT TIME! 

I LOVE this hotel! 

We have arrived at The Venetian. 

We ended up winning $75 off the free match play then spent the next 3-4 hours at the "Stadium Blackjack" tables and machines. This was a new style of Blackjack for us but we LOVED it. We ended up coming out ahead by about $150 and several hours of entertainment and drinks. 

We then went into the Venetian to see the canal area and the Canal Shops. I wanted to take a gondola ride but heard it was overrated so we opted not to. Again... NEXT TIME! 

Maybe next time... for MY 40th! 

Happy Birthday Chris! 

Another selfie... I was on a high from my winnings! 

We then went and explored Treasure Island, since we did not go into it in 2006. It also reminded me of the Oklahoma Indian casinos. The clientele was a little lower and the casino overall was not impressive. They also offered Stadium Blackjack and Roulette for a $3 minimum bet and we played there for about an hour. 

Haha this was an accidental selfie trying to find the button in the glare of the sun! 

Outside of Treasure Island. 

Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. It has gone downhill from what I remember in 2006.

Treasure Island entrance. 

We walked back to the Bellagio from Treasure Island and at this point in the trip, Chris was beginning to really feel his ankle. So we walked pretty slow. Next time I wish we would have taken the bus. 

Cesar's Palace Hotel and Casino. I swear this complex doubled in size since 2006!

Bally's and Paris as seen from the Bellagio bridge. 

We went into the Bellagio and played a little while before calling the kids and then making our way to the Bellagio Buffet for dinner. Chris really wanted to experience a Las Vegas Buffet for his birthday and we finally agreed on this one. We had heard a lot about and wanted to try it. Due to it being the Friday before Mother's Day we had to pay the holiday price of $49.95/ pp. 

TIP- The buffet itself was impressive but not $50/pp impressive and it is through this buffet we have now learned that we are just no longer buffet people (I'll admit, I NEVER was). I think the cruise lines have spoiled us with fine dining and upscale experiences. The food was great, especially the pre-cracked King and Snow Crab legs. These were about 12-15" long and cooked to perfection. This buffet offered specialty sushi, fine cuts of steak and beef, exquisite side dishes and even good ol fashioned turkey... but it was still not $50/ per person good. Good thing I was up $150 for the day because I just gave it all back to the buffet... NEVER AGAIN! 

The Bellagio Buffet.... not as "swanky" from the entrance I would have thought. 

Salad Bar and appetizer area. 

The seafood and steak area. 

These were very good and LARGE crab legs (and pre-cut open). 

We stayed at the buffet for 3 hours... I had to get my money's worth and then walked outside to the front of the Bellagio to catch the nightly fountain show. TIP- These shows are start every hour from 3-8PM (on the hour) and then every 30 minutes from 8PM to 1AM. The absolute BEST free attraction in Las Vegas in my opinion. 

NEVER a dull moment in Las Vegas! I loved this! 

The weather was just perfect and we caught one of the best show as the sun was just setting. 

TIP- Be sure to check this out! 

Elton John- Your Love

Afterwards we walked to the Mirage for our LOVE show. We arrived early and spent nearly an hour at the sports book just taking it all in. Then we made our way to the theater for our show. 

The Mirage entrance... Natalie would have LOVED this! 

This theater was extravagant and PERFECT for this show. The show itself was not crowded at all and we had EXCELLENT seats close to the front and center. I am not as familiar with the Beatles as Chris was but I very much enjoyed the music and story line. Overall, I think it was worth the $300+ price tag we paid for it! 

It's SHOWTIME! Once again, Happy Birthday Chris! 

Between the props, acrobatic acts and music, this show had it all!
WE LOVED EVERY minute of it!

All you need is LOVE! 

After the show we took the deuce back to NYNY to play $5 Blackjack. But believe it or not we first stopped inside NYNY to get a slice of pizza. I know, I know... We had just eaten a Las Vegas buffet but it smelt good and once again, we were feeling Las Vegas! Plus, we fell in love with the overall atmosphere of NYNY. I think we will stay here in the near future! 

After the midnight snack we found open seats at a $5 blackjack table and stayed there til the wee hours of the morning. I was continuing to win big but Chris was in a slump. We stayed there until around 3AM and left still up about $300 for the trip. 

We showered and once again, fell asleep very quickly! 

Once again, it was a day full of experiences and more importantly memories spent together! Our Vegas celebration was coming to an end so quickly! 

Stay tuned for our LAST day in Las Vegas before it is back to reality and the last 3 weeks of school for these 2 tired teachers! 

God is good... ALL the time! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Fabulous Forty Vegas- Day 2

Late Night Limos and Helicopters
Thursday, May 10, 2018


We woke up earlier than expected due to the light shining through our HUGE strip view window (This makes me miss the inside cruise ship cabins where it is dark 24 hours a day). We made our way to the food court in our hotel for a lovely breakfast of Krispy Kreme (HUGE disappointment because it was not a REAL KK... it didn't even have a HOT light!) and Popeye's... Hey, it's VEGAS

Westward view from our hotel!

STRIP view from our hotel!

A typical "gas station" type Krispy Kreme!
I was really bummed!

Again... it was not near as "budget" as I originally thought! 

As we left Excalibur to make our way down the strip we were stopped by a company selling "discount show tickets". I had heard about these from friends so we stopped and got info. We paid the money ($50 for 2 tickets to LOVE) and about 30 minute later we realized it was a company trying to sell us a time share. As good as it sounded I threw a fit and we got our money back. Ha... we are idiots! We will not make that mistake again! 

This is a REAL sign within our hotel! 
Again... we are complete idiots!
This is the ONLY memory I ever want to have of this whole ordeal! 

FINALLY, around 10:30AM, we got our OFFICIAL day started. We knew we wanted to see as much of the strip as possible but wanted to start on the north side as we missed most of this in 2006. We started by taking the walkway over to the MGM Grand and the east side of the Strip! 

Let's get this party started! 

We love the MGM Grand!

The Las Vegas Strip northbound! 

We then made our way to the east side of the strip and got on the Deuce bus to take us to the Wynn. As mentioned in the previous post, this is a $20/ 3 day bus pass that goes to practically EVERY hotel on the strip. We got off and explored the Wynn and the Encore casinos. They were GORGEOUS and absolutely stunning. 

Outside the Encore hotel!

Popeye the Sailor Man near the Wynn Theater!

Inside the Wynn. 

This carousel is made completely out of flowers!
Hello Green Thumb!

Outside the Wynn. 

This area was absolutely GORGEOUS!

We took some pictures and then made our way up to Circus Circus since we had never seen it before. TIP- We had also heard that this north side of the strip had $5 BlackJack tables. The casino reminded me of the Oklahoma Indian casinos and were older and run down. Plus there was still only 1 $5 table. We attempted to walk to the Stratosphere on foot but after about a block Chris said his foot was just hurting too much. 

Well... Now I can say I have been here! 

Still have not made it to the Stratosphere!
TIP- There is a GREAT gift shop where I took this picture. Shirts, bags and all kinds of souvenirs for great prices and still good quality! Just north of Circus Circus on the WEST side of the strip! There is a DEUCE bus stop right there! 

Time lapse video of our Deuce ride from Circus Circus to Aria 

We rode the Deuce back southbound back to the Aria where we made our way to Bobby's Burger Palace. Chris and I have watched the Food Network and particularly Bobby Flay our entire marriage so we were thrilled to try this place. The burgers were some of the absolute BEST we have ever had (to that point... more on that later), full of flavor and textures and the shakes were so good and hard to describe. 


So excited for our Burgers! 

SERIOUSLY, the best burger I had had to date... (STAY TUNED, this was topped by another Vegas venue. Check back for day 4)

We left #FatandHappy and then headed back towards the Excalibur to take a nap. We made a pit stop at NYNY and found $5 Blackjack tables. TIP- These tables are on the EAST side of the tables area and they offer about 3 tables for $5 blackjack. NYNY and Vegas in general (almost all of the casinos we went to) also still offer free cocktails while your'e playing, if that is your thing. This became a home for us over the course of the trip. 

Yep... YANKEES! We must be in New York New York!

This was for Luke's sake! But let's be honest, CHRIS loved it too! 

About 2 hours later we left about $300 richer as a couple. We finally made it back to our room and took a quick snooze before having to get ready for our evening of specialty dining and a HELICOPTER tour of the Las Vegas Strip, including a special surprise for Chris

We rode the bus back to the LINQ area for our dinner at Batista's Hole in the Wall. Little did we know how bad the STRIP traffic would be. We then got off at the wrong stop and could not find our way to the restaurant. We had to be at the NORTH Las Vegas airport (a 30 minute commute by taxi from the strip) by 8PM and it was already after 6PM so we decided to give up and find a different dining option. Personally, I was REALLY bummed! 

Las Vegas Strip Time lapse- 6PM Thursday, May 10, 2018
The traffic was THICK to say the least!
MGM to Bally's

We were already at the LINQ promenade so we opted for Gordon Ramsey's Fish and Chips. It was not the "fine dining" experience I wanted for this "birthday dinner" but it was EXCELLENT! TIP- For $30 TOTAL we were able to get some of the best "fish and chips" we have ever had, even better than the REAL fish and chips we had in London on our honeymoon back in 2006. I highly recommend this eatery when in Las Vegas. 

Traditional Fish and Chips!
TIP- The Truffle fries are worth the extra $3. 

The restaurant was not very large and we had to wait for a table. That would be more only complaint! 

I recommend this place for Fish and Chips lovers! 

After dinner we took the Deuce back to the northern most stop and then took an Uber to the North Las Vegas airport. The Uber cost approximately $20 with tip and we arrived at the airport just at 8PM. We got checked in and I was able to meet the kind lady I had spoke to so much in previous weeks. iFly Elite was the name of the company. The weight limit for this tour was 250# so we had to purchase an additional seat for Chris. Thanks to this kind lady, not only were we able to get all 3 seats at a HUGE discount from Groupon but we also were placed on a flight with the BEST views at the perfect time of darkness. The entire tour (with all 3 seats) including the tip for the pilot was only $130. If you include the Ubers to and from it was about $160 and WELL WORTH it. This was a steal compared to the $300 tour we paid for in Seattle. Be sure to check them out if you are interested in these type of tourist attractions. 

The North Strip area as seen from the upper deck of the Deuce Bus! 

The Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas! 

Main Street Station Casino in Downtown Las Vegas! 

The best sunset I could get on this trip! 

The flight was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE and we loved every minute of it. We saw the entire STRIP from North to south and then back up again. Plus we were able to see the Fremont Street Experience from the air as well. The biggest surprise of all was the LIMO ride that was included in the tour which took us from the airport entrance to the actual helicopter departure point! It was Chris's 1st time in a LIMO! 

Chris's very 1st Limo Ride! I LOVE spoiling him! 

Our evening transportation has arrived! 

Helicopter Selfie!

Our 1st view of the strip from the helicopter!

Downtown Las Vegas. 

The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. 

Circus Circus Hotel and Casino

Trump Tower Hotel (no casino) with the Las Vegas Strip in the background

Looking east to The Wynn and The Encore. 

A view of the central strip. 

The Mirage... where what we all know as the LV strip all began

The Las Vegas Strip (from Mirage to City Center South)

Mandalay Bay and Delano (this was a new addition since 2006)

The Excalibur Hotel and Casino.

The Southern parts of the LV Strip. 

The Las Vegas strip from Mandalay Bay looking North. 

The Las Vegas Strip from McCarran Airport looking North.

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. 

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino with the Rio and Palms in the background. 

Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino (left of the Ferris wheel)

The LINQ High Roller Ferris Wheel. 
It is currently the world's tallest Ferris wheel. 
TIP- Check GROUPON for discount tickets. I wanted to do this but with a little over 48 hours in town, there was not enough time. 

The Venetian Hotel and Casino.

The Palazzo Hotel and Casino. 

The north Las Vegas Strip (from The Wynn area)
Mid-Left is the old site of the Stardust Casino. Soon to be the Resorts World Las Vegas. 

Circus Circus Hotel and Casino

Downtown and Fremont Street. 

Our last view of the Las Vegas Strip.

Happy 40th Birthday Chris! 

Our helicopter tour of Las Vegas (sorry the noise and the windows are kinda smudged)

TIP - This the tour and company we used through Groupon. It was a VERY cheap experience BUT it does take off from the NORTH Las Vegas airport and you do have to factor in the cost of the Uber and transportation to and from. However, even after purchasing an additional seat this was easily the best cost! If you have time and/or money to do so, I would HIGHLY recommend this tour. 

We took an Uber back to downtown Las Vegas so we could experience Fremont Street. And WOW... what an experience it was. I have seen a lot of things in my adult life but this was something else. We saw all kinds of half naked (let's be honest, it was more like 90% naked) people, Superheros, amateur musicians and even a ROBBERY! We saw the Las Vegas police strip search a guy for stealing GATORADE and hats. Awe... the memories! 
I felt like I had FINALLY arrived at the old school Las Vegas. 

The Las Vegas Vic! 

The man robbing the "ABC" (Vegas Walgreens) store for hats and Gatorade.
It was a sight to see for sure. 

The Fremont Street Experience Light Show. 

I personally loved this area. 

We spent the evening enjoying the lights, music, drinks and atmosphere and then went into the Golden Nugget and played a few hands of blackjack. I even treated Chris to the world famous White Castle. That is a true experience no matter what, but experiencing it in Las Vegas after a night on Fremont street was so much fun! 

This remind me of the GN in Lake Charles...

Until I saw this pool. WOW... the shark and aquarium area was spectacular. 

This is OLD SCHOOL Kellie vacation meals. My family and I wondered upon these about 20 years ago and they are just PERFECT for small meals and traveling. 

They are also great for late night in Vegas. 

Peace Out Fremont! See you next time! 

At this point we were exhausted and really beginning to feel "Vegas" so we caught a Deuce back to our hotel and called it an evening. TIP- This bus ride was nearly 25 minutes since we were in downtown and riding almost the entire length of the strip, however, with the Deuce pass you get access to the "Downtown Express" (DTX) which makes fewer stops at hotels for a faster ride. Had we rode the actual Deuce it would have been at least 45 minutes. I would recommend catching a DTX when traveling up to downtown. 

40 years and pondering life on the Las Vegas Strip. It was too perfect of a moment not to take a picture! 

Our 1st full day is complete! IT WAS AMAZING! 

It was after 2AM and we were TIRED. We fell asleep within 5 minutes! 

Day 2 was an exceptional journey up and down the Las Vegas strip with memories that will last another 40 years. I am so glad I was able to SPOIL my husband with this day! 

Thank again to Allison for keeping the kids! She had a busy day herself with school for the kids, baseball for Luke (where he got ANOTHER game ball) and a full day of working from my house for herself. Welcome to Motherhood Auntie Allie! But seriously... THANK YOU SO MUCH! WE LITERALLY COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU! 

Stay tuned for Day 3! 

God is Good... ALL the time!