Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vegas Getaway

Just got back from a quick trip to Vegas. OK, I admit, we didn't just get back. We got back Tuesday night. There, are you happy?

We went to Vegas as a belated birthday gift for Jesse. Since he turned 18, we told him we would take him to Disneyland or Vegas. Since his mom wanted to take him to Disneyland, he chose to go to Vegas with us.

The week before Christmas or the week after New Years are the cheapest time to go to Vegas & less people too. Since Jesse didn't have to be back to school until next Monday, we decided to go after New Years.

We left our house Sunday morning around 10:40am. Our goal was to leave by 10am, so we were 40 minutes late leaving. But that is good for us. We are usually never on time when leaving for trips. We got to Vegas about 2:15pm. Took us about 3 1/2hours to get there. Not too bad of a trip from where we live.

The road trip to Vegas seemed to whizz by as I was busy reading "Twilight". I got about 1/2 way through the book. And no, I was not driving, I left that task to Mike. In regards to "Twilight", so far it's a good read, but I haven't gotten swept up in it as it seems every other girl or woman in the world has. Everyone tells me they couldn't put it down. But I had no problem putting it down. Maybe the hype around the book had my expectations too high. Not sure what the problem is, but I haven't seen the magic yet. What's wrong with me?

Back to Vegas: We were starving by the time we got into town. So we stopped at Mandalay Bay Hotel & ate at their buffet. We got there just as they were closing the champagne brunch line. Luckily they keep food in the buffet for an hour after they close the line, so we lucked out. It was one of the best buffets we've had in Vegas. The most important thing is they had crab legs. My family loves crab legs!!! We ate till we could eat no more.

Then we drove over to the Luxor Hotel & checked in. I had reserved 2 rooms since the prices were so low. The boys had their own room & Mike and I had ours. But for as huge as the Luxor is, you'd think that they could find us 2 rooms that were right next door to each other. But no, the best they could do was to get us on the same floor. But we were still quite far from the boys room. They liked it better not being right next to us, but the mom in me wasn't happy. I made sure they knew where the emergency exit was in case their was a fire.

Sunday evening was spent cruising the strip. We stopped at Caesar's Palace to go to the Forum shops. We just missed the Atlantis show (statues & fountain that comes to life) that Jesse wanted to see as I stopped to shop at F A O Schwarz toy store. That is a fun toy store. I ended up buying a Steiff teddy bear that came in a small suitcase. It was "cheap" for being a Steiff bear. When I went to pay for it, I was surprised at how generous FAO Schwarz return policy is. They have a 1 year return policy. Can you believe that? You can return any item purchased for 1 year, no questions asked for a complete refund. So I told Mike that I could enjoy the bear for a year & if I get bored, I can bring it back for a full refund next year. I know I won't, but I love having the option. Who has a 1 year return policy anymore? Most places, you are lucky if you can bring back a item in 30 days. Most stores now make it near next to impossible to return items. I was impressed by this store.

Monday morning we got up late & ate at the buffet at the Luxor. We just missed breakfast, so we had to pay an extra $2 a person for lunch. But when we got in, they not only had lunch items, but still had breakfast stuff too. So we first ate breakfast, then we ate lunch. I love buffets.

After lunch, we walked over to Excalibur as Jesse wanted to see "Dick's Last Resort" restaurant. We should have gone there for lunch, but we didn't think about it before we ate, oh well. We watched the waiters being rude to the customers and the customers wearing funny hats with funny sayings on them. If you have never eaten at "Dick's Last Resort", it's a riot. Give it a try sometime. But if you are like Mom & need stuff like silverware and/or plates, you might not want to go. We stopped at a store in Excalibur & bought Gunner a Viking hat and sword. With a name like Gunner, he needed a Viking hat, and Mike insisted that he needed a sword. We then went down stairs and played in the arcade for awhile.

We then drove to the outlet mall & went shopping. Brandon doesn't like to shop, so he waited in the car. Jesse found a deal on some denim jeans, so he stocked up. I got a new pair of $5.00 sunglasses. It was quite cold in Vegas, in the 40's during the day & the 30's at night. When we come out of the outlet mall, it was dark & quite cold. Luckily, Brandon didn't freeze in the car. He said it stayed warm in there.

After shopping it was time to head back to our hotel to get ready for the Criss Angel "Believe" show at the Luxor. Luckily I got tickets at 40% off through Travelzoo. If you have never been to, you should check it out. They have great travel deals. I bought the cheapest seats (cheapskate that I am), so our seats were in the back. But the theater isn't that big, so the seats were good enough. The "Believe" show wasn't the best show we have seen in Vegas. But it was good, not great, just good. Better than the reviews I read. If I had read the reviews prior to buying the show tickets, we probably wouldn't have gone. We enjoyed it though. Criss didn't do any spectacular magic tricks, just your standard ones. I've never scene his Mindfreak show on TV, so I don't know what he does on that, but the magic in the "Believe" show was standard magician stuff. The costumes & sets were great, but the content was just good. I'm glad we didn't pay full price for our tickets. Afterwards, we ate dinner in the Cafe at the Luxor. Expensive, but good. In hindsight we should have just ate at McDonalds in the food court as it would have been much cheaper, but we were in Vegas & it's only money.

On Tuesday we had to check out of our hotel by 11am. We were on time for checking out believe it or not. We then went down the strip to do some shopping. Jesse was looking for t-shirts & Mike wanted to go to the Coca Cola store.

After shopping on the strip, we drove down to the Silverton Hotel to go to the Bass Pro Shop. If you have never been to a Bass Pro Shop, make sure you go to the one in Vegas next time you are there. It is a huge store. A mega store for the male species. But it even has some cool stuff for the ladies. I love the waterfalls they have in the store. The woman's bathroom was cool and they have this lobby you can lounge in that is soooo comfy. Brandon & I hung out in the lobby when we got tired. It had a huge fireplace to keep us warm. I would totally love to live in a log cabin in the mountains somewhere. As long as it looked like the lobby of the Bass Pro Shop & there was other shopping nearby. The store also gives fishing lessons, you can rock climb, you can shoot a gun or bow and arrow (they charge for most of the extra curricular activities). But if you ever wanted to try any of these things out, this is the place to go. The store is attached to the Silverton Hotel & Casino. We have stayed here quite a bit. If you don't want to stay in a mega hotel, the Silverton is a charming smaller hotel. It has changed alot since the first time be stayed there, they now have a fabulous aquarium that mermaids swim in every couple of hours, as well as the Bass Pro Shop. Their new theme is "Living Lodge".

On the way out of town, we stopped in Primm (Stateline) to eat at Buffalo Bill's Hotel & Casino. They have a T-bone steak special for $7.99. Comes with soup or salad, t-bone steak, baked potato, veggies & roll. Quite tasty. Primm is about the only place left that you can find a deal on food. Vegas has now become quite expensive for food, but you usually get alot of food for your money (unless you go to the hoity toity restaurants). So we only ate 4 times in the 3 days we were there, but I spent $250 on food for the 4 of us and that didn't include tips.

We got home about 8pm on Tuesday night. All in all, we had a great time. Too quick, but fun. Spent more money than I would have liked to, but it was Vegas. We are proof that you can have fun in Vegas without drinking or gambling. Vegas is still a deal when compared to other places. Where else can you stay in a nice hotel for $50.00?

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