Need help with family vacation to Las Vegas in May.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Shawn Shultzaberger, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Shawn Shultzaberger

    Shawn Shultzaberger Supporting Actor

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    Every year we go somewhere new. This year we've decided to go to Las Vegas in late May.

    We have two boys ages 13 and 11. We'd like to stay at a casino that is family oriented but still on the strip and somewhat centrally located (easy walking distance to most of the major attractions).

    I'd like to find a place where they could roam free (arcades, pool, family entertainers) and not get into trouble (i.e. - adult oriented activities). I've checked the website for Circus Circus. It looks like an average place to stay with way above average activities for the kids but below par for we adults. [​IMG] Then there's Treasure Island, Excalibur, MGM Grand and so on.

    I guess what I'd like to find is a casino that we can compromise on. Nice amenities and activities for my wife and I (such as a Jacuzzi in the room, beautifully appointed and luxurious rooms, room service, big pool, adult oriented shows and etc) but still keep the kids excited and busy by themselves (a pool, large arcade, rides, movies, entertainers and etc). This would be for about 2 days with the last 2 days seeing the sites outside of Las Vegas. I want us "all" to enjoy the time there.


    Any ideas or suggestions? Anyone live in Vegas that has some tips and/or things to look out for? Will it be pool weather during May?

    I've only been to Las Vegas once and that was right after the Mirage was built and even then I was only there for five hours before I had to fly out.
     
  2. Jerry Almeida

    Jerry Almeida Second Unit

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    It's not exactly center strip, but my suggestion would be the Monte Carlo. It sophisticated enough for you and your wife, yet has a very nice pool, decent arcade, and Lance Burton for the kids. It's also right next to NYNY which has a big arcade and a roller coaster. Across the street from NYNY is Excalibur, again, very kid friendly. The kids could probably keep busy in those three hotels alone, and not have to travel too far.

    That side of the strip also has a Game Works, and movie theater. They're basically right across the street from the Monte Carlo.
     
  3. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I'd stay away from Circus Circus. It's not really on the Strip (I mean, it is technically but I consider The Mirage the beginning of the "good" part) and it's kind of a dump.

    At the other end of the spectrum is Mandalay Bay (my favorite) which has the best pool in Vegas but is at the other end of the Strip.
     
  4. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Sadly, CircusCircus has not aged well. Stayed there once. Won't do that again. It wasn't BAD...just...aged. However, it DOES have a lot of activities for kids...one of the reasons I won't go back. TOO MANY kids. [​IMG] And it IS at the far end of the strip...

    Treasure Island has recently done a bit of a remodeling to make them more "adult". (I posted a thread about this a little while back...) They've removed all the pirate-ish stuff, and re-done the pirate show to make it..uh...sexier. [​IMG] Plus they cut the size of the arcade to about 10% of what it was. Not sure if you want to check out the newly remodelled "TI". (I'm sure it's still a nice place to stay, but it isn't as "kid-friendly" as it used to be.)

    MGM and Excalibur are probably good choices. But if you want well-appointed rooms and such, I agree with Jerry that Monte Carlo might be a good choice to check out...even if it isn't a "theme" hotel. (Or at least not as "strongly" themed.) Great pool, and Lance Burton puts on a great magic show I'm sure everyone would enjoy. (I've seen it twice.)

    Mandalay is awesome! It IS at the far end of the strip, but it has a stunning pool/surfing area. [​IMG] Plus it has some cool attractions, like the "Shark Reef".

    Pool weather in May? Most certainly!

    Another fun thing for the whole family might be Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. (It's over at the Venitian) The figures are just amazing, and there are familiar faces for all generations. (Plus you can pose with the figures and fool your friends with the photos. *snicker*) Not sure if this interests you, but thought I'd mention it. [​IMG]

    Any other questions? I'm a Vegas-addict. [​IMG]
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Yeah, Circus Circus pretty much sucks, except for the Adventuredome out back. They have some indoor rides including a roller coaster and your standard carnival styl games.

    New York, New York has a roller coaster and a pretty decent arcade. It's also pretty much right in the middle of everything.

    Mandalay Bay actually has a pretty cool aquarium/shark reef. No, really...It's really pretty good. Their pool area kicks ass. Wave pool, lazy river...all kinds of stuff.
     
  6. Ricky Hustle

    Ricky Hustle Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Jerry above. The Monte Carlo is a very nice hotel, my parents have spent some nights there when they come and visit us here in Vegas.

    It is surrounded by New York, New York, Gameworks, the theater, and the MGM is close as well.

    The Monte Carlo is also on the better end of the strip. You can't go wrong staying there.
     
  7. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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    I highly recommend the MGM Grand. When you tire of the Casinos and glitz, load up the kids and take a day trip to Valley of Fire State Park. It's awesome. Then spend some time at Lake Mead. There's a lot more to Vegas than Vegas, and it is all worth the trip.
     
  8. Shawn Shultzaberger

    Shawn Shultzaberger Supporting Actor

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    Wow! Thanks for the responses. Definitely what I was looking for. I agree that the proper description for Circus Circus is "aged".

    I'll take a look online at MGM Grand, Monte Carlo and Mandalay Bay (which is my wifes favorite but boy is it spendy). The mall next to MGM Grand is a big plus because of the shopping for my wife and the "Game Works" arcade for me and the kids. [​IMG] Definitely will go check out the Wax museum and if money allows we may try the go see the "Blue Man Group" and the Cirque Du Soleil show.

    We are renting a mini-van so we can see what is out side of Vegas. My kids want to go see the Dam after watching the movie "National Lampoons Vegas Vacation". I'm just not sure how far away it is. They want to take some Dam pictures and catch some Dam fish. [​IMG] Is the Valley of Fire State Park in the same general direction as the Dam?
     
  9. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Hoover Dam is SE of Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire park is N of Las Vegas..

    Both are easy to find. You won't have any problems finding either of them.

    For Valley of Fire, just take I-15 North (parallel to Las Vegas Blvd) North and follow the signs.

    For Hoover Dam, take 93/95 south towards Henderson and Boulder City. Follow the signs.
     
  10. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    You'll be right on Lake Mead when you go to the dam...if you wanna go shopping make sure you head into the venetian, they have plenty of shops...not many people seriously shop there so stuff it always on sale....a definate is to go see the "O" show at the Bellagio....

    and if you want a less expensive hotel that is right in the center of the "good" part of the strip is Flamingo....it's a little dated but still you'll just be sleeping there, you'll be outside most of the time....
     
  11. David Range

    David Range Agent

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    I like the Monte Carlo. Good room rates, and a short walk to MGM, Ceasar's Palace, NYNY, Excalibur, etc. If you want to shop, don't forget the Forum Shops at Ceasar's, Bellagio also has some upscale shopping. I always get dragged into Tiffany's with my gf, so far I've escaped with no major damage to the credit card. Blackstone's Steakhouse at the Monte Carlo is outstanding, but their food court sucks IMHO. There is a Fatburger across the street though. [​IMG] And the Stage Deli at the Forum shops in Ceasar's is so good, I want to go to Vegas just to get a sammich. A good tip for getting good room rates in Vegas is to download a program called TravelAxe available at www.travelaxe.com. On my last trip, I had 4 nights booked at Monte Carlo for $49 a night thru travelaxe. If you have a rental car and hate walking, make full use of the valets at the casino. A buck at drop off and one at pickup is much preferrable to self parking, taking a cab, or walking from one end of the strip to the other. Try to go midweek if you can, better room rates, cheaper airfare, and less crowded. Good Luck, hope you win big and have a great time.
     
  12. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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    I heard they stopped the Dam tours after Sept. 11. At least the hard hat tour. Have they reinstated them?
     
  13. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    I would aim for NYNY or Excalibur. The upgrade rooms at NYNY are going to match your criteria a bit better, but Excalibur will keep the kids busy better. Of course, theyre right next door to each other and both have easy access so its 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Circus Circus, Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay are owned by the same company, and tend to be more "kid Friendly." The old Steve Winn joints (Belagio, Mirage, and the "new" Treasure Island) are increasingly aimed at the "we hate all children" crowd. As I recall, one of them actually had a "no kids allowed" policy that may or may not still be in place. Although MGM and NYNY are owned by the same company, they seem to have gone against the mold of the rest of the company, and one of two, (I cant recall which one now,) actually offers DAY CARE services.

    MGM is very nice, but be prepared to walk... the place itself is MAMMOTH. By the time you get from the guest elevators to the front door at LV And Tropicanna, YOURE TOO TIRED TO WALK ANY FURTHER. Excal, NYNY and to a lessor degree Luxor, have very easy access to the strip with trams and escalators.

    Venetian is Beutiful, but not real kid friendly, and Paris just gives me the creeps.

    Mandalay has nice accomodations, and if your kids dig sharks, theyll enjoy the aquarium. BUT Its also GIGANTIC and can get tiresome on the feet, I also find that its pretty isolated down there at the southend of the strip.

    Caesars is "ok" but Im not a huge fan.... the entrance is about 2 miles off the strip which requires a car or, you guessed it, WALKING to get to.

    I know Ive made a big deal over walking, however, nothing ruins a vacation faster than sore dogs after day 1, and KIDS can get pretty whiney after the first 3 miles of the Batan Death March routine.

    Stay away from Stratosphere like the plague. You never know when Stupack will try to burn the place down again.

    On a related note, I suggest you try the dollar slots at Excalibur. Look for the 777 progressive machines and find one with a relatively high pot (over $1500). I find the gaming at Excalibur to be very reasonable with generally low limits compared to the rest of the strip, and the restaurants are family friendly and yummy.

    Ive never stayed at Monte Carlo so I cant comment on accomodations, however, the gaming there seems loser than much of the rest of the strip properties.
     
  14. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    When we stayed in Vegas last, we stayed at the Luxor and liked the accomodations but alas I wouldn't recommend it for kids. From what I could tell and we pretty much saw all the hotels, the MGM would probably be your best bet. I personally wouldn't recommend the Mandalay Bay and alot of that is because of the location. It's just too far down the strip. Then again if you take the bus its not that bad. Then again if you have kids and they want to have fun, I'd suggest something closer to Gameworks and stuff. MGM would be that suggestion. The Monte Carlo seems like another good one as well.

    Those that said that the Circus Circus is a dump are correct.
     
  15. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    My recommendation, leave the kids with the grandparents [​IMG].
     
  16. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    That's Bellagio. If memory serves, children under 18 aren't even permitted in the hotel UNLESS they are guests, or have family dinner reservations. Period.

    If you are into doing some shopping, Caesars Forum Shoppes is an awesome mall. Plus there is a HUGE toy store (FAO Scwartz?) that this kids will probably love. Last time I was there they had a MASSIVE Star Wars area...

    People are right...MGM is HUGE. Lots of walking there. (I got lost in that hotel the first time I was in Vegas!) Mandalay is also large, but I don't know that it's on the same scale as MGM. But that's me.

    The wax museum is really worth the price. [​IMG] Also, if you or the kids are sci-fi fans at all, head over to the Las Vegas Hilton for "Star Trek: The Experience". By the time you get there in May, there will be two different attractions... the original "Experience" and "Borg: 4D", which is due to open soon. You can also shop and have lunch at a recreation of the "Promenade" on DS9. (Lunch at Quarks is fun...especially when the Klingons come over and yap with you...snicker)

    As for Cirque, "O" is amazing...but it's the more expensive Cirque show in town. Mystere (over at TI) is also a great show, and is a tad more inexpensive.

    Oh, and enjoy the damn dam. Be sure to post some dam pictures. [​IMG]
     
  17. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    IMHO it was smaller than MGM.
     
  18. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    When I went with my family, we stayed at the MGM. We watched the Excalibur show, went to Downtown, Hershey's chocolate factory, NYNY for the amusement park.

    All that is within walking distance from the MGM Grand. But the kids may complain about their feet as it is a lot of walking.
     
  19. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I'd agree that good walking shoes are a must. I love wearing sandals in the summer, but the unusually dry air in Vegas plays havoc with my feet. So I usually save the sandals for the pool area and wear a good pair of tennis shoes when walking around the Strip.

    They do have the largest store in the FAO Schwartz chain at Caesar Palace's Forum Shops, but since FAO is barely on life support, I wouldn't count on it still being around by May. They do have a Planet Hollywood there though (BTW, the Aladdin hotel and casino is currently in transition to becoming the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino.)

    Make a visit (not a stay!) at the Stratosphere just to check out the observation deck, as well as ride the Big Shot and X Scream, the latter which just opened a few months ago. (The roller coaster up there sucks, by the way.)

    For where to stay, I'd recommend Monte Carlo or MGM. Both are close to Game Works and the movie theater (both literally next door to MGM.) They are also close to NYNY, which has the aforementioned roller coaster (a great ride, but pricey) and a decent sized arcade. MGM has the added benefit of the monorail stop. It used to be free, but they extended it all the way north to the Sahara (with stops at several resorts along the way) and you now have to pay just like any other form of public transportation.

    Mandalay Bay...beautiful public areas. I've never stayed there, but I have friends who did and they said don't pay a premium to stay there just for the pool complex. During the times they've stayed there (mid-summer) the pool was completely packed, with barely any room to move. This will be made even worse by their new 1,000+ room tower they just opened without creating a new pool or expanding the current pool complex. My favorite pools are at Bellagio, but I wouldn't say the place is kid-friendly.

    And if you're looking for shows, I'd say definitely take a pass on "O" which is way, way overrated. The show to see is up the street...Mystere at Treasure Island (or TI now, I guess) I've seen it twice and would drop 80 bucks on it again in a heartbeat.
     
  20. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Michael*K:

    A BIG THANK YOU for finally confirming that I wasn't the only one in the world who didn't like "O." I, too, agree it was way overrated.

    My review of "O" was like my opinion of modern art: "Uh, yeah, I guess it's nice and all, but... WTF?"


    I highly recommend Blue Man Group at the Luxor.
     

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