Thursday, April 17, 2014

VEGAS: Day 3

Today is the last day of our weekend in Vegas. 
We checked out of our room at Caesars Palace and walked around to look at the amazing pools, forum shops, and sculpture they have all around.
 And yes, they sell plenty of merchandise from The Hangover movie.

Next, we went to the Mirage and paid to enter the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.  (If you look in the upper left corner of the photo, you can see some children holding canvas that the dolphins painted on with special brushes they held in their mouths. (It's a little pricy, but a cool, unique artsy souvenir).
 It isn't huge, but you can watch dolphin shows and see the dolphins swim both above and below the water in an underground observation area.
 We also saw some big kitties.
 Siegfried even came out and greeted the guests. He is super nice to pose for photos, sign autographs, and do magic for the kids.
 There was a sign posted saying the Pirates of TI shows are permanently cancelled due to continual construction in the area by Treasure Island.
 For all of you Señor Frogs fans, there is one right outside Treasure Island.

 View of the strip from the Outlets skybridge.
We checked out some more casinos that are new that I had never been in. Then we stopped for some Italian lunch inside the Venetian. There is a free hourly show we were able to catch from our table as we ate. (It is a little different and not as exciting as others.) You can take a ride in a gondola around the shops in here if you desire (something I wish I had splurged and done in the real Venice when I was there).
We thought about riding the New York, New York roller coaster, but I have always seen the Stratosphere from the road and wanted to go on top so we went there.
We bought a pass that allowed us to ride the 3 rides on top of the hotel an unlimited number of times.
I'll be honest, the X-Scream and Insanity rides were nothing to write home to your mom about and we only rode those once each. 
 If you take an elevator up even higher, you will get to the Big Shot ride. 
You have a spectacular view 921 feet above the strip (the highest observation point in Vegas).
 This one made my heart race all 7 times we did it!
 So. Much. Fun.
There is one more free-fall sky jump attraction at the top of the stratosphere you pay for separately, but we didn't do it this time.
Time to drive home to a puppy who was in desperate need of a mani/pedi and a cuddle.

VEGAS: DAY 2

The best thing about going to Vegas when you feel like it is a "been-there-done-that" trip, is going with someone who actually has never been there and done that! So we stopped at all the casinos to see their attractions.
 Every hour daily starting at 11am, you can watch the Fall of Atlantis show in the Forum Shops inside Casears Palace (next to the Cheesecake Factory).
It includes fire, water, and a surprise dragon at the end.
Saturday and Sunday champagne brunch (we didn't champagne, but we brunched) is available at the Bacchanal Buffet inside Caesars Palace. Big variety (asian, seafood, italian, home-cooking, and desert tables), lots of food, will make you not want to eat for the rest of the day because you are so full.
 Since we saw the hourly waterfall show outside the Bellagio last night, we went inside to check out the gardens and glass flower sculptures inside the hotel.
 The crystal chandelier inside the Cosmopolitan is amazing. I couldn't get over it. You must walk in and see this huge piece of beauty.
 There is also an old car covered in crystals below it that people were going gaga over.
Then we walked to a new, super classy area on the strip near Aria casino 
with expensive shops and cool studio apartments. 
 There are a couple really neat art galleries near here with work by Dale Chihuly.
He created the glass sculptures inside the Bellagio lobby and other works around the world.
Look him up if you have never heard of him.
 Next stop, the M&M's World next to the MGM Grando casino.
 You can find M&M memorabilia and candies in every flavor, color, and size imaginable. You can even customize your own bag of M&M's to say whatever you want. 
 They play a short (10 minute) free 3D movie every 15 minutes or so.
 Just next door to the M&M's World is the World of Coca-Cola.
 You can try a sampler tray of coke products from around the world for under $10.
 I've been to the same place in Atlanta and both are fun if you're a Coke fan.
 A view of the posh Vegas strip area at night.

 If you like up-scale dining (and have a free $150 food voucher like we did), you should definitely eat at the Old Homestead Steakhouse inside Caesars Palace. Ohymosh it was so good! We ordered a rib eye and filet mignon with sides of asparagus and mac & cheese. This might be THE BEST mac & cheese I have ever had in my life (and I'm a mac & cheese connoisseur...or something).
 Next, we drove to the other side of Vegas. It is definitely different.

 The Freemont Street experience is full of crazy street performers. There are lots of people waiting and available with some interesting photo ops for you. Watch your valuables here.
Be sure to enjoy the overhead lights and music of the free Viva Vision shows every hour from dusk to midnight.

VEGAS & CELINE DIONE: Day 1

Guess which girl won 2 tickets to see Celine perform, 2 nights stay at Caesars Palace, and $150 for food during the stay?! You guessed it...this girl!
 After a little negotiation with travel plans, I was on the road with my best pal Brandon. We made the inevitable stop in Beaver, UT, for a quick bite and an I heart Beaver photo.
 View from our swanky Caesar's Palace room.
 Hello, Vegas!
 We enjoyed a little pre-show entertainment outside our hotel in front of the Bellagio.
And a quick view of Paris

 Celine sounded great onstage and our seats were fabulous!
Her performance seemed a little (actually a LOT) rehearsed, but she does the show 7 nights a week (tell joke-pause for laughter).
 After the show, we walked over to Planet Hollywood for THE best burger I have ever eaten. Even if you aren't the biggest hamburger fan like me, you will LOVE the food, ambiance, and service at Gordon Ramsay's BURGR restaurant.
 I am pretty sure everything on the menu is delicious!

We also had some sweet potato fries (with vanilla powdered sugar and honey jalapeño mayo) and a creme brûlée shake to go.
We went back to the hotel, stuffed, and found cute little chocolate gold coins on the pillows.
What a fantastic night!