BigAZMarty shares his trip report from April 2017
Hey, all! BigAZMarty here with an interesting trip report from the Sunday of ACM awards to the day after Green Day’s concert at MGM Garden Arena.
I preface this with the fact that the local radio station 107.5 had been advertising the Green Day concert with X since October of 2016. We bought our tickets based on that assumption and were looking forward to the trip and originally had only booked a 5-night stay at Planet Hollywood from April 4 to April 9. Nothing like seeing a slightly different concert than the rest of the USA gets, and a historically good Punk Band from late ’70’s to early ’80’s to front one of our favorite bands, Green Day! We bought the tickets and then had an interesting idea…we can upfront stay at Mandalay Bay or Delano from April 2 – 4 (we didn’t do March 31 or April 1 because well MGM was screwing everyone in that timeframe and we did pay for the room still). For these two days at Delano, we got the Scenic Suite (it was actually less expensive than the Executive King at Mandalay Bay…and yes we should have thought about that a LOT). We end up subtracting a day off the backend of the PH stay at the end of the week since we needed to be back in town for a family activity. So without further ado…here, we go.
Day 1) The drive to Vegas was nice, a little windy at points but very nice. We get to the I-15 exit for Russell Rd. and instead of going right to get to Frank Sinatra Dr. we go left. I want to see the land the football arena is supposedly going to be on, and there is an odd way to get to the Delano from that side of the freeway that gets to avoid Frank Sinatra Dr. altogether. I go around three sides of the arena land and nope no equipment out there yet…no cars or survey equipment at all. We cross back over the I-15 right down to the north of Delano, make the right and get into the Self-Park garage. We are early, and it’s 1:30 PM, so we hit the lobby (long walk and didn’t see the entrance from inside the elevator bay…had to do a long walk through MB’s casino and back down the MJ ONE hallway to Delano.) We get to the lobby and, well, it’s just DARK in here.
One person in front of us and two at the desk using up the available check-in people. We get to our turn and well….normally we never have an issue with an early arrival on a Sunday especially after 30 minutes passed late checkout but they say “sorry, the room isn’t ready yet.” But they will issue the keys and then text us the room number when it’s done and ready for us. We think “good, shouldn’t be an issue” a quick pause in the get to pool mentality. Instead, I decide let’s hop the tram to Excalibur and go to the Trop; I need to get my Marquee Rewards card to add to the collection, and my wife opts to join as well. Good for her she gets a $25 free play also.
We stare dubiously at a Big Bang Theory Big Screen Machine that robbed us…so we hop over to VP and have a great time. My wife gets a 4Oak within a 20-minute stretch, and I play on a $20 for almost 30 minutes before it finally peters out. We hop a couple of other VP machines before she gets the 2nd one and then plays on Flinstone’s slot for a bit before heading back. Odd, no text yet. We decide to walk back and pick up a KettleCorn Popcornopolis at Excalibur. I get my Acai Berry Blast at Tropical Smoothie Cafe there as well and head back. Still, no text…we play for another hour as it was 3:30 PM and we wanted to give them some time. At 30 minutes after their normal check-in time, we get back to the lobby, the line is long, and the “Invited Guests” sign is gone.
My wife is ticked as she’s lost a pool day and I just go up to one of the clerks that really isn’t doing anything and say loudly “Is your text service broken? We’ve had these room keys since 1:30 and still no room # text!” Needless to say, they look and respond “Nope your room is still NOT READY.” At that point, I pretty much ask loudly, SERIOUSLY? (might have had an unmentionable adverb in front of it). Suddenly in less than 10 seconds, they find an available room for us because by then people are looking…they take the keys given to us by the clerk at 1:30 PM and give us new keys and a high floor overlooking the back of Luxor and the pool area of Luxor. You can read my room report of the Delano Scenic Suite, here. Now we get unpacked, as much as we can, and get room service as my wife is “hangry” now due to no food all day along with no pool visit during hot hours. She calms down, and we head down. Gambling for the rest of the night and back to the room to crash…as usual gambling is tight at MB’s casino. But even though it’s tight I discover the Rocky Horror Picture Show slot….I got a bonus, and my wife got nothing…so we move on back to the room.
Day 2) We get up and head to the Delano Beach Club….holy freaking hell that is a looooong hike. It’s at least a 15-minute walk from Delano’s lobby to the entrance of the MB’s beach club. We hit the Delano Beach Club and park it for a couple of hours…another expensive berry smoothie for me and a gnat floaty in my wife’s Pepsi and we’re done with it. Now on leaving the room, we hit the Housekeeping light..so by the time we get back to the room it’s over 2.5 hours later and on leaving and arriving there were at least two housekeeping carts in our hallway. So to our surprise, we open the door and notice… nope they haven’t arrived yet. So we turn off the light and shower off the chlorine when in walks housekeeping. We have to scream no come back later, please. We rush to get ready and head back down.
We eat at Della’s and take our tickets and receipts to the MLife desk at MB where they copy them and grant my wife her free play. She promptly runs that down in a machine, but right after that she starts getting some nice 4Oaks at MB’s VP area. MB has removed even more machines than we saw in Dec/Jan, so the area out front of the Tattoo shop is now completely devoid of any machines. The area in front of House of Blues is now the same out to the main aisle. We fight huge crowds to get back to the room for a quick break (housekeeping finally came and did a good job) and then back down to House of Blues for dinner. I have the Juicy Lucy burger, and my wife has Steak. It’s all good, and a nice Blues Band is playing for some nice out of the casino feel. We finish up then I head up for the night, and she heads to blackjack and OMG Puppies for some slot/table fun. She gets back to the room about an hour later and about even.
Day 3) We rush to get the heck out of Delano…we are hoping the rest of the stay isn’t as painful as Delano/MB was. We’re out early and heck we have some time to kill so I “O.K. Google” directions to SunCoast and it takes us through the spaghetti bowl out US 95 to Summerlin Parkway to Rampart where we exit at Rampart/JW Marriott. There is a big earth berm around it so you only see the Rampart casino and some of the top of the hotel buildings but not the pool area…darn…so down to SunCoast. We park…super easy parking, like 7 cars from the front door. We go in, and it’s smoky…and odd because it’s smoky near the part closest to Rampart street…as you walk back it gets better.
My wife picks up a B Connected replacement card and I get a new one just for me…we do some VP and my what a difference…played even longer than at the Trop on a $20. She gets another 4Oak and then so do I so we’re up…and then I see it….the BETTY WHITE machine. I MUST PLAY THIS….so I do for a good 1/2 hour on a $20 minimum bet. It’s fun…she’s a saucy minx…totally opposite of say the Elvira machine but still fun. It’s time to move on from Betty and we do a walk through and the first impression is it’s more in line with the layout of Gold Coast but probably built right before they built out The Orleans…so in between there but rooms are supposedly much better at SunCoast than at The Orleans or Gold Coast. We’re done here…I have to get gas and get to Planet Hollywood…we are prepared for the worst. 215 beltway (after passing Red Rock Resort) at Charleston and zoom to Sam’s Club off 215 (about 40 cents cheaper than stations near the airport). We get back on 215 to I-15 North and off at Tropicana, head left to check out the Dean Martin Drive past In ‘N Out. There are a lot of business hotels going in there, and they look to be going in East/West orientation instead of North/South like I’d thought. It’s a different layout, but if you think about it they have either a north strip view or a south strip view right? We go back into the industrial section to Harmon and then back across I-15 through City Center past LV Blvd to the PH entrance.
My wife enjoys her Diamond status and we get Valet for free at PH, Bell Hops get the bags and we head into the Diamond Check-In Lounge. I do the $20 trick and they put us in a high newly remodeled Ultra Resort Vista Suite (read my review here) with Bellagio Fountain views. It’s a really good room remodel and it just made up for the MGM BS. Happy and unpacked we head downstairs and start hitting machines, we do O.K. not fantastic but not really losing either. We jump to the Total Rewards to see if the Xavier Mortimer show is on the free shows list (it was NOT). So we now have a free Tuesday night.
It’s about 4 PM so I remember that Prime Rib special at Planet Dailies so we walk in, no line. My wife has the 8oz Prime Rib for $10.99, I have a Pineapple Orange Chicken bowl (better than sweet fire at Panda). Oh, and a tidbit…they have an all you can eat Pasta special between 1 PM and 4 PM as well…we never tried it but good for those on a budget. We are both close to full so we head back to the VP machines. I find one of my favorites is open and plop down and proceed to get 3 4Oaks in less than 30 min’s on the machine. We’re really up for the day. I try Top Dollar and get two top dollar bonus while my wife is getting another 4Oak at the machines near the Spice Market Buffet escalator area. We head over and my wife tries OMG Kittens and I do old style BierHaus 200…no luck there.
We start to head to Elvira and right in front of us is a tall Heidi’s BierHaus bank of machines. Never seen these before so we sit and try it out….now there are actually two games where you can play, Heidi’s Bierhaus is one and Probst! is the other. Probst! is basically Heidi’s Bierhaus with beer taps added for vertical wilds. We had a blast. The facial expressions on Heidi are seriously funny and she pours on the taps often enough to keep us going for a long while. Once we bank that out we head to Elvira and new also on the other side of Elvira is Sharknado! We play that first (not good…no real winners…one bonus round that was minimal pay), we then move back to Elvira and again she likes my wife a lot more than me. My wife hits several bonus rounds at about a 3-1 pace than my machine. I walked away even from the machine but my wife cashed out to the positive, and we hit Sugar Factory for her Gelato treat. We spend the rest of the day playing and between us, we’re up at the end of the day.
Day 4) We’re up early but not due to anything bad, just woke up at like 7:30 AM. We order room service breakfast and then shower and head down to the pool at 10:15, what a difference from MB. We notice PH has added to the middle sundeck with some casino tables and added ping pong to the snack/bar building. We’re like the 3rd and 4th person on the Everyone Pool as the 21 and up pool seems to be 20 somethings living in the hot tub. I actually got to start the hot tub on the Everyone side and persons 1 and 2 got in as well. It was still shaded as it takes a bit for the sun to clear the PH tower in the morning. As soon as the sun clears the building I hit the pool and my wife lays out to read and sun. I do some walking laps and some swimming and then sun in the pool for a bit. We get back to the room and housekeeping has done their job already and we get ready and head down. My wife wants some shopping and we need water for the empty fridge. She gets Sketcher’s (both those laceless comfy tennis shoes and a nice memory foam wedge in a nice tan and silver sparkle). We hit up ABC stores, we get 4 of the 1 liter Nestle’s Pure Water ($1 a pop) and some interesting new candy (Strawberry Nut M&M’s and a new Oreo Creme Chocolate Bar). We head back to the room and get the water in the fridge and head back down.
My wife is doing better today than I for a bit…then I sneak off to the Super Double and play 10 play nickles. Somewhere in there while about 3/4 the way to zero I hit an 8X multiplier and get 3 Aces dealt. 10 Hands the 3 Aces at the minimum and one hand of 4 Aces with Kicker. And suddenly I’m almost triple up from my initial bet. Cash out and show my wife…within 5 minutes she hits 4 Aces no kicker and cashes out. I try 100 play penny and well no good but cash out at $50 of the $100 as it rolls back and forth there for about 40 mins. We eat at Yolo’s, super fantastic and has totally replaced La Salsa Cantina as our favorite at PH for Mexican food. At this point, we’re heading to Hexx at Paris. My wife gets her favorite Grape Crush Float, and finally, I match up on available flavors for the Ice Cream Sandwich. I do chocolate chip cookie (more like choc chunk) with Mr. Butterpants Ice Cream (chocolate peanut butter)..with Reese’s Pieces topping. OMFG, it’s sooooo good. This is almost Baked Bear good and messy…suggestion the ice cream will melt fast…skip the side toppings and eat fast. After we hit up my wife’s favorite bank of Progressive VP at Paris and well meh…I get the 4Oaks but not much else…we leave about even there.
Back to PH and I head to the room and say to my wife if we want to get to a show you need to get me before 7 PM. I turn on the TV and pass out in the room from sugar and just a lot of walking and activity. She doesn’t make the 7 PM and well she wanted to see Tenor’s of Rock at Harrah’s and the 702 channel in the room had a snippet of them singing and not sure if I was totally awake but just sounded odd on the TV so we skip it and head back down for just a bit more to around 11PM…she finds the 4Oak machines for her and I head back up…she follows within an hour or so.
Day 5) Repeat of another pool day but we woke much later and my wife has been working each morning while I get ready. We get done and hit the casino floor…and nothing is hitting so we take a break. We walk the mall a bit and go out the side entrance to look at Nacho Daddy’s but didn’t go in. We hit the Harmon/LV corner and nothing there either. So we head to Cosmopolitan, we play Ruby Slippers for a good long while, she gets a plethora of Slipper Bonuses and I get a wide range of other bonuses to keep us going for a good long while having a blast. We cash out even for her and up 40 for me. We walk around a lot more, hit up more machines and find a Big Bang Theory big screen towards the back…and freakin’ hell just as tight. They must have removed all the paying machines as it’s thinning out on these machines across LV…we vow to never play it again. So I play a 100 play and no good either, but my wife saunters over to an Ultimate X machine (she has never played that before) picks nickel and 3 play and I think either first or second-hand gets the 2 Aces dealt, holds it, and the top line gets the 4 Aces with the Kicker for about $200. We then proceed to play that down and up across Cosmo for several hours. We head back and pick up a 6 pack of Crystal Geyser 16oz water at Walgreens and some Caramel Balls for snacks for me and Red Hots and Boston Baked Beans for my wife. We get back to the room, drop the stuff off and decide we have to go to Beatles Love at Mirage so let’s go early.
We get the car out of Valet and I promptly forget how to get to Frank Sinatra Drive (it’s a good thing), we head up I-15 to Sahara and then to Industrial. We see Lucky Dragon but are in no place to get to it (it’s so tiny and RED…for some reason I get a Barbary Coast impression looking at it size wise). Palace Station looks good as does the SLS. MGM, however, needs to do something with the former Rock in Rio corner…it’s like chain link fencing with that vinyl slats in it all around it to Circus Circus. We go past Trump, T.I. (you know Trump kids and Ruffin’s stuff) and pull in just past the Mirage/T.I. employee garage. Not sure if I was supposed to do that but after winding around I’m inside the area in between T.I. and Mirage and there is this odd red 2 story apartment building back there I’ve never seen before and it’s OLD. Past that I start to see the path to the Mirage Self Park garage. I didn’t have my phone so no picture but it was a really weird juxtaposition of a crappy apt building behind T.I. in between the support buildings for T.I. and Mirage…was just odd. And it’s in the middle of the properties not even out visible on Frank Sinatra. But enough of the crappy apt building, we park (free due to our status at MGM) and walk in. It’s pretty busy, and we have a hard time finding open VP machines so we head back to The Pantry and have their available 24 hours a day breakfast and then head back out to the machines. We play this and that and really nothing until we get near the Carnegie Deli and those old glass tube Progressive machines….it’s at $1350 so we plop down.
First two machines we play are mind-numbingly fast at separating us from a $20 so we move a bit. My wife finds a repeating 4 Oaks machine…so much she cashes out and runs another $20 in and repeats every 5 – 10 minutes. I run my machine for about 50 mins before I clear it….I walk around a bit and find a BierHaus 200 that likes me and awards 25 spins and about $80 to the plus side for me to make up for the bad VP play for me. At this point it’s getting near showtime (9:10 and the show is at 9:30). I meet up with my wife and she’s done her last cash out so off we go to the line…it’s freaking long and it takes a bit but super seats (anything in the 20X sections have good sight lines). Lots of steps up to the seats though and then back down because we’re in the 2nd row. Seats are like the nice modern theater seats but don’t rock back. Way bigger than The Park Theater seats. We are at the end of the row past the bend and the show starts and just WOW. There is just so much to see in this show….my wife and I could imagine seeing it at least 2-3 more times and still missing something. Fantastic show and so worth the about $115 per seat with taxes and fees included. There were some areas where I thought I noticed some mistakes that could have been almost a bad accident but nothing happened just thrilling the whole audience (could be planned to thrill but such an odd way to do it). The show finishes up and we still want to come back sometime and try a different vantage point. So we hop up and on the way out. I pop a hip pointer going down the stairs to the casino level…hate that and for a bit thought I did something really bad and it would flare up while walking in the crowd. So we went back to the deli area and I get 4Oaks on another machine and my wife gets 4Oaks on the one that got lively again. We play until the machines go cold and I’m O.K. to walk and the crowd has wound down. For sure we are sometime in the future going to stay at Mirage, we just have to wait until we get enough points for them to notice us….this should have helped that along nicely. We get back to the car and back to PH, I head up to the room and tell my wife hit the Tables and VP if you want….I’ll be sleeping as we need to head to MGM Grand the next night for Green Day. She comes in about 2 hours later about even from when she started so that’s good.
Day 6) It’s cloudy out, and windy so no pool visit on last day. We get ready and head down, play a bit and not as good but we did it lightly so no big losses either. About noonish, we go back to Yolo’s and I have the 3 chicken street tacos and my wife has the machaca burrito off the lunch menu. It’s totally improved and really good. I did the taco’s because it doesn’t fill me up that much..and I can finally order the cheesecake chimi on the dessert menu (I get 2 spoons to share with my wife). Super good all of it and we play a little more with no luck and I head back up to the room…this is the only day housekeeping hadn’t got to our room yet but they were right there so I came back down and spent about 45 mins with my wife walking around and occasionally playing…I spotted the PH Progressive VP winner on the way down and told my wife…she was just two machines over from the winning machine less than 15 mins earlier so she was bummed out. We both head back up…she wants to touch up and I just need to stretch out for a bit before we head over to MGM Grand, housekeeping had finished up so all was good there. Once she’s done we get the car and head over…I avoid the “Event Parking” lot entrance and self-park because it’s fairly close to the MGM Garden Arena from inside the casino. We are fairly early and I’d noticed that X was not printed on the tickets as the opening act, it has changed to Against Me!…maybe 3 songs I know so not really interested. MGM Grand is about as packed as I’ve ever seen it….just wall to wall people and super difficult to find any open VP machines. We play around and find a Classic Batman machine that gave us about 35 minutes of fun for a $20 each…boy I still miss that machine at The Cromwell. Several old VP machines with no action later we start back to the Arena and while still early we find an open bank of VP machines. My wife wants to hit the MLife desk nearby so she pops up and loses her seat instantly and I play down and join her in line. We’re just short of Gold at MLife so we should be good by next trip, my wife is already Platinum for Total Rewards this year (will be close to half way to Diamond again by April 15 when all bonus Badge tiers are added in).
We walk around a bit before we discover most of the VP has been pulled out of MGM as well, replaced by Slot and Table Games instead. We head back to that one bank we had been on before the MLife visit and the lady that took my wife’s spot just pops up and cashes out so I plop in that one and my wife takes the one I was on previously. In the next 45 minutes I get 2 4Oaks 4’s no kicker and I think 8’s, my wife gets 3 4Oak’s, 2’s no kicker, Aces no kicker and then Aces with the kicker…and suddenly we’ve won 50 below a royal between us. We cash out and head to the show. The line is very quick as Against Me! is already playing and we basically have no line and walk to our seats fairly quickly. Within 2 songs Against Me! is over (30 mins for an opening act?)…we have to get up to let half the aisle out and my wife gets us two waters while on her way back from the run to the ladies room. I talk to a nice young lady from Colorado who has been up since I think 4 AM and was needing some Green Day crowd participation to wake her up. Too bad I think her husband was not feeling good as he was not in his seat for about 60% of the concert. Green Day did a subset of the set they did in Phoenix (shortened up by about 5-6 songs and shortened the medley of non-Green Day songs they do by 50%)…but honestly, it was a still a great show (we both love the energy Green Day brings for concert goers). We leave after the encore and we stop at the food court as I need a soda as I kicked a stair and tweaked the hip pointer again, and my wife wants a Johnny Rocket float (for some reason they don’t have at this one so she does a shake instead). Once the hip pointer subsides we get out to the parking garage and then it’s 20 mins to get out of the garage and another 10 mins to get back to PH. Valet isn’t full so we have a quick park and up to the room. My wife knows it’s the last night so she heads down for some Black Jack and VP/Slot play. I am passed out when she gets back in the room at 4 AM. She was about even again after hitting up Elvira for some quick wins…and then playing that down on other stuff. Good stay and on the following morning we checked out by 10 AM and were home by 2:30 PM. We even had enough left to put back in the bank.
My wife has planned the next trip for just after July 4th (I have no idea how she found it but a Palace Tower Premier Room comp’d except for one night….sweet and planning for that fun already). We have yet to get to Caesars Palace while it’s warm for swimming and I still owe her that Tenors of Rock show at Harrah’s. We will probably try O at Bellagio as well as building points at Mirage to get noticed there as well. She also has one of those free dinners that would be perfect to try at Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars as well.