Once Again: It Was Too Thick to Pour

The title here is a bit esoteric and doesn't describe the contents in this post: We recently got back from our Vegas trip, and it was a blast! This has been our third trip to Sin City, so we had a pretty good game plan going in and knew where we wanted to go this time around.

This year's "King Of Queens" season started out with an episode about Doug and the boys planning a Vegas trip. Doug needed to build up credit with Carrie; while driving to pick her up one day, the site of a fudge desert caught his eye at a fast food joint, forcing Carrie to wait in the rain. He knew he was in a hurry but decided to wait when the cashier said, "It will be a few minutes: we need to heat up the fudge because it's too thick to pour." No one lets Doug live this down as it almost destroyed the trip, and he defends himself by saying, "Once again: it was too thick to pour!"

But I digress. I figure I'd start by giving a list of hotels, bars, shows, and dining places we visited. This isn't exactly a must see and do list for a family going to Vegas, but given that we'd been there before, we were obviously targeting those things we hadn't yet done.

Hotels Visited
Aladdin
Bellagio
Circus Circus
Flamingo
Green Valley Ranch
The Hilton
Mandalay Bay
MGM Grand
New York, New York
Paris (we stayed here)

Bars/Dining
Buffet ($25/Dinner) - Paris
Buffet ($9/Lunch) - Green Valley Ranch
Coyote Ugly - New York New York
Napoleon's - Paris / A Small Jazz Club
Quark's - The Hilton (if you have to ask, don't go)
Red, White, and Blue - American Eatery at Mandalay Bay
The House of Blues - Mandalay Bay (with Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing)

Shows/Events
ATVing ($150) - Valley of Fire
David Copperfield ($100) - MGM Grand
The Second City ($40) - Flamingo

Attractions
Eiffel Tower ($9) - Paris
Shark Reef ($15) - Mandalay Bay
Adventure Dome (~$15) - Circus Circus
Roller Coaster ($12.50) - New York New York
Lion Habitat (free) - MGM Grand
Water Show (free) - Bellagio

Overall it was a fairly busy trip, but not so overbearing that there was no downtime.

Things We're Glad We Did
David Copperfield
The Second City
House of Blues
Napoleon's

Things We Should've Passed On
Coyote Ugly
Shark Reef

Things That Were So-So
ATVing
Eiffel Tower
Roller Coaster
Lion Habitat

So let's begin with some reviews. First, I really enjoyed the ATVing, and the scenery was great -- but here's the thing: the shuttle took about an hour to get there, and the tour groups were pretty large. There wasn't a lot of creativity; all riders had to pretty much stay in line with one another. Jen got a bit nauseous while riding. Overall, I'm glad I went ATVing -- but it could've been better.

The Eiffel Tower offers a great view. I feel the Stratosphere offers the best view (we did this on the last trip) however, it's a bit of a hike depending on where you're staying. The Eiffel Tower was good, but it's a fairly small observation deck up top, potentially a really long wait time to get up there, and if you're hoping to take pictures, the fencing will prevent that. One nice plus: you can catch a cool angle of the Bellagio water show!

Copperfield: obviously the show is amazing. If I had to be critical, I'd say David has too many video-based tricks. In this age of special effects, I'm just not easily impressed.

The Shark Reef at Mandalay is impressive in that it's an aquarium in the middle of the desert, but it's small and overpriced. Unless you've never been to coastal city which has a large "real" aquarium, I'd pass on this.

The Second City: Wow, this was a treat. It's a combo of Saturday Night Live and Who's Line is it Anyway? ... a mixture of skits and improv. The venue is really small, so it helps create a personal atmosphere. On Wednesday's, the shows are totally improv -- so I'd love to see this one. Definitely glad we saw this, and for a Vegas show, it's reasonably priced.

We'll get some pictures developed soon. Hawaii is likely next on the vacation to-do list -- especially living in Seattle, we likely won't live closer. As for Vegas -- who knows? Maybe we'll return someday, I still haven't seen O.
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