Sunday, October 16, 2016

Vegas 2016 Trip

This year was a very special Vegas trip for us, because it was the first time that Cody and I didn't go to Vegas alone with just each other.  My mom decided that she would come with us this year!!

This year we used our vacation club to stay at the Jockey Club.  The Jockey Club is located right in between the Cosmopolitan and the Bellagio.  It is center strip and turned out to be a perfect location.  The Cosmopolitan is the newest mega resort on the strip, and they bought the land from the Jockey Club to build it.  In the contract, the Jockey Club negotiated that their guests be able to use the Cosmopolitan's amenities and also that an elevator connect right to the Cosmopolitan's casino from the Jockey Club.  This made going to a casino pretty convenient for us.  Also with the location being right in the center of the strip, it was a perfect place to stay for the week.

Our first night, we went to the Bellagio Buffet.  In my opinion this is the best place in the world to get king crab legs!!  Yummmm!!!

While the Bellagio Buffet will always be one of our favorites... I have to say it was over shined by the Bally's Sterling Brunch Buffet.  I have always heard that this was the best buffet in Vegas, but at almost $100 a person, we had never gone to it before.  Finally this year we did!!

Mmmm they had all you could get lobster, king crab legs, filet mignon, lamb, and all the champagne you could drink.  It was absolutely delicious!  

Here is a picture of our champagne and caviar.  Since they had caviar we figured that we would try it.  None of us had it before...  and well... probably none us will have it again.  Haha!  It must be an acquired taste!  Basically it tasted exactly the way you would think fish eggs would taste... like pure salt water.  Yuck!  It wasn't too bad after a champagne chaser... which is probably how it is usually eaten.

Here are some pictures of the buffet. Obviously I didn't get everything on the buffet... but this was the sushi section.

Here was the lobster, crab legs, lamb, and filets.  The buffet also had a variety of breakfast foods (that none of us ate) on it too.  The buffet didn't have a huge selection on it, but the stuff that was on it... was good stuff!  I think that this is the only buffet in Vegas that has lobster on it.  Mom even said that one lobster she had was the best lobster she had ever eaten.  Pretty high praise for a buffet!

The dessert section was really good too.  They had all kinds of things that we liked!  We especially liked the chocolate covered strawberries!  Yummm!!

Mom and I drinking our champagne.

The waiter must have known Cody because he had a "keep 'em full" philosophy.  I think between the three of us we probably had 2-3 bottles of champagne!  We looked it up and it was a $50 bottle too.  So we were quite pleased with our experience at the Bally's buffet.  We might have to go back another time!

Our day kept getting better after that!  Cody had bet some money on football games, and we found out that he had already won 1 of his parlays.  We also realized that he was one game away from winning his second one!  If the Buffalo Bills won their game... we were going to win another $600!!  Needless to say, we instantly became Bills fans!  We were doing a victory dance when they ended up winning their game!!  There is Cody with his $900 worth of winning bets!!  Woohoo!!  

There he is cashing them in!  Pretty much paid for our whole trip to Vegas!

That night we went to the Cirque Du Soleil Beatles Love show.  This show has been playing in Vegas forever, and we ended up getting free tickets from playing MyVegas online... so we decided to go.

Here are Cody and I outside of the show.

So you're not allowed to take pictures of the show... so this is the only picture I could sneak.  The seating is basically all a big circular room.  The show itself was ok.  I'm not a big Cirque Du Soleil fan.  I don't feel that I ever really like their shows...  but I did like the Beatles songs so it was ok for me.

Mom was a bus rider this week.  She just had two heart stints put in the week before our trip, so the walking was a lot for her.  It worked out perfectly though, she would just hop on the bus and then we'd walk down and meet her where ever we were going.  It saved her a lot of walking.

On Monday, my mom ended up going to the Jockey Club's timeshare presentation to get use cheap Matt Franco tickets for later on in the week.  While she did that, Cody and I hung out at the Cosmopolitan pool for the day.  I'm not sure if you can see, but they have a section that is 1 foot deep with pool chairs!  That was my favorite area to hang out.  We ended up going to our new favorite place for lunch, Miller's Ale House in Vegas!  (We actually ate lunch there 3 times during our trip)  We discovered Miller's Ale House in Orlando, and we've fallen in love with their zingers.  We were excited that they were in Vegas!  We sat outside and enjoyed the weather while we ate them.  :)

That night we went downtown to Fremont Street.  We took the bus down, and I never feel like we have enough time downtown!  We were gambling and having a lot of fun.  We ended up eating at Binion's Cafe for dinner which was ok.

We watched Cody's favorite downtown band... Frank and the Steins.  They play rock/halloween themed music.  The first year we went, I didn't hardly know any of the songs... now I knew some of them so it was more fun for me.  :)   Love the free music shows downtown!

 The next day was a Mirage day.  We had fun taking some pictures before we headed in.

Such a beautiful spot for some pictures!

Love the view behind us!

  Once we were done taking pictures we went to the brunch buffet there.  Another freebie that we got from MyVegas online!  Woohoo!  Can't beat a free breakfast/lunch.

We went to Siegfried and Roy's secret garden (more free tickets from MyVegas! Woohoo!).  They had dolphins, lions, and tigers there.   I've always wanted to go to the secret garden so I was excited to get to go on this trip.  It's amazing... we've been going to Vegas for years now and we still always find new things to do there!

For those that don't know, Siegfried and Roy were a super famous magic act that performed in Vegas for many years.  They used tigers and lions in most of their magic shows.  This garden was in honor of them and their success in Vegas. 

We were AMAZED because the lions were actually up and walking around!  I swear, every time I ever see a lion they are always sleeping.  These two were up and running around.  I was purely impressed by that... and then...

 The one lion stops and starts looking at a guy.  Cody goes, "I think the lion knows that guy." 

And then mom runs up to him and goes "Oh Mr. Siegfried it's an honor to meet you."  We were like whaaat!!   

So we all ran over to get a picture with him real quick.  When he came out he was escorting some VIP's out to the garden area and he was only out for about 3 minutes!  He took pictures with us and two other couples and then he was gone!  We were SO lucky to get to see him and to get a picture with him.

Now might be a good time to mention our lucky troll...  We bought a box of Cheerios and mom pulled the toy out that came with it.  She said that it was a wish nick aka good luck charm...  looks like it was!  Too bad she lost it that night while she was out haha.  Darn it!

They rotate their cats every other hour to keep them lively.  I have NEVER been to a place where I have seen animals so active!  This guy was prancing around and staring at us. 

Great shot by Cody! 

This girl was splashing and playing with her ball.

It was SO cute to watch!  Talk about a big cat playing around!  It really made me miss my boys!

There is mom and I. 

Love this picture of mom!!

 My love and I!

These two 14 month old sisters were so adorable.  They were so playful and they kept stealing each others toys and chasing each other.  You could tell that they were still really young.  It was so wonderful watching them play and I enjoyed my time at the Secret Garden way more than I thought that I would.  It seemed like the tigers were really happy there too.  I think I would probably like to go back there someday.

After that, we made the hike to Casear's to watch the Fall of Atlantis show.  Mom really wanted to see it, so we made it there and then had to wait a half an hour for it to come on.  I'm not sure if she thought it was worth the wait or not.  I think she remembered it being better than what it was.

That night we went to the new Central Park area between New York, New York and the Monte Carlo.  They had a free country band playing there.  It was so much fun to be outside and listen to the music.  We brought our drinks with us and we found a table and listened to the performance.  It was a fun night, but it ended at 9pm.  Boo!  We then proceeded to go off gambling all over the town!

We really wanted to see Terry Fator and tickets were kind of pricey. So we decided to walk around Harrah's (where the Wyndham timeshare people usually are) to see if we could get free tickets.  Lucky enough, they did approach us and they offered us 3 free Terry Fator tickets, tickets to go on the High Roller, and $25 in dining credit.  So Cody and I ended up signing up to go the next day.  Of course, it was a high pressure sales environment and we kept telling them no and they asked us why and told us they didn't understand why we didn't want to buy about 25 times.  We were a little flustered after we left... but it was worth it.  Honestly Wyndham does seem like a nice timeshare company, but what we have right now is SO much cheaper and we have a pretty nice selection of places to go with it.

That night we went to our traditional PF Chang's dinner.  It is the only place in Vegas that we have eaten at during every trip.  I know... I know... there is a PF Chang's out in Beachwood near us... but we hardly ever go there.  So it really is a Vegas tradition for us.  Plus the PF Chang's in Vegas is considered to be the nicest PF Chang's in the world.  :)

Then we headed to Mat Franco's Vegas show.  Cody and I love America's Got Talent so we were excited to see what his show was like.  He does a lot of up close magic with cards, but he made the show work.  It was funny he made a comment "You know with movies people just sit back and enjoy the show. They know that it's not real and they don't try to figure out how the graphics were created.  Well magic isn't like that.  People will sit in their seats with their arms folded and a mean look on their face trying to figure out how I'm doing my tricks.  I'd like to encourage you to just sit back and enjoy and stop trying to think so much to figure out the trick."  And sure enough... there was my mom with her arms folded with a mad expression on her face... trying to figure out every trick all night long.  It was pretty funny!  I love Mat's final trick... where he tells a story about the show with cards... if you're interested in what I mean... just Youtube his time on America's Got Talent.  I'm pretty sure it's the trick that he won the show with.

Then we went on the High Roller!  This is another Vegas first for us.  The High Roller is a new ferris wheel type of ride in Vegas.  We figured that since we had free tickets... we might as well go on it.

LOVE my new camera at night!  Look at what a nice picture it took of the water fountain behind us!  I love all the details that you can see in the picture!  So pretty!

Here Cody and I are in our High Roller Pod.

Mom and I hanging out.  Mom was a real trooper out in Vegas.  She took the saying " The city that never sleeps" to heart.  She'd go off and she'd be out until 3-3:30am gambling and having fun.  Then she'd be up in the morning ready for the next days activities.

Here is all of us.  As you can see the glass made it kind of hard to take pictures because it reflected.  If you were trying to use a flash... forget it...

Basically the whole 30 minute ride was a big photo op of us and the Vegas strip.  Honestly only the highest parts of the ride were where we could get really good pictures.  It was an interesting view of Vegas, but if you want to enjoy the view I would recommend going on the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel.  You are up high the whole time and you don't have a time limit... plus it's a lot cheaper!

We love taking pictures at the Bellagio!  So glad we got some that came out nice this year thanks to my new DSLR Camera!


Ahhh you can see him, the fountains, and the hotel.  :)  Yay!

Me too!!!

The next day we went to the iconic Vegas sign for a group picture.

Our favorite place in the world!

Girl power!

The photo op continued at the Valley of Fire.  We wanted to take mom there.  It is in the top 10 most beautiful drives in the world.  And only 3 are in the US, so we figured with it only being an hour outside of Vegas that it was a good pit stop.

Here is mom posing... with Cody off going to climb on rocks in the distance.

I could show you a thousand pictures and it just wouldn't do the area justice.  It's just something you have to see to understand how amazing it all looks.

Yay for having someone to take a picture of us!

Doing a little bit of climbing!!

Mom getting out there a little bit.  She was too nervous to climb over anything.

I really wish that I had brought my telephonic lens with me that zooms more than my standard lens.  I realize now that was a mistake and I'll either have to get a better lens that has more of a zoom range or start alternating my lens around.

Love this one!

This one too!

Awww loving on my momma!

Cody is the adventurous one!  He loves climbing up the rocks haha.

Look at him all the way up there!!

Well I guess my zoom worked better than his!  He was WAY up there and I was kind of able to get a picture of him.  You can't even see me in this one!!!  I'm down there!  I'm near the car that is approaching haha.

That night we went to the Rio Buffet.  The Rio used to have two buffets but now they combined the Carnival of the World and Seafood buffets into one buffet at the Rio.  However, in order to get into the seafood section you had to pay more money.  This used to be one of my favorite buffets because there was so much to eat on it that I liked.  But when they added the seafood section, they didn't add on to the buffet and it seems like they got rid of a big part of the buffet... like the main section that I liked!  The food was only ok, and the dessert section wasn't very good.  It was pretty expensive and it wasn't all that good.  I was pretty disappointed by it.  Cody told me that since they added the seafood section that people have been giving it bad reviews on trip advisor.  Also there wasn't hardly anyone at the buffet at all...  not sure that I will be recommending this one anymore to people.

We went to see Terry Fator again!!  He is so funny and so talented!  The show we saw was almost identical to the show that we had seen the year before, but we still enjoyed it.

He did add in a Trump character and mentioned Hilary as well.  It was pretty funny.  Hopefully next time we come he'll have a new show.

On our last day we snuck into the Bellagio pool area!!  We stayed there last year and kept our key.  All you have to do is flash your key and they let you into the pool... and in my opinion the Bellagio has one of the best pools in all of Vegas.  It is heated and has tons of chairs and is in the sun for the whole day.  I knew that if we were going to want to go swimming that I wanted to go there.  So we made our way in and hung out for a couple of hours. 

After the pool we went and got a couple alcoholic milkshakes from Holsteins.  Yummm are they good!  We've never got one to go before so we were amazed by the shakes that we got with all the candies over it.  Yumm!!

That night we went to the buffet at Casaer's.  We heard the manager talking and she said that they had just been rated from the number one buffet in Vegas to the number one buffet in the world.  We all thought that was pretty interesting...  No doubt their food is great.  Everything that we tasted was cooked perfectly and was very good.  They also have a good selection of food too.  However, I do have to say that for crab legs others places are better.  But I guess they get voted on for more than that.  There dessert area is probably the best in Vegas too (love their made to order crepe area).  It is also the prettiest buffet that I've seen too.  So pretty cool to say that we've been to the best buffet in the world.  I'd sure like to see the other buffet that had been beating it.  I wonder where that could have been... the buffets in Vegas are the best that I've ever seen.

Mom saw a picture of Celine Dion and had to get her picture with it.  All week mom had been talking about Celine and how she wished that she could have been her concert while we were there... but it was sold out.  I'm pretty sure that my mom thinks that Celine Dion is about the biggest celebrity in the world.  She really wanted to play the Titanic game at Casaers but they didn't have it!!  We couldn't believe how outdated Casaer's casino was compared to all of the others on the strip.  I guess they only invest in their buffet... haha.

I have been very excited to see the new Game of Throne slot machine!  It was pretty fun.  I actually did pretty ok on it.  It is a minimum of a $1 a pull... which is a little high for me.  However, I hit the bonuses/won enough to keep me playing for a while.  I pretty much lost... lost... lost... all week... it was lucky that Cody was actually doing pretty good because if not... we would have lost all our money!   I didn't have hardly any good wins... that was until our last night.  I had a good feeling about the new Walking Dead Game that came out and I finally got a good win!!  I ALMOST hit REALLY BIG...  like I was one pick away from winning $13,000!  But I ended up hitting for like $260 and I was SO excited!!  A guy got up and gave me his seat...  I think I had 3 pulls in and won.  I'm pretty sure he hated me...  haha  But I was SO excited!  Woohoo!!  I win!  I win!!

In front of our favorite place in the world!


Mom and I in front of the fountains.

This trip to Vegas was definitely a good one.  We had a lot of fun and actually did quite a few new things.  I'm glad that my mom was able to come with us.  I'm pretty sure that she enjoyed herself and had fun.  I always love our trips to Vegas.  I can't believe next year that we are actually going to break the cycle!  That's right... we are not planning on going to Vegas next year... GASP!  I know!  However, don't feel too bad for us... we are planning on using our vacation club to go to Maui for two weeks and we are going on 2 cruises!  Woohoo!  I'm sure we'll be back to Vegas in 2018, and I'm sure it will change quite a bit by the time we get back there...  it always does.