Our next stop was Vegas and in the words of Blaine Edwards and Antoine Merriweather, “Hated it“. Jeanette and I visited 10 years ago, and I took a work trip here about two years ago and both times it was quite nice. We thought the girls would be blown away by all the themed hotels and free shows on the strip and it was on the way back, but man the place has gone downhill in the past few years.
We stayed at Excalibur because we thought the girls would get a kick out of staying in a castle and it was one of the cheaper options. During check in we were pulled out of line by the hotel staff (we assumed they were opening a new line) only to be given a pitch to come check out a timeshare for show tickets. Told them no and then had to start over in a 20 minute line to check in while parked in a space with a 15 minute limit. I had to take the girls to move the car while Jeanette finished waiting to check in. During our 2 day stay in Vegas we were stopped at least 20 more times for a timeshare pitch. The other MGM owned hotels were doing the same thing. They also called and left ads on the voicemail in our room every night that we couldn’t delete without listening to the whole thing, and couldn’t ignore because there’s a big red flashing light on the phone right next to the bed. They have no laundromat on site (or any of the big strip hotels). The only option they provide is to have them wash your laundry at $1.50 per pair of socks, $7 per shirt, etc. We could re-buy all of our clothes for less. I had to go to a Travellodge slightly off the strip to do laundry instead. We will never stay here or any of the hotels owned by MGM again (Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Bellagio, CityCenter, Mirage Monte Carlo or Circus Circus).
Really though the whole strip was much worse than previous trips. Everything that use to be free was now excessively expensive:
Mandalay Bay didn’t have a free preview of the aquarium any more.
The free tram is now a paid monorail.
The people movers have been removed.
The free white tiger exhibit is now expensive.
The Mirage volcano goes off hourly instead of every 15 minutes.
The Treasure Island show is every hour and a half now and has switched from a battle with the British Navy to pole dancing on a boat with fireworks.
The awesome FOA Schwartz closed.
The 4 story Coca Cola store is now 2 stories to make room for an Outback Steakhouse in the top of the coke bottle.
We still tried to make the best of things and it had it’s moments of fun. Mostly because it seemed so big and amazing to the girls. I don’t think we’ll be back for a long time though.