Friday, February 6, 2015

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of my vacation recap!  If you missed the previous posts, you can check out Day 1 and Day 2 (our trip to the Grand Canyon).  This post is another picture heavy one, but I did cut out quite a bit and will provide a link to supplemental photos at the bottom of this post if you love to see more pictures.  As before, a comprehensive list of links and information will be at the bottom of this post in case you are planning a future trip to Las Vegas.

Let's get started!

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 - DivineMrsDiva.com



Day 3 began with another early start.  I forgot how awesome it is to have super hot water in the shower (our water heater at home doesn't work very well), so I took advantage of my extra time to just stand under the hot water.  It's the little things!

We traversed the moving walkways, broken ones included, from Luxor to Excalibur.  I took a moment on one of the walkway bridges to take a few photos of New York New York and one of the fun details along the base of Excalibur.


Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 - DivineMrsDiva.com

As far as transportation goes, you can walk, take a cab, ride the bus, or ride the monorail.  If you wanted to walk from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere, it is about four and a half miles.  This doesn't include all the extra back and forth on walkways and any travels through maze-like casinos.  From the Stratosphere, it is another three miles to Fremont Street, or Downtown Las Vegas.

Deuce on The Strip is a public bus that runs the length of The Strip all the way up to Fremont.  Passes for the Deuce are $6 for a 2-hour pass, $8 for a 24-hour pass, and $20 for a 3-day pass.  There are lots of stops along the way and these passes include unlimited rides for that time period.  Buses are air-conditioned, easy to access, and come every fifteen to twenty minutes.  Downsides include the fact that the bus has to go with the flow of traffic, so often times this means a very turtle-like pace in getting to your destination.  Also, the bus can be extremely packed with other people.  Every time we set off on our day's adventure, we would see a Deuce and think about using it, but it was always very full of people.  Combine that with our very limited time in which to cram a multitude of events, and you can probably understand why we chose to take the Monorail.

The Monorail has limited stops and only runs along the east side of The Strip.  You can purchase passes at ticket vending machines at the stations, using credit or debit cards or cash.  Passes are $5 for a single ride, $12 for a 24-hour pass, or $28 for a 3-day pass, with other options available at customer service ticketing offices.  Trains arrive every four to nine minutes.  In my experience, they were always pretty quick to arrive, clean, and seldom very packed.  (Remember, we did go mid-November and rode mainly during the day.)  Our closest station was at MGM Grand, which we later found out was about a mile or so from our hotel room in the Luxor.  After a few days of multiple trips from Luxor to the MGM monorail station and back again, along with all the walking from the day, not only was I sore from the bottom of my feet to the tops of my thighs but I was completely sick of even looking at MGM Grand.  That hotel is MASSIVE.  Having to walk through it day in and day out was a kind of torture and it made me never want to see that hotel again. Taking the monorail was quick and easy to do and I enjoyed that aspect of it.  But if you want the monorail to be your main source of transportation during your trip, I would highly advise you stay in a hotel with a monorail station or not too far from one.  That list includes: MGM Grand, Bally's, Paris, Flamingo, and Harrah's or The LINQ.  (There are also small trams that run from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur, Monte Carlo to Bellagio, and Mirage to Treasure Island.)

No matter your choice of transport, you can't go wrong stopping at Hash House A Go-Go.  This place has been voted Best Breakfast by the likes of Yahoo Travel, Las Vegas Review Journal, AOL City Guide, Spin Magazine, etc.  We had multiple friends recommend this restaurant to us as we planned our trip.  The prices are really reasonable and you receive a MASSIVE amount of food and drink.  If your hotel room does not have a fridge for leftovers, you may want to share one meal.  Otherwise, have at it!  While we weren't too moved by the drinks we had, the food was very tasty and comforting.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Hash House A Go-Go) - DivineMrsDiva.com

For our brunch, Sean had a BLT Bloody Mary, followed by the Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles.  This meal features two sage fried chicken breasts with hardwood smoked bacon waffle tower, hot maple reduction, and fried leeks.  The Bloody Mary wasn't really a standout, but the chicken and waffles were so very good!  The chicken was seasoned really well and all the flavors together were a sweet and savory delight!  I chose the Iced Pistachio Mocha to drink.  It was very large, topped with a huge pile of whipped cream.  As someone who cut out sugar for a while and only drinks black coffee now, this was so insanely sweet that I couldn't drink most of it.  I think I powered through half of it and gave up.  It was too much for me.  Also, there wasn't a lot of pistachio flavor.  For food, I ordered the Sage Fried Chicken Farm Benedict.  This masterpiece starts with a base of griddled mashed potatoes with a fresh split biscuit on top.  Fresh spinach and tomato slices may possibly make you not feel so bad about the mound of scrambled eggs, hardwood smoked bacon, sage fried chicken, griddled mozzarella, and chipotle cream sauce.  It was so, so good!  The chipotle cream sauce had a really nice spiciness to it that complimented all the other flavors in a great way.

We did take half of each of our meals with us in boxes in the hopes we could finish them off a little later in the day.  Sadly, we were so full we never got to the other halves and had to toss them later in the evening since our hotel room did not have a fridge for us to go back to.

From the LINQ, the walk to Mirage isn't very long.  There are so many people at this part of The Strip because the bigger shopping areas like the Fashion Show Mall, Forum Shops, and Grand Canal Shoppes are close by.  Well, as close as "close" is in Vegas.  Our walk through the Mirage was a quick one.  We took some photos in the Atrium, with its towering palms, exotic blooms, and waterfalls under a 100-foot dome.  Then we walked through to find the entrance to Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.  We would actually go into the Secret Garden on our last day, but we wanted to check everything out.  We did miss the 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium in our rush to make good time.


Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage Atrium) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage Pool) - DivineMrsDiva.com

The front of Mirage, between the Strip and the hotel, has some beautiful waterfalls.  It is actually a semi-quiet respite from the craziness of the Strip.  We enjoyed the cool air coming off the water and took some photos.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Just north of Mirage is Treasure Island.  We didn't go in this time, but from what we saw it seems like more of a "party" atmosphere geared to people much younger than us.  Still, I enjoy the attention to detail with each theme and the fun-to-look-at statues and adornments all around.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Treasure Island) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Treasure Island) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Treasure Island) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Treasure Island) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Quickly moving north, we stopped in at Fashion Show Mall.  I desperately wanted to visit Charming Charlie for the first time. Because of our packed itinerary, (let's face it....MY packed itinerary because I was the one that wanted to go to everything in a very short amount of time) we did very little actual shopping in Vegas.  Most of it was us walking through every place taking photos and looking in amazement at everything.  Also, there are tons of expensive designer fare that no one I know can actually afford.  Did I want the Swarovski-encrusted Louboutins? You bet your sweet bippy I did!!  But they were thousands of dollars.  Still, it is fun to look at and I wish we had more time to meander instead of marathon walk.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Fashion Show Mall) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Crossing the street, we stopped by a pretty spot at the Wynn before heading over to the Grand Canal Shoppes and the Venetian.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Wynn) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Palazzo) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Everything was all decked out for fall and Thanksgiving.  The large scale of pretty much everything is jaw-dropping at times.  If I could stay at any hotel on the Strip, it would be the Venetian for its shopping, food, classiness, and location. 

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Palazzo/Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Palazzo/Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Palazzo/Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com

One of the wonderful things about walking through the Grand Canal Shoppes is seeing the singing gondoliers and hearing their voices echo in the busy shops.  Instead of adding videos in with this post, I will simply point you in the direction of two videos I shot during this portion of our trip.  One is a parade of singing gondoliers before they did a "changing of the guards" of sorts.  The next one is a gondolier singing for the people in his gondola.


Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com


Part of the fun is also the "Streetmosphere".  The Venetian website reads, "Part of the charm of Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo is the “Streetmosphere®” created by an international roster of classically trained singers, actors and musicians. Daily performances in St. Mark’s Square add an unexpected element of entertainment to the shopping experience and embellish the center’s unique and vibrant atmosphere. The Living Statues amaze guests with their immovable poses, while Artiste del Arte, a troupe of talented musicians, wander the center’s cobbled streets and serenade shoppers beneath the evening sky. On any given day, there are approximately 30 small performances that unexpectedly delight and entertain shoppers."  I didn't even notice the statue was a real person until after I took the picture below.  We were in a hurry, but really!

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Once outside, we took some photos from the upper level of the Venetian that looks out at The Strip.  It was around five o'clock or so and we still had time to kill before our next event of the night.  We watched the Mirage volcano from the balcony before heading down to the street level to watch the next volcano showing, and hit up Walgreens for some not-too-overpriced water.  (Water bottles anywhere else in Vegas are at least $4 or $5, so hit up Walgreens as soon as you can to gather water!)

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Venetian) - DivineMrsDiva.com

I made a point to pose in the same spot as my first trip to Vegas about eleven years ago!

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (At the Venetian - 11 years later) - DivineMrsDiva.com

The volcano at the Mirage runs every half hour from 6pm to 11pm.  We stopped again to see it at street level.  From our location on the opposite side of the street, we could feel the intense heat of the fire.  It is a short little show, but fun to watch.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Mirage Volcano Show) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Next up in our day's adventure was Madam Tussauds Wax Museum.  We decided to buy tickets at their website for the "Twilight Tickets".  These are tickets at a discounted rate that can only be used Sunday through Thursday after 6pm.  It was pretty perfect timing-wise for our schedule.  The Twilight Tickets are $17.97 compared to the Walk-Up Price of $29.95.  We were the first people in after six and had a few places to ourselves for a bit before people started coming in.  This was nice because we got to be goofy and take silly pictures without people staring on or being in too many of our photos.  While we had fun eyeballing the wax celebrities up close (a lot of them look pretty amazing and real) and taking dorky photos, I am definitely glad we chose the cheaper tickets.  We expected a lot more figures, specifically a lot more Marvel characters.

There is a line for a 4-D short film after you come across a few super heroes.  You wait in this line and have to sit down in wet seats (part of the 4-D experience involves water being squirted at you).  The film was cheesy and the 4-D stuff, particularly the water, just grossed me out.  Like, how long is that water sitting around in a tank before it is squirted at my face?  And why don't the employees towel off the gross wet seats before the next round of people come in?  After the film, we expected more figures but were spit out into the gift shop instead.  I would go to a different museum with different figures, but otherwise I probably wouldn't do this one again.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Sean got into the posing.

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com
Beating my chest like Celine; Tasting Lucy's brownie mix; FINALLY getting Elvis to sing to me; and posing with Sofia because she had thyroid cancer too! (I am pointing out my scar.)

Vegas Vacation Recap: Day 3 (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Las Vegas) - DivineMrsDiva.com

After Madame Tussauds, we rushed back to the monorail station and rushed the mile trek from MGM Grand to our room at the Luxor to go potty, freshen up, change clothes, and look presentable for the Michael Jackson Cirque show.  I bought some expensive-because-they-are-comfortable flats to wear for our dressier events.  They fit well at home and worked with my outfits.  Turns out, my feet swelled just enough to make the shoes fit tight, but not enough for my feet to be noticeably swollen.  We were in a hurry, so I wore the shoes as we power walked from the Luxor to Mandalay Bay.  (Power walked - like my hair was catching a breeze and my dress was wooshing around my ankles.)  Halfway there, my feet felt like they were on fire and I thought my shoes were filling up with blood.  Turns out, my expensive flats were just tight enough on my now bloated feet that it gave me ridiculously large blisters on both of my little toes in less than fifteen minutes.  More on that to come....

The Michael Jackson show was not quite what I expected but it was really fun.  Obviously the music was fantastic, but the way they incorporated the songs and Cirque theatrics and acrobatics was fantastically entertaining.  I love Michael's music but was never a huge fan; However, there were very moving parts that were done in amazing ways.  (I don't want to give it away if you want to see it, so email me if you want details....)  This was my second Cirque show, but I want to see them ALL now!

To summarize:


Have you been to the wax museum or have any favorite places in this area of The Strip?  Have you ridden the Deuce bus or monorail?  I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts.


2 comments :

  1. Vegas is definitely on my list of places I want to go....I probably wouldn't plan as much, though. I am not a planner, lol. I'd probably get some show tickets, but otherwise devote my time to meandering. I'd also hit up the aquarium because I love aquariums.


    The pictures of Sean in the wax museum are awesome, Snoop Dogg and Sinatra in particular.

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  2. So here I am, home from the ER after a nasty allergy attack. Bored out of my mind, exhausted, and forcing down a cup of soup. Wondering what to do...I decide to see if you have any new posts. I can't tell you how nice it was to read your Vegas recap and distract myself from my swollen face and extremities.

    I really enjoyed reading through this one, and I like your pointers about the pros and cons of your trip. I had no idea the Vegas strip was so long. I figured it was a mile or so, but not four miles. I always imagined everything being walkable, so this was super helpful.

    I loved your photos of the architecture, resorts, sculptures, and gardens. I photograph those same sorts of things when I'm traveling. The wax museum looks so cool, too! I've been to one at a Ripley's Museum. Yes, they're super corny and cheesy, but I think that's part of the experience. I had to do a double take when I saw the first one of you and Leo.

    Hash House A Go-Go looks like someplace Kyle and I would love to eat at. We definitely look for travel destinations with a great foodsphere. I'm a big bloody mary fan too, so I'd have been sneaking sips from Sean's drink!

    We just got back from a 5-night cruise out of New Orleans to Mexico. I'll be recapping our trip next week on the blog. And speaking of bloody marys: Carnival makes a Caribbean bloody mary with pineapple juice and a squirt of habanero. So tasty! Definitely my favorite drink of the trip!

    <3 Liz
    www.withwonderandwhimsy.com

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