Vega$ is ever changing

Well I guess it should come as no surprise that Vega$ is ever changing.  Worst case I seem to get down there every six months or so.  My last trip before this weekend was back in late August.  This trip was about gambling and attending baseball so I did not get to any shows, free or otherwise.  One thing I always like to do on my trip to Vegas is go in Caesar’s forum shops and go to Virgin Megastore.  I always like to look through the import section and find a CD album or set of singles that you cannot get at the local music store (or tend to cost more) and they always seem to have good deals on some set of DVDs.  In general thought unless you were buying something on sale or it was a must, hard to find item, you were always better off buying it at your local music store.  I liked the fact that they have a lot of listening stations to check out new bands, many, of course, from the UK.  To my big surprise the store is no longer in Vegas.  Where am I know supposed to spending my winnings?  This is a big bummer to me and was always part of a trip.  FAO Schwarz is also just a fun store to go in.  With the Trojan horse out front it is hard to miss.  The last time I was down there they were doing some big construction out front so I was curious to see what they had done.  They have been closing the stores all over the country and while I knew the Seattle store had been shut down I was not sure if the one in the mall was gone.  Looking at the website it looks like they just have shows in NYC and Vega$.  The store in Vegas is a big bummer now.  Almost all the first floor is now a candy and malt shop.  Where are all of the toys?  On the third floor they used to have the musicians from the scene in Star Wars and it is always fun to see the different aliens.  This, of course, is also gone!  FAO Schwarz has always been know for their collectable toys and I was hoping to find the big Lego section they have that had some cool collectables.  If it was there I missed it.  They had some crappy mega-block stuff but that is not the same.  I quickly walked through the doll floor, as I have always have, so I have no idea of changes there.  They did have two guess playing the piano ala the movie Big and they were doing a good job in tandem.  All and all I was disappointed in the changes at FAO Schwarz and will most likely not stop in there anymore.  In fact with Virgin gone I cannot really even think of a reason to go into the Forum Shops even though their expansion is now complete.
I stayed at Mandalay Bay this trip which is a place I had never stayed.  Mandalay Bay actually has three hotels.  There is a Four Season hotel on the property where you do not have to step a foot into the casino to get to your room or their private pool area.  There is also the new The Hotel at Mandalay Bay and then there is the standard hotel where we stayed.  The rooms were nice and I guess technically you did not have to step into the hotel between the lobby and the elevators but it is very close by.  I was a bit surprised that no one was facilitating that only hotel guests get on the elevators.  I cannot think of the last time I was in a hotel in Vegas where this was not true, at least at night.  The beach area was great.  They have a big wave pool and they also have a river where you an just float along.  The room had internet access from the Ethernet cable or via wireless!!!  It was about $12 for one 24 period.  They also had something like web TV is you wanted to go that route.  The room was nice and had a big deep tub.  One thing I will never understand is why you have to walk through the tub and shower area to get to the separate room with the toilet.  Keeping them separate or at least making it easier to get to the toilet without disturbing someone in the shower or tub seems like better design.
I had not been to the Palms casino as it is not on the strip but I finally made it over there this trip having mostly spent time on the strip itself over the years.  The Palms was featured in the MTV series Real World.  I actually stop watching this show years ago after they filmed the Seattle version.  At the time it was so annoying.  You would be in a club or maybe you would go into a club and they would have half of it cordoned off.  They would limit the people in that section as to not really interfere with the filming.  How is this the real world when they selected who was on the screen or interacted with their actors.  I remember many people would just see them and boo when they were filming around town.  The Palms is nice but seemed kind of small.  They do have an IMAX theatre there that shows standard movies – Robots was playing.  The casino looked like it has a big sports book and a small food court.  They have some big hot clubs there but I was there the wrong time of day to check them out.  I was also surprised given that a few of the poker shows on TV are filmed there but their poker room seems really small.
The next “new” thing that I noticed this trip was that Wynn’s hotel is done and boy is it tall.  It is much taller than the rest and we all know what this means.  I was bummed that it is still not open yet.  It will be open by the end of April so I guess I will have to wait until the next trip.
In the Belliagio they have this great season garden right off of the main lobby that they change four times a year.  Either I have not been there for the Spring display or they really have outdone themselves this time.  For the Easter holidays they had some lilies.  There were a ton of tulips.  They had these great 15-20 feet tall flowers that had petals made of glass that I can only believe that Chihuly would have made.  If there are not the work of his studio then they are close.  They had these big snails where there were flowers making up the patterns on the shells.  Also cool fountains of water that you could walk under and in between.  They also had live butterflies.  I was surprised that they had this big glass obelisk that looked a lot like the Washington monument off to the side by where they had the Van Gough painting before.  In fact that whole staircase up to the Van Gough painting was gone and there were offices or shops in that area now.  I have no idea where the Monet exhibits were.
That is about it in the way of new or different things I noticed this trip.  I guess I should also note that they have a Star Wars slot machine game now that plays little videos from the film.  If you get a bonus a Death Star spins around and tells you how much the bonus is.  The slot machine is Episodes IV-VI themed so none of the new stuff is there.

About Aaron Bregel

Just trying to get by
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