Vegas info and opinions requested

My wife and I are going to Vegas next week and will be staying at The Hotel on the Mandaly Bay property. We have been to Vegas several times and go only for the entertainment, shows and food.

Here are some questions I would love to hear your info and views on:

  1. There are two places that sell tickets for half price the day of the show near the MGM. Does anyone know which of the better shows are often available? Which shows are most worth seeing? We have seen Mystere, O, and some of the smaller venues. I was really dissappointed that Penn and Teller (I saw Penn on “While you are out” on the weekend. He said “Vegas is a place for gamblers who are really bad at math”) are not playing untill the day we leave. We are planning to see Mamma Mia and have coupons for $20 off per show which came direct from Mandalay.

  2. Which are the highest quality buffets? I am looking for great food, not lots of it. The top 3 that I have seen on the internet seem to be Paris, Bellagio and Aladin. The one I can personally vouch for is the seafood buffet at Rio. Are there other restaurants on or near the strip that offer a better dining value? The Mexican restaurant at Mandalay is pricey for Mexican food, but is wonderful.

Thanks for the input!

Can’t help you with the first question, but I can give some input on the 2nd (buffets/restaurants).

You already know about the seafood buffet at the Rio. I’ve heard good things about the buffet at the Bellagio, but haven’t been there myself.
However, if you are looking for a great meal not at a buffet, I would highly recommend Lawry’s prime rib. Yes, it’s the same Lawry’s as the spice people. The only other Lawry’s I know of is in LA, and it, too, is awesome. They are located about 2 blocks off (east) of the strip on Flamingo (I’m pretty sure). I think they’re a block west of Paradise.
You go to Lawry’s for the prime rib. I think they may have a couple other things on the menu, but it’s primarily a prime rib place and it is well worth it. They wheel this cart around with the (uncut) prime rib on it, and they slice your desired width right in front of you.

A friend of mine who goes to Vegas for this annual convention, pointed out this one Chinese restaurant that he said was incredible. But I don’t know the specifics (sorry).

Well, I just have to say one thing up front. Avoid the Imperial Palace. Avoid it a lot. Don’t even walk past it if you can help it. Really.

I really liked the buffets at the MGM Grand and the Luxor. Since the Luxor is connected to Mandalay Bay, it won’t be difficult at all to try it out. I particularly liked the Luxor’s breakfast buffet. Avoid the Excaliber’s buffet like the plague.

Well, you’re in luck on the buffet’s because I really liked the Mandalay Bay dinner buffet on weeknights when I was travelling to Las Vegas on business for long periods a few years ago.

No telling if it’s the same, as I’ve only been back twice since, and on those trips only went to one buffet: The Bellagio’s Sunday Brunch buffet.

Now, the wife just came back from a stay at Paris, and she says the buffet there is excellent, too… especially the breads. She said the bread at every restaurant in that property was top rate. And she’s a total foodie.

Have fun!

Despite my rant in BBQ Pit, there are some good buffets here - very good, as a matter of fact.

Paris is indeed the best on The Strip - ask to be seated in one of the side rooms, and you will feel like you are at a great little French restaurant, and not at a buffet. Save room for the best desserts in town! Bellagio is also good, as well as Alladin and I have heard that the new Mirage buffet is getting good reviews. To be honest, the buffet at the Mandalay isn’t horrible, but I wouldn’t rank it up in the top 5.

If you are going to be at the Mandalay on a Sunday, immediately book a brunch at the House Of Blues (right there in the Mandalay). It is a gospel concert/brunch, two seatings every Sunday, with cajun food and high power gospel music for about $35.

As far as shows: People who have seen them all seem to like O and Zumanity (a little on the riske’ side), also Gladys Knight at Flamingo, and Danny Gans at Mirage, Blue Man Group in Luxor and some have liked Mama Mia.

Shows to avoid: Wayne Newton (have heard his voice is nowhere near what it was even a year ago), La Femme (an exotic dance review in MGM) is supposed to be wretched, and verdict is out on Celine Dion - if you are a big fan and have big bucks, you might like it.

Have a great time!

If you have any inclination to get away from the massive cheese factory that is the Strip, try downtown Vegas. It’s also cheaper.

And what, pray tell, set the bee in your bonnet abuzz about the IP? I won’t eat there either, but other than that, it’s a nice little place. Not to mention that the wife and I usually take them for a small fortune every trip. :smiley:

Well, I just got back from 4 nights there.

  1. The beds were extremely uncomfortable. The rooms were clean, but that’s about all it had going for it.

  2. It was like stepping into another plane of existance, in a bad way. Time and space as we know it ceased to exist. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the layout.

  3. In order to get from any point to any other point, it required at least 2 elevator rides. And the elvators were very small and very, very slow. It wasn’t uncommon to be stuck at the elevator banks for 10(plus) minutes.

  4. They told you where things were (Food Plaza on 5th Floor!) but they didn’t tell you how to get there. Could I take one of the slooooooow elevators up to the 5th floor? No, because they only took you to the guest suites. Could I take the esculator at the end of the casino? No, that only takes you to the Tea Room on the second floor. Do I take the other elevator in the middle of the casino? No, that takes you to the second and 4th floor only. Apparently you have to go down to the lobby, find the side escalators, take them up to the third floor, walk to the sports bar and take that elevator up to the 5th floor. The other elevator on the 3rd floor only goes down. It was like a fucking maze, and quite frankly, if I were interest in puzzles, I’d stay home and play my PS2.

  5. The food sucked. The service at the restaurants sucked. Everything was oddly overpriced. I can’t think of worse place to eat than the IP. Ok, the Imperial Buffet isn’t too horrible, but that’s pretty faint praise.

OK…I hear you about the elevators. They do need to be overhauled. I guess we have just been there so often that we know where everything is. The BBQ place at IP is really not bad at all. But for a good buffet, we go to Bellagio or Aladdin.

Thanks for the great ideas on the buffets!

Has anyone used one of the half price places for tickets? There names are something like tickets 4 tonite and half price tickets. They only post a list of tickets available the day of the shows. We are not too picky on the shows we are going to see. We managed to miss most of the shows I would really like to see. There is a new one featuring the music of Queen which I think opens at Paris, but it opens after we leave.

I have never made it to downtown vegas so I might check it out this time. The Freemount street experience is supposed to be pretty cool.

If you have any other feedback I would love to hear it.

I can answer the half-price ticket question!

I was there in April with my SO and my buddy and his wife.

Me and my buddy walked to a ticket place, if i recall it was between “The Aladin” and the “MGM Grand” in a strip mall type thing. It was right beside one of those tacky tourist stores.

Anyway, we went for tickets for “Zumanity”. They didn’t have any for that show. If I recall, they get banks of tickets each day for certain shows. Check around noon for availability. It’s a pretty good deal if they have your show, 50%!

Oh yea, I recomend the breakfast buffet at Ceasars Palace. Very sweet!


Mikemike2, I took the liberty of sending you “The Poorman’s Guide to Las Vegas” (and the update), which is compiled by a friend of mine. It has a lot of info and I hope you find it useful.

I would recommend seeing, Tony and Tin’a Wedding, it’s interactive and a fun show.

My fiancé has always had good luck at the ticket place next to the giant Coke bottle on the strip. They’ve always had tickets for the shows she wanted to see. YMMV, of course.

Regarding Freemont Street - The “experience” or whatever they call the light show is not really all that exciting. Basically, everybody stops walking, looks up and says, “Ooohhh.” The, when it’s over, they look down and say, “Aw, crap!” as they realize someone stole their wallet while they were watching the light show (happened to a friend of mine). I do love the casinos in that area, though. You should definitely check out Cheapo Vegas for more info about “dingy old downtown.”

I see you are staying at THEHotel at Mandalay. Ms. Bone and myself will be there the end of August. Heard rooms are absolutely fabulous. Thanks for all the info on shows. Want to see “O”. I heard it was very good… Is that true?

Thanks for the e-mail DaToad. There is a lot of concise and useful info in the guide.

The Cheapo Las Vegas site is very good and one that I hadn’t found before, so thanks to lightingtool.

I have seen Mystere and O by Cirque. Both are fantastic shows and probably have the best production values in Vegas. O is a more elaborate production than Mystere. My wife liked O better, but my favourite of the two was Mystere. Mystere was more intimate, suprising and had more acrobatic skill. I consider Mystere to be my best theatre experience ever. Neither are to be missed.

When I was in Vegas last March, I went to the Flyaway, an indoor skydiving experience tunnel. It’s just off the Strip and will cost you 50 bucks for half an hour (that includes training and renting the attire).

I found it worth the money. I always wanted to skydive, just once in my life, and this pretty much gave me the experience, but in a more convenient way.

I really liked the free shows of the fountains at the Bellagio.

I also went to see Lance Burton’s Magician show, for 70 bucks. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it, but it didn’t really get me enthusiastic, either. When magic is done too smoothly, it sort of loses the wonder element.

I also liked the photobooths in the Adventuredome in CircusCircus. For five bucks, the booth takes a picture of you and your wife, and then calculates and pictures how your child should look like. Makes a great souvenir.

My buddy just got back from Vegas last week, and said that, while he was not previously a fan, seeing Elton John at Caesar’s turned him into one. Excellent show, said he.