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Only a hour flight away from Las Vegas we visit frequently, sometimes once a month. I'll be sharing our trip reports, tips on making the most of your stay in Vegas, reviews of restaurants and shows we have seen, along with my thoughts related to our favorite place to get away from it all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December 2011 at Mandalay Bay & Michael Jackson's Immortal Tour

Sorry I'm so late with this December 6th through 9th trip report but the holiday season when I returned home really kept me busy so I guess it's just better late then never?

I arrived on Tuesday the 6th of December, staying at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay with the main purposes of this trip to be the Meet with Breanna and friends from the Blonde4ever Vegas message board and to see the Michael Jackson Immortal Cirque Show.
While waiting for my room to get ready I had some luck on Top Dollar for $500 and then a hit on $5 Pinball for $375.00.
Moved on to $1 DaVinci Diamonds and hit again for $500 so thinking to myself great start to the trip hope it continues.
Hit a spin on $5 Wheel of Fortune after that but it was only for $100 and not even worth a photo. Went back to $1 DaVinci Diamonds and got the bonus which paid $220.00.
Moved on to 5 cent DaVinci Diamonds, got the bonus while playing $5 a push but the bonus was only $2.50! I get the call that my suite is ready and while I'm ahead as I go up to unpack, I'm worried my luck is leaving me after that $2.50 bonus.

After unpacking it was time to walk and tram over to Aria to meet Deb H and her husband, Blueboar and Disco Stu from the Blonde4ever and Rex Vegas boards. During my walk through NYNY I found the new WMS Party Train Slot and played it briefly with little luck. This is the sequel to the Monopoly Jackpot Station Slot and I'll give it another chance on a future trip.
We met in front of Aria's high limit room and then decided to go to American Fish for Happy Hour only to discover that wouldn't start for another 45 minutes so we ended up at Todd English's pub which is a fun place. Above is Disco Stu and Blueboar.
Every table gets some popcorn.
We ordered some apps for the table like fries, wings and beef sliders. Not sure why I don't have a photo of the sliders which were good.
Deb's husband ordered the fish and chips which looked tasty.
After Todd English's pub we returned to Aria. Above is Disco Stu, myself, Deb and Blueboar. Deb's husband was our photographer. The group wanted to see the $5 Top Dollar that I hit 20k on in early October at Aria so I took them to it, then briefly ran a hundred through it getting lucky to hit the bonus toward the end for a win of $300 something.
Our group split up going their separate ways at that point and as I was walking out of Aria I spotted a couple new slots and couldn't resist playing them.
The new Wolf Run 2 is a pretty game but my luck on it so far won't tempt me away from the original Wolf Run.
Double DaVinci Diamonds is also a pretty game and has some potential so I'll likely try it in the future but I'm hoping the original doesn't disappear.
Just as I'm walking out the back door of Aria to walk through Monte Carlo, then NYNY before catching the tram back to MB at Excalibur, I spot Bacchus Gold which I had a bit of luck on in October. Had another bit of luck on it when the bonus hit fairly quickly and paid $536.00!
Unfortunately once back at Mandalay Bay all I did was lose so I decided to have a late dinner at China Grill. I started out with their shrimp cocktail with red pepper and tomato which was very fresh tasting.
We eat at China Grill a lot because their butter fish is wonderful. Unfortunately this night I discovered they had changed their recipe and it was swimming in some sort of sauce that just wasn't up to par and the fish didn't taste as fresh as usual so I couldn't eat that much of it.
With dinner I had a ginger mojito which was great. I skipped dessert this evening and on hindsight should have stayed and had some because for the rest of the evening I just lost and was definitely down for the trip when I went to sleep.

Next morning I ate at THEHotel Cafe and had my usual lobster cobb salad. Socalgirl (Terri) was checking in to THEHotel today and while waiting for her I continued to lose. Once Terri arrived, I continued to lose but Terri while playing the $10 Top Dollar slot hit a bonus that paid her $10,000! Way to go Terri, if I can't win at least I can enjoy a friend winning and know it's my bad luck and not the casino being tight. ;)
I did have some hits on December 7th, they were just few and far between and didn't make up for the losses.
Looks pretty but just not paying much considering the bet. Since the $1 and $5 slots weren't treating me well I moved on to pennies and the 5 cent slots but my luck was sour on everything.
Fortunately we had a great dinner at Red Square that evening at Mandalay Bay and after a couple of their specialty Vodka drinks I was back in a good mood!
Yes, it's shrimp cocktail again and it was great at Red Square.
My appetizer was also on the house as Terri found some a piece of glass in her drink masquerading as a piece of ice, fortunately she didn't swallow it or get cut.
Red Square also offers Butterfish as a entree so once again I ordered it and this time it was fresh and delightful.
Terri ordered their Beef Stroganoff after I told her Randy had it there in the past and enjoyed it, but tonight her entree was just okay.
We shared dessert,  Rasputin's magic chocolate bar was fabulous! It's layered white chocolate and hazelnut mousse, chocolate cake and whip creme with a strawberry garnish.

Thanks Terri for a great dinner, in fact thanks for two great dinners and a couple lunches, as Terri once she arrived treated me to all the meals we shared!
After dinner Terri drove us to Cosmopolitan for Breanna's Meet at the Chandelier Bar. Above is Huddler and Kydds.
On the left is Breanna's husband George, the lady in the red sweater is Lucky Linda, Disco Stu, Huddler, Terri (Socalgirl), and sort of hidden is Blueboar, Kydds, Sophia (or the back of her head, sorry about that) and Breanna on the right.
Sophia in the center talking to Huddler and others and also our patient cocktail server.
Chriss in the UK and her friend Carol talking to George. Two fun ladies and I wish I had a chance to talk to them more that evening.
Breanna, Kydds, Huddler and George sharing a funny story or two.
Blueboar, Disco Stu and George.
It was a fun meet and at the end various groups broke off to go to different casinos.
Terri and I ended up returning to Mandalay Bay but on hindsight we should have joined the group going on to MGM as all I did at MB was continue to lose that evening.
I did have a brief winning streak on a Diamond Unlimited Haywire slot at MB.
I slowly built the winning streak up to around $480.00
But the wins were a rarity and the losses continued.
A brief visit by some wolves.
I did have some fun with the Ringling Bros and Bailey slots at Mandalay Bay, but when I went to sleep later it was still a losing day and night.

It's now Thursday the 8th and Terri and I both sleep in late and meet up for brunch at Red, White and Blue where I forget to take photos of what we ate. Service was a bit slow there but the salad I had was good.
Gambling was more of the same, losing. I was glad when it was time to meet up at the Mandalay Bay Event Center and see the Michael Jackson Cirque Immortal show. We had great seats and both of us loved the show which has lots of special effects. I was a bit concerned that it would end up a disappointment like Elvis, but it didn't and I recommend that if you like MJ's music go see it when it's touring in your area. It will also be returning to Las Vegas in 2013, but at that time from what I've read it will be a more a traditional type 90 minute Cirque show, instead of the 2 hour plus rock musical show we saw.
After the show we went to Fleur to eat a late dinner. The vegetarian tapas above is Artichoke Barigoule with asparagus, baby carrots and basil. The photo doesn't do it justice, this is a delicious vegetable dish, try it you will like it if you enjoy these veggies.
The Tarte Flambe is also a winner, but what's not to love with bacon, onion, asparagus and creme fraiche?
Terri ordered the marbled potatoes with sea salt. I didn't try these but they look good!
Above the rock shrimp with rice noodle, snow peas and red dragon sauce. Terri doesn't eat shrimp so it was all mine but I couldn't finish the noodles. :) I love the spicy red dragon sauce!
The meat for the Wagyu "Lava Rock" Tapas with wasabi and lime.
Here we are cooking the meat on the lava rock. The Wagyu is delicious and they serve you 3 ounces of it.
If you can only order one dish at Fleur make it the Croque Monsieur with smoked him, gruyere
and bechamel sauce.
The finale, the chocolate soufflé we shared with chocolate ganache and caramel ice cream. Great dessert but I still stand by my personal opinion that Cut restaurant has the best chocolate soufflé on the strip!
Gambling after our dinner improved a bit for me, however I needed a big win at the end to be a winner this trip and it just didn't happen.
For two days I had been ignoring the new Larry's Lobstermania 2 slot. I had never played the original and with the luck I was having on the newer slots I wasn't going to start, until I saw Terri playing it tonight and having some luck with it.
Darn if I didn't hit my own lucky streak on several of these slots at Mandalay Bay.
Fun slot when you are lucky on it, and I'll be watching for this one on future trips.
The next morning both Terri and I had late check outs so we met at the player's club desk to cash out our holiday gift points. I ended up taking free play out with my points.
I temporarily made Noir this trip but basically the main perk for that level in my opinion is just a complimentary limo ride to and from the airport. Terri and I tried to eat at Raffles but service was so terrible we walked out before ordering and ended up at THECafe where the service was good.
Before I left for the airport I tried the $5 Top Dollar slot again and it gave me a $500 farewell win. I enjoyed myself a lot this trip with the Meets, Terri, Immortal Tour show and delicious food. Would have been nice to win but I can't complain as I've had some great wins this year and a couple stand out winning trips in March and early October.

Next trip is January 16th for 4 nights. Staying the first 3 nights at Palazzo and the 4th night at Bellagio because both properties made me offers to good to pass up.

Happy New Year everyone, I wish all of you a healthy and prosperous 2012!


  1. Hi Diana, I have to tell you I am soo excited about finding your posts! My husband and I will be making our very first trip to Vegas March 30th for 7 days. We are sooo excited!! We love the casinos and Vegas is gonna be AWSOME!! I had started researching and came upon your posts. Honestly I really didnt have to do much more. The restaurant reviews,Shows, casinos. I feel like I have a great headstart into finding my way around. Thank you for taking the time to write about your trips. I'm sure its not always easy to find the time, but for me they have been a wonderful tool for planning my Vegas vacation. Doreen

  2. Hi Doreen, I'm very happy to hear that my trip reports will help you plan your March trip. Good luck on your trip and if you have any questions I might help you with feel free to ask.

    Happy New Year!


  3. Hi Diana, I too am a frequent Vegas visitor. I love living vicariously through your trip reports. It gives me the fill in experience I need between trips. Your restaurant photos are especially interesting to me and I have picked up many new "favorites" from your visits. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into the blog. I look forward to continuing my "tag along" moments through reading your posts.

  4. Another great trip report! :)
    Happy 2012

  5. Thanks Aricczona, I appreciate knowing that. Let me know sometime if it looks like one of our trips to Las Vegas will coincide. :)

    Thanks Susan, Happy New Year!

  6. Happy New Years Diana, Thanks again for the awesome report. I saw MJ Tour the night after you and thought it was really good as well. Your reports have made us book the cosmopolitan for the 19th of the month, and cannot wait to try some of the awesome drinks you show in older reports from the Chandelier Bar and our Terrace Room!

    Hope this upcoming trip is a big winner for you! Thanks again and wishing you and all your readers an awesome 2012!


  7. Ken, Happy New Year! Sounds like we are missing each other by hours as I leave Vegas on the 19th. I'll be around Bellagio though until about 4pm on the 19th so if you get in early and think you see me say hi.

    Cosmo has had some changes since I stayed there early last year and so I'm not sure if I'll be staying there in the future. However you can't beat those balcony rooms with a view of the Bellagio fountains and I still like most of their restaurants.

    Lately the Chandelier bar has closed the top two floors which means when they are closed you can't get the speciality drinks from there (each floor has a different drink menu), however that's mainly been on weekdays and you are arriving on the weekend and should be fine.

    My big recommendation is when checking in to Cosmopolitan (unless you stay up until 4am and noise doesn't bother you) is to request a room where you won't hear the noise from their Marquee nightclub.

    Have a great time!


  8. Happy New Year! When I am really wishing I could be in Vegas I visit your blog...almost like being there. Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning that the Cosmopolitan matched your Mlife comp. I had a old host that moved to Cosmo, so contacted her and they did match my comp! Also did this for my daughter. Not sure how I feel about Cosmo....not much winning to be had by us.
    Next trip...Super Bowl which coincides with my grandson being in Vegas for hockey..he plays for the Alaska Aces.

  9. Thanks Geri, and Happy New Year to you and your family!

    That's very cool that your grandson plays for Alaska Aces and that all of you will be in Vegas during Super Bowl.

    Have a wonderful and winning trip!


  10. Terrific trip report as always. I very much enjoy reading your reviews. Good luck on your next trip.

  11. Looking forward to your upcoming January trip report. Sadly I cant get away until the end of February! Longest span between trips in a long time(spent Christmas on the strip). This time I will be at THe Hotel @ Mandalay for 3 nights, sadly the Cafe was closed for the season when I was there in December. Guess I will have to watch your upcoming report for some tasty breakfast options. Hope good fortune finds you, and thanks again for the work you put into the blog

  12. Thanks Aricczona! I'll be going tweets starting the 16th too. You can find them at this link:

    Sorry to hear THECafe was closed during December but it should be open for you the end of February. Raffles at Mandalay Bay has good breakfast options but unfortunately their service can be spotty. Red, White and Blue is also decent for breakfast at Mandalay Bay.

    If good fortune finds me next week I might have a trip scheduled for the end of February too. If bad luck finds me looks like next trip for me will be April 11th. :)

    Good luck on your trip!

    1. Ok, following you now on twitter, Only 3 days until your next trip. I am looking forward to your updates. I bet you have that pre-Vegas excitement....counting down like it is Christmas. I love that feeling!

  13. Yep, time is going very slow at the moment for me but will go way too fast once I'm in Vegas, hehe.

    Lets hope I have some interesting things to tweet. I will be taking photos of the Chinese New Year display at Bellagio on the 19th when I stay there. I'll miss the display at Palazzo as it's my understanding they won't fire up their dragon Chinese New Year Display until 4 days after I leave.

    Taking my friend Terri to Aria's, American Fish restaurant for her belated Birthday celebration, hope it's good.


  14. i hope you win this time<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  15. Thanks Sirichal. I finally had some luck tonight so while not a winner yet, I'm breaking even at the moment. :)