First time in Vegas, 11/8-11

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, November 13, 2001 5:18 AM
I'll start off by saying that it's hard to do a TR on a trip to Vegas, because it's not an amusement park, it's a city, and not everything one does there is relevant to coasters.  Despite that, prior to going I would have loved to read an all-encompassing report of someone's trip, so that's what I'm going to do.  If you just want to read about the coasters, look for the capitalized headers.

My wife and I arrived from Columbus about 11 p.m. Nov. 8 to McCarran Int'l, got our rental car and...took a wrong turn out of the airport.  Actually I'm glad we did, because instead of entering the Strip in the middle, we started from far south, and got to see the massive hotels and lights from afar, slowly approaching.  Let me tell you, I greatly underestimated the scale of the buildings in this city.  As Tiny E on SNL used to say, "They're huge!"

So after marvelling at the buildings and lights (and the very prominent Mahattan Express coaster at New York New York, which you can see from anywhere on the South Strip and interstate), we got to our hotel, Harrah's, which was nice enough.  Hungry and not wanting to sleep, we wandered down to Caeser's Palace and got some munchies at a 24-7 restaurant.  By this time it was 1:30 a.m. (that's 4:30 a.m. Ohio time) and we were dead tired, so we walked back and caught some Z's.

Next morning, our alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. (we didn't set it).  We got up anyway and began a trek down the Strip, going south, with NYNY the ultimate goal.  We ate a quick breakfast at McDonalds, hung out at Gameworks arcade for a while, then on to...

MANHATTAN EXPRESS
This Togo looper is located around and on top of the NYNY hotel, which is absolutely massive (with a Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, but no WTC.  Also, the fence around the hotel was lined with T-shirts, letters and photos to WTC victims.  Quite touching). 

We went inside and searched 10 minutes through the slot machines before we found the entrance.  That's one thing about Vegas coasters: they are hard to find. The casinos want you to wander around.

I bought one ticket (my wife didn't ride any coasters) for a whopping $10.50 and boarded, assigned row 2.  The restraints are weird, pull-straight-down shoulder bars and a lap bar.  The shoulder bars are just in the right place to pummel your neck...ouch.

The ride starts with a long tour around the building and a huge lift hill along Tropicana Blvd.  I like how you can see your reflection in the glass building near you.  The ride starts with a pretty big drop, a turn and then an even bigger drop, then a smaller drop into a loop and an inline twist, which was VERY fun and disorienting.  After the block brakes, there are some air hills and a cool helix with significant G-forces.  I had heard the last half of this ride was lame, but I quite enjoyed it. 

The big slow hill back into the casino seemed like a waste though.

Next, we walked all the way down to the Luxor, then back up the other side of the street, stopping at the mall at the Aladdin for a while, as well as just about every casino. We grabbed "lunch" at the Ghirardelli ice cream place at Harrah's.  After that, we hung out in the hot tub for a while.

After we were refreshed, we got into our car and drove up the strip to the Sahara and home of...

SPEED: THE RIDE
This is, without a doubt, the best ride in Vegas, in every way.  One way is placement:  directly on Las Vegas Blvd.  After paying $8 for two consecutive rides (bargain!), I hopped into the second row again (no lines except for front seat).  The train launchs out of the building immediately and directly into a sharp overbanked turn, then down underground, up into a tall vertical loop.  After that, there's another set of LIMs that shoots you at 70mph through the Sahara sign, a quick S-turn with your head brushing rooftops, and up a vertical spire, then backwards.

The hangtime on the loop backwards is exquisite, and the ride is very smooth and intense.  This will make my top 10, most likely.

We started to walk to the Stratosphere, but things got a little skeevy and it was getting dark (at 4:30 p.m. ?!?) so we got the car.  At the tower, I bought a ticket for $15 that included the elevator up, the High Roller Coaster and the Big Shot S&S space shot ride.  After waiting in many lines and being forced to walk through an entire shopping center to the elevator, we made it up.  What a glorious view.  But it was nothing compared to the view from...

BIG SHOT
I never really liked S&S rides, but I had to try this one.  The crew was doing a great job of pumping people up, with music and cheering.  If you've ridden any S&S, you've ridden this ride, but just to add another 150 feet to the already awesome view, with nothing in front of you, is worth it.

I wanted to ride the High Roller (World's Highest Kiddie Coaster!) but, when I bought my ticket at 4:50 p.m., they neglected to tell me that the ride is closed from 5 to 6 p.m. every day for maintenance.  I didn't feel like staying for that long, so I have an unused ticket as a souvenier. 

On the way out, we saw a hilarious video game called Extreme Bowling or some such, where the "alley" was a city street, and you had to continuously roll a bowling-ball-sized trackball to the pins, around curves, down hills, etc.  Very funny.

That night, we got supper at a cafe at Harrah's, gambled a bit and hit the room.

Next morning, Saturday...road trip time.  First, breakfast at Krispie Kreme and then out to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.  This is a must if you go to Vegas.  The curvy drive is worth it alone, and the dam and lake are breathtaking.  Also, I added Arizona as my 26th state been to (the dam is on the Nevada/Arizona border).

After spending a few hours there, we drove back towards Vegas, but bypassed it, instead taking I-15 down towards California and Primm, where waited Buffalo Bill's Casino and...

DESPERADO
Driving through the desert, you can see Desperado from 8 miles away.  Aside from the mountains, it's the only thing on the horizon. 

After wandering, again, through the casino, we found the ride.  I waited for front seat this time, after buying my $6 ticket.  The sun blinds you as you exit the casino, but the view is great.  The first drop into an underground tunnel is pretty good (225 feet) but didn't really feel as fast as I thought it would.  Nor did the long gradual slope after that, where the ride supposedly hits 80-odd mph.  The best part was next:  Three massive air-hills, with EXTREMELY forceful air.

After the block brakes, the ride dodges around the casino's log flume and into a building, where there's a fast and fun helix.  After that, the ride's pretty much over, but it lopes back to the station.  Overall, it's a very good ride, a little rough, not so much as Manhattan Express, but about even with Magnum. I liked the ride itself much more than Magnum.

We also hit the nearby outlet mall, grabbing lunch in the food court.  Then back to the city, where later we ate at Bellagio and watched the beautiful fountain show (this is a can't-miss).

Next morning...well we didn't really do anything.  Ate at Harrah's massive breakfast/lunch/brunch/dessert buffet (first time I've had champagne at 10 a.m.) and headed out to the airport.  Arrival in Columbus, about 11:30 p.m. 

Overall, we were incredibly impressed with Vegas and all of the coasters (in case you were wondering, we skipped Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus).  The city now is one of my favorite places.

Thanks for reading.

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You can't spell "dishonorable" without "honorable."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2001 6:57 AM
Thanks for the report Den! I went out there in Feb. and was pleasantly surprised by everything I rode. Big Shot was down when I was there but I did get to ride the coaster.

 I didn't see any mention of Canyon Blaster in there. I was blown away by that ride. It is easily the smoothest Arrow creation I have ridden.

Thanks to the $10 all-day wristband for Speed, I ended up riding it 25 times the first day I was there. Great ride!

 

-Sean

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Wednesday, November 14, 2001 7:16 AM
Wow, another fairly positave review of Desperado! I thought I was the only person alive that enjoyes this ride.

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"X" marks the spot in 2001!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2001 12:13 PM
I liked Manhattan express, though it was a bit short, too bad you missed Star Trek the experiance. Not a coaster but hella fun.
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Thursday, November 15, 2001 2:16 PM

Den said:
I'll start off by saying that it's hard to do a TR on a trip to Vegas, because it's not an amusement park, it's a city, and not everything one does there is relevant to coasters.  Despite that, prior to going I would have loved to read an all-encompassing report of someone's trip, so that's what I'm going to do.  If you just want to read about the coasters, look for the capitalized headers.
My wife and I arrived from Columbus about 11 p.m. Nov. 8 to McCarran Int'l, got our rental car and...took a wrong turn out of the airport.  Actually I'm glad we did, because instead of entering the Strip in the middle, we started from far south, and got to see the massive hotels and lights from afar, slowly approaching.  Let me tell you, I greatly underestimated the scale of the buildings in this city.  As Tiny E on SNL used to say, "They're huge!"
So after marvelling at the buildings and lights (and the very prominent Mahattan Express coaster at New York New York, which you can see from anywhere on the South Strip and interstate), we got to our hotel, Harrah's, which was nice enough.  Hungry and not wanting to sleep, we wandered down to Caeser's Palace and got some munchies at a 24-7 restaurant.  By this time it was 1:30 a.m. (that's 4:30 a.m. Ohio time) and we were dead tired, so we walked back and caught some Z's.
Next morning, our alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. (we didn't set it).  We got up anyway and began a trek down the Strip, going south, with NYNY the ultimate goal.  We ate a quick breakfast at McDonalds, hung out at Gameworks arcade for a while, then on to...
MANHATTAN EXPRESS
This Togo looper is located around and on top of the NYNY hotel, which is absolutely massive (with a Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, but no WTC.  Also, the fence around the hotel was lined with T-shirts, letters and photos to WTC victims.  Quite touching). 
We went inside and searched 10 minutes through the slot machines before we found the entrance.  That's one thing about Vegas coasters: they are hard to find. The casinos want you to wander around.
I bought one ticket (my wife didn't ride any coasters) for a whopping $10.50 and boarded, assigned row 2.  The restraints are weird, pull-straight-down shoulder bars and a lap bar.  The shoulder bars are just in the right place to pummel your neck...ouch.
The ride starts with a long tour around the building and a huge lift hill along Tropicana Blvd.  I like how you can see your reflection in the glass building near you.  The ride starts with a pretty big drop, a turn and then an even bigger drop, then a smaller drop into a loop and an inline twist, which was VERY fun and disorienting.  After the block brakes, there are some air hills and a cool helix with significant G-forces.  I had heard the last half of this ride was lame, but I quite enjoyed it. 
The big slow hill back into the casino seemed like a waste though.
Next, we walked all the way down to the Luxor, then back up the other side of the street, stopping at the mall at the Aladdin for a while, as well as just about every casino. We grabbed "lunch" at the Ghirardelli ice cream place at Harrah's.  After that, we hung out in the hot tub for a while.
After we were refreshed, we got into our car and drove up the strip to the Sahara and home of...
SPEED: THE RIDE
This is, without a doubt, the best ride in Vegas, in every way.  One way is placement:  directly on Las Vegas Blvd.  After paying $8 for two consecutive rides (bargain!), I hopped into the second row again (no lines except for front seat).  The train launchs out of the building immediately and directly into a sharp overbanked turn, then down underground, up into a tall vertical loop.  After that, there's another set of LIMs that shoots you at 70mph through the Sahara sign, a quick S-turn with your head brushing rooftops, and up a vertical spire, then backwards.
The hangtime on the loop backwards is exquisite, and the ride is very smooth and intense.  This will make my top 10, most likely.
We started to walk to the Stratosphere, but things got a little skeevy and it was getting dark (at 4:30 p.m. ?!?) so we got the car.  At the tower, I bought a ticket for $15 that included the elevator up, the High Roller Coaster and the Big Shot S&S space shot ride.  After waiting in many lines and being forced to walk through an entire shopping center to the elevator, we made it up.  What a glorious view.  But it was nothing compared to the view from...
BIG SHOT
I never really liked S&S rides, but I had to try this one.  The crew was doing a great job of pumping people up, with music and cheering.  If you've ridden any S&S, you've ridden this ride, but just to add another 150 feet to the already awesome view, with nothing in front of you, is worth it.
I wanted to ride the High Roller (World's Highest Kiddie Coaster!) but, when I bought my ticket at 4:50 p.m., they neglected to tell me that the ride is closed from 5 to 6 p.m. every day for maintenance.  I didn't feel like staying for that long, so I have an unused ticket as a souvenier. 
On the way out, we saw a hilarious video game called Extreme Bowling or some such, where the "alley" was a city street, and you had to continuously roll a bowling-ball-sized trackball to the pins, around curves, down hills, etc.  Very funny.
That night, we got supper at a cafe at Harrah's, gambled a bit and hit the room.
Next morning, Saturday...road trip time.  First, breakfast at Krispie Kreme and then out to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.  This is a must if you go to Vegas.  The curvy drive is worth it alone, and the dam and lake are breathtaking.  Also, I added Arizona as my 26th state been to (the dam is on the Nevada/Arizona border).
After spending a few hours there, we drove back towards Vegas, but bypassed it, instead taking I-15 down towards California and Primm, where waited Buffalo Bill's Casino and...
DESPERADO
Driving through the desert, you can see Desperado from 8 miles away.  Aside from the mountains, it's the only thing on the horizon. 
After wandering, again, through the casino, we found the ride.  I waited for front seat this time, after buying my $6 ticket.  The sun blinds you as you exit the casino, but the view is great.  The first drop into an underground tunnel is pretty good (225 feet) but didn't really feel as fast as I thought it would.  Nor did the long gradual slope after that, where the ride supposedly hits 80-odd mph.  The best part was next:  Three massive air-hills, with EXTREMELY forceful air.
After the block brakes, the ride dodges around the casino's log flume and into a building, where there's a fast and fun helix.  After that, the ride's pretty much over, but it lopes back to the station.  Overall, it's a very good ride, a little rough, not so much as Manhattan Express, but about even with Magnum. I liked the ride itself much more than Magnum.
We also hit the nearby outlet mall, grabbing lunch in the food court.  Then back to the city, where later we ate at Bellagio and watched the beautiful fountain show (this is a can't-miss).
Next morning...well we didn't really do anything.  Ate at Harrah's massive breakfast/lunch/brunch/dessert buffet (first time I've had champagne at 10 a.m.) and headed out to the airport.  Arrival in Columbus, about 11:30 p.m. 
Overall, we were incredibly impressed with Vegas and all of the coasters (in case you were wondering, we skipped Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus).  The city now is one of my favorite places.
Thanks for reading.
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You can't spell "dishonorable" without "honorable."

Great Tr. I agree SPeed is the best.

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YA DID!!!

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