We actually arrived in Las Vegas the night before but the 28th was our first full day. We left our room at Bally's and headed north on the strip and made it to the Sahara in no time. I was immediately taken with the way Speed poked out of the sidewalk in front of the Nascar Cafe. Great visuals. We went inside and found the entrance to the ride. $8 for a single ride. $11 for unlimited rides. Standard Vegas pricing. We walked right on (another Vegas standard) and were being launched in no time. Speed is a great ride. What more can I say? I have to admit to being a bit jaded by the launch thing (seems like I've been on so many launched coasters) but it was still a decent rush. The second set of LIMs was a nice touch as it was weird to feel the extra boost halfway through the ride. The big banked turn in front of the Sahara was pretty nifty too. All in all I approved, but wasn't blown away by the ride. Certainly worth it, but not totally outstanding in any sense.
Next stop was the Stratosphere. $17 for a ticket to the top and a ride on High Roller and Big Shot. (we're already $56 into this for the two of us). The views from the observation areas atop the Stratosphere tower are amazing. Good fun just looking around for a bit. We hopped on the second elevator where we were told to do High Roller first and save the best (Big Shot) for last. We obliged and hopped right onto High Roller. For a relatively slow coaster that just does circles around and around, this even had me a bit intimidated. At that height almost any ride would have a "wow" factor. I really liked the ride and the psyche-out factor of being over 1000 feet in the air only helped make it more fun. Put this coaster on the ground and it's a joke - keep it on top of the tower and it's one of the most unique coaster rides you'll ever take. Big Shot was next. We had the pleasure of riding with two little blondes (maybe it wasn't so much of a pleasure for my wife ;) ) who were quite simply terrified to be sitting there. Standard S&S fare with a great pop of air at the top. The view was incredible, but somehow I wasn't quite as intimidated as I was on High Roller. I even caught some attention from onlookers for doing the "arms and legs out" thing for maximum air. Worth every last penny of the $17.
Next stop was the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. After navigating the maze of casino, hotel and shops we finally found the park. We nosed around a bit and decided there wasn't much we were interested in other than the big pink Canyon Blaster. Only $5 a pop (that a total of $66 for those keeping count) so we just went with a single ride. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I expected a rougher "arrow" ride and it wasn't bad at all. Nice back to back loops followed by a really cool airtime hill driectly into a turn creating a section of ride I really dug. Followed by 2 corkscrews and a couple of oversized helices that dove in and out of the big mountain. It was much better than I expected going in. For those that are interested a ride all day pass is $19.95 (you can find coupons making it as low as $13.95). We had other plans for Vegas so blowing a bunch of time at the Adventuredome wasn't an option.
Being as NYNY and the Manhattan Express were on the opposite end of the strip we saved it for the next day - and a night ride even! (notice I'm leaving out all the dirty "non coaster" details - the old cliche of what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas remains true here :) ) We didn't make it to NYNY until around 10pm on the 29th. With what I had heard about this coaster and only 1 hour of operating time left, we went with the $12 single ride ($80 total for 2 to ride the 4 major coasters on the Strip). Another walk-on / immediate dispatch. The bottom line on Manhattan Express - I loved it, my wife hated it. She claims she got banged up pretty good, I pushed into the shoulder restraints and left virtually untouched. I liked the ride a lot. Nice height, some decent speed, a few rough spots and the badass "twist and dive" thingy. Probably my favorite coaster on the strip.
The 30th was a coasterless day as "real life" took control. We headed out for SoCal around 10pm. We made it to Primm a tad too late to ride Desperado, but we stopped to gawk a bit before continuing on and I scored some of the nastiest jerky ever made. Nowhere did it state exactly what kind of jerky it was and in hindsight we were conviced it was roadkill. Needless to say I ate it all. We made it to our hotel near Knott's around 2:30 am having spent most of the ride debating on whether or not a tumbleweed is just a weed before it tumbles.
This is getting long enough. I'll do the Knott's, Pacific Park and SFMM stops as seperate TR's... eventually :)
Other than that, great TR. I do reccommend a Big Shot ride at night, and check out the view down the strip. Simply amazing!
CBClub member #30 and #364 (renewal)
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