Vegas 1/7, just Big Shot

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Monday, January 20, 2003 10:42 AM

Made a short trip to Vegas earlier this month. I wanted to ride some of the coasters, but alas it did not come to pass. anyway on our second day, my group of four hit up the Stratosphere Tower, to ride Big Shot.

Paid our 13 bucks for 'admission' (guess we have to pay for the PRIVELEGE of riding an elevator) and one ride on BS. Getting to the tower, once you've paid for admission, is a pretty big hassle. You have to (get used to this in Las Vegas) walk through their depressing little mall to go through their 'security' checkpoint. The clowns who were working the metal detector were basically bored teenage kids (like everyone else who works at ST). I can't say I don't sympathize with their situation--it must suck to be on detector duty all day. But at least have fun with it. ("Sir, we must perform a full cavity search on you. GLOVES!")

The designers of the Stratosphere were kind enough to design what would normally be a breathtaking ride to the top with a windowless elevator. I understand people get scared of heights, but just tell 'em to close their eyes for the short 30-40 second trip.

You exit on the observation tower level of the tower. It's a nice view. to get to the loading level of Big Shot, you take another elevator (they loves them some elevatas in Las Vegas) up a floor or two and exit. A nice attendent took our tickets and we stepped outside onto a rather narrow walkway and a glorious chain link fence to impede any nice view. There wasn't much of a crowd the day we went, so we walked past the tiny queue area, up a flight of stairs, and got on board pretty much right away.

It was quite windy and chilly at the top--almost felt like you could be blown off if the wind blew hard enough. We all hopped into 4 seats on one side, and pulled our restraints down. Only I could buckle myself in (this would be the great downfall of S&S OTSRs--they are hard to buckle if you're in them!) I was the only one in our group who had been on another S&S (Dr. Doom) tower set. They had no idea what they were in for. I knew what to expect as far the ride went, but I was anxious to see the ground over 1,000 feet below me quickly getting even further away.

Our attendent hit the cycle enable button and we began to float. This is the part that concerned me. After we began floating, he checked our restraints. It's a little late for that, buddy. If he had his hand around a seatbelt when it launched, we would have taken him (or his appendage) with us for the ride.

Ride Start

What can I say about this ride? There really is nothing like it in the world. I love the abrupt stop at the top. There's nothing like being launched up into the wild blue yonder, and then being jerked out of your seat because the seating ring stops and you don't. Plus, the S&S restraints leave a lot of 'play' for riders (at least for us). Then we bounce up and down a few times. The people below us on the observation deck watched us (you are the center of attention at the top).

After deboarding, two older women stopped and asked how crazy we were for riding it. At $3 for a reride, we quickly took advantage of that and offered to buy the two ladies a ride, and they politely declined. We had just as much (if not more) fun the second time around. I was the only one in the group who did both launches 'hands free.' The others attempted to hold their hands out but the milisecond the seating ring began to accelerate, their hands when straight over the restraints. (Wusses.)

The Stratosphere is a dump as far as casinos, malls, and hotels in Vegas go, but riding the Big Shot simply cannot be missed.

Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

*** This post was edited by General Public on 1/20/2003. ***

Monday, January 20, 2003 10:57 AM
Interesting TR. When we were there, Big Shot and High Roller weren't working because it was too windy that day! So that was pretty frustrating. But we rode the coaster sim they had in their arcade at the bottom, they had like a couple to pick from so we picked Mantis. Stratosphere is kinda depressing.. I know what you mean by the puny little mall. Stratosphere is sort at the end of the strip so its kinda in the ghetto of Las Vegas (Even though the whole place is one big ghetto). Another good ride there is Speed:TR, that's amazing! You get to do it twice. Manhattan Express is okay. It's different from other coaster experiences, but not really thrilling. So, I think you really "lucked out" with being able to ride BS. (appologies for the pun)
Monday, January 20, 2003 11:04 AM

LOL. I wanted to ride Speed, but didn't get a chance to. I heard from others that Manhattan Express is sort of a rip off, so we skipped it although we stayed next door to NYNY (Monte Carlo).

No doubt I would never think of staying at the Stratosphere when I visit again. Depressing.... good adjective.

Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Thursday, January 23, 2003 6:30 PM
Depressing, well, that may be stretching it a bit. True, Stratosphere has struggled in recent years in finding a theme - very important if you want to be competitive in the Vegas market. I agree though that the trip to the tower elevators was unnecessarily long.

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