Las Vegas 2021
Day 1: Sunday, December 19
Well, we had a late flight out of Ohio so we were in no hurry to rush around in the morning. It gave me plenty of time to pack those non-needed items I would never use on the trip. Hey, a girls gotta be prepared right? Over packing at it's best. This also meant we could sleep in...HA! I don't even know what that is anymore and ... wait for it...I'm an early riser these days. Oh how I remember how I used to be such a night owl and go to bed around 2am or later and sleep in. I guess this is a sign I'm getting older. Early to bed and early to rise. I'm waiting to start adding in those naps now.
I'm use to traveling out of the country and taking every test you possibly can just to get there. Times have changed due to COVID and every place you go they want a negative test. This is the new norm if you are traveling these days and I don't see it changing anytime soon.
I was kind of shocked that traveling within the US, they didn't require us to have any negative COVID test, either there or back. I'm not use to this! So my brain remains intact this time around.
Our flight time was 4:35pm and we said goodbye to our wolf pack and headed to the airport for our new adventure.
They are never happy when we leave but their stand-in momma was on her way soon with kids to play with, so they would get over it quickly I'm sure. At this point, I think our oldest boy, Loki, is the only one that understands what it means when we pull out the luggage. He's had to deal with that enough in his life and you can see the worried look on his face every time.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and did the usual photo of us heading from the parking lot to the airport on the shuttle.
The airport was not crowded at all and no lines, but a few people were at the counter being helped. They do have an A-lister line, but we didn't need it this time around and walked right up to the counter. I'm so glad that we fly with Southwest because there never seems to be much of a line (or it goes quickly) but man-o-man the other airlines were wrapped around the building inside!
We headed to the gate and waited less than an hour and we were on the plane and ready for take off.
Notice Sakari's new striped hair now and the Harry Potter glasses. It's the only thing that I have allowed her to do so far. She's begging for a new hairstyle and I absolutely hate that she's turning into her "own" person with her own styles. By the next vacation, I have a feeling you won't even notice her. She wants to cut all of her hair off! I refused to let her do that yet...not until picture day at school. I feel bad for making her wait. She has expressed she hates her hair and wants it gone and she thinks it makes her look "ugly". My heart hurts at the things she wants to do but I definitely don't want her to be unhappy in anyway and as she says "Mom, it's just hair" and she's right...just please be unhappy for another month and give me time to adjust to what I've always known and loved. #tear #growingupishard #thismommawantstohangontoherlittlegirl #imdyinginside #ihavetolearntoletgo
This was supposed to be a 4 hour 30 min ride to Vegas and we were prepared. I managed to pass the time by doing a word search book I found in the basement and have no idea where it came from but it came in handy and it will now sit in my luggage for every trip.
Now there is a 3 hour difference from Ohio to Vegas so even though we left at 4:35pm and arriving around 6:10pm in Vegas, it was actually after 9pm back home.
Since it was already dark in Vegas, we did get to watch the "airplane sunset" and it was beautiful up there.
Then we started seeing these really tall things...they were unfamiliar to us. Ohio is pretty much flat until you get in southern Ohio but man these were huge. They reminded me of some of Sakari's coral photo's she has taken in the past with the little points. lol Maybe I am longing for the beach a little...
We got super excited when we started to see a bunch of lights....was it Vegas? We had to be close!
Yep, there is was!! We have arrived in Las Vegas!!! Woo Hoo. We were super excited now!
We were searching all over for our hotel. As we were landing, we managed to spot it and the bright light that emerges from the top of the pyramid.
A little history about the Luxor:
Groundbreaking took place in April 1992 and it was named after the Egyptian city Luxor. A company here in Ohio provided the metal and glass exterior. MGM owns the property. The pyramid cost $375 million to build back then. When it opened, it was the tallest structure on the strip and has the largest atrium in the world. Renovations took place in 1996 and cost $240 million. Again in 1998 they expanded to include two additional towers and a theater for $675 million. In 2007 another $300 million went into remodeling the public area and they removed a lot of the ancient Egyptian theme and artifacts.
Did you know that it used to contain a river ride "Nile River Tour" that took guest to different parts of the pyramid as it passed ancient artwork on the river? It was removed after 3 years.
THE LUXOR SKY BEAM: The Luxor Sky Beam is the strongest beam of light in the world! They use curved mirrors to collect the light from 39 xenon lamps and focus them into one intense, narrow beam. It is visable up to 275 miles away by aircraft on a clear night! It is serviced by 2 staff workers during the day and the room's temperature is 300°F when the lights are on!
The Luxor connects to Mandalay Bay and the Excalibur and has a tram that goes to each you can ride for free.
The Luxor has been in several movies, on television shows and most of all...Will Smiths "Gettin Jiggy Wit It"...everyone was jiggy back then right? They sure were at the Luxor (and Mirage and New York New York).
For anyone that hasn't been to Vegas and you land at the airpot...get ready to have your mind blown. You CAN play slots IN the airport! Yes, all you slot fiens, you can get your gamble on before you even hit the Vegas strips.
Now I really enjoyed this people mover! I was going to save my legs as much as possible and any time I found one, I was on it...not power walking on it like everyone else that came up to me and gave me an "excuse me".
No worries Sakari, we won't tell anyone...
Ok, so remember how I researched how to get to the hotel cheaply right? I had directions in my bag but after getting our luggage and walking out, I couldn't figure out where to go. I stopped and asked at a desk and the lady's reply was "I've lived here for years and there's no such thing as a $2 bus but I'll be happy to get you a taxi for $15 PER PERSON!" Um yea, I just bet you would! Nope, I'm going to find my $2 bus= $6 ride thank you very much!
So we went back in and headed down to the bottom level (Level 0) and I pulled out my directions (finally) and it said to cross over and head to the bus stop. Across we went.
Once crossing this path, we headed to the right and found the RTC bus stop and I smiled from ear to ear because I just saved us all kinds of money by reading up on this! Go me....I think...
The bus comes and you must have exact change. We paid our $2 each and we were on our way. Along the way we asked the bus driver about what stop to get off at to get to the Luxor. "Oh, you will get off at _____ stop and have to transfer to the _____ bus route to get there" Oh just great. Sigh.
Ok, it was our time to get off and we piled out of the bus with our luggage he gave us directions to walk down the street and across to the bus stop heading the other way. Ok, we got this. As we pulled our luggage with us we noticed that it looked like a somewhat "shady" area and we kept our eyes peeled as I grasped my bright orange can't-miss-it purse that I carry all of our things we don't let out of our site (passports, money and medications). I wouldn't say I feared for my life, but I wasn't feeling too comfortable walking in an unknown area, in the dark, no street lights, and people that looked homeless laying at various places.
We made it across to the other bus stop and it finally came. See, I reassured my family, that wasn't so bad. We asked about going to the Luxor and was told, once again, we would need to transfer to another route on down the road. Sigh...so much for saving money but we were still ahead. This time the bus driver said "ah, just give me a dollar each"...so there goes another $3 and our total was now $9 if you're keeping track. I know I was.
Down to the next bus stop we went and it was the Deuce Bus (which I knew would be the bus that we would be riding around on this entire trip). On the bus it clearly states you have to pay $6 to ride and it would be good for 24 hours. I figured another $18 dollars added to our trip and the trip would now total $27, which was still cheaper than the $45 to catch a ride straight from the airport. You know, the ride that would have taken just a few mintues? Ok, this may be taking us a heck of a lot time and energy (remember I was the one insisting on riding the people mover in the airport to save my leg) but hey it's cheaper right? I had to keep reminding myself and I also let it be known that when I read up on this, no where did they mention transferring on all of these buses! I was desperately trying to put the blame on others to my family. I also reminded them..."Hey we're in Vegas! We are not in any hurry. Our vacation is just starting!" The hubby kept assuring me that it was "fine".
When we got on the Deuce and told the driver where we were going, he asks if it was just going to be a one-way trip. After telling him "yes" he said, just pay $2 each and I'll take you. Woo Hoo! Ok, so now our total would actually be $15 for the entire long drawn out, grueling, leg workout, pulling luggage behind us trip! I promptly reminded the family how I managed to save us $30! Go me!
So, all in all, if I have to do it again...I will pay the $45 and get a ride straight there and save time and my legs. Or, grab an Uber for about the same price as the total bus ride.
We arrived and were amazed at the size of the Luxor. Like WOW! The Pyramid! The Sphinx! It was huge!
As got into the line to check in, we looked down and seen something. At first I thought it was a mask, but after kicking it away, nope it wasn't a lost mask at all. Hopefully there's no open stairs in this place is all I can say.
Check in was quick and super easy. The attendant was nice, not overly nice, but appropriate. (I had read complaints of rude staff).
We obtained our keys, which would operate the elevators and the room doors. We would be in room 11121 on the 11th floor.
We were ready for our ride...in the pyramid elevators...oh the experience was to be had and we talked about it prior to getting here and couldn't wait to experience it!
So you may wonder...how does an elevator go up the side of a pyramid? Well, I'll tell you! The elevators are called inclinators. Otis designed Luxor's inclinators and it was the first of its kind in terms of speed and people movement. Inclinators have been around for quite some time, but they used a cable railway system and moved slowly. Most systems incline around 10 degrees from vertical and 20 degrees require more considerations to make. The Luxor travel at a 39 degree angle up four side of the pyramid. It uses a microwave-transmission control system.
Now all the elevators do not go to all the floors. The problem is as they near the top, there isn't enough space for all of them. Therefore, there are 2 elevators in each section and depending on what floor you are on, that is the elevator you take. There are 30 floors to the Luxor. We won't even begin to talk about all the "hauntings" there and it is known to be the most haunted hotel in Vegas. Yes, the hubby had a few "weird" things happen to him while we were there.
So into the elevator we went. Now if you don't want to spend any money on alcohol and want that "buzz" feeling, just ride these elevators a few times. It's a free buzz with each ride. :D There's no glass, so you can't see yourself going sideway (which I think would be a lot cooler). They do have special effects though. It's a bumpy ride and the doors to the elevator move back and forth. It reminded me of closet doors that are attached by a track at the top and the doors are hung on them but there's no track at the bottom. They can sway back and forth and you push them sideways. Yep, that was the Luxor elevators!
To my surprise, when we got off the elevators, our door was the first as you come out of the elevator hall. Score! There would be no walking down the long open-to-the-atrium hallway to get to our room. I'm standing at our room door and looking at the elevators.
This is the hallway leading to the other rooms.
So like I said before, I upgraded to a better room. The best that you could get (without getting a suite I believe) and we couldn't wait to see what it looked like (since everyone has complained of how the rooms are dirty and old and so on).
Well, to my surprise, it was actually nice. Everything was super clean and well stocked. I was pleasantly happy with my choice of both the Luxor and the room. I'll give you a little tour.
There was plenty of space in the dresser to put all of our things. There were 3 sections and both top and bottom. We each had 2 drawers each and plenty of room.
Over by the slanted window was a tub. We weren't planning on using that of course...unless we brought bathing suits...which we didn't.
On the other side of the room was the living room. We liked having the extra space. I particularly liked it in the mornings because I had a place to go to, while the family was still sleeping, to watch the sunrise, work on my plans for the day at the large desk and then we also used the table to eat breakfast at when we didn't go out. It also had a tv in there and we would watch it in between going out (even though there was also one in the bedroom). The tv sat on another huge dresser with plenty of more drawers. I guess we probably would have only used that had it been summer and to put our bathing suits in it.
On thing I did find funny, and didn't discover until the second to last day, is that there were 2 very large decorative bowls under the glass on the table...they were glued down! LOL
Now there was a huge open armoire type of contraption as you go from the bedroom to the bathroom, and I swear I took a picture of it, but can't find it now. It held an iron and ironing board in it and a place to hang your clothes up if you wanted. Below was a safe to use.
On to the bathroom. Now the bathroom was HUGE! There was so much space that I'm surprised they didn't have something else in there as far as maybe another cabinet to store your bathroom supplies in or towels or even a huge decoration like...a mummy or something. :D The one thing I discovered by day 2 was that I completely forgot to bring our oversized Glad bag that holds all of our dirty clothes. That meant this huge bathroom corner with no decor in it would be our new "dirty clothes space".
Does anyone notice anything about the picture above? Well, I was fully prepared for this. I had seen it on other youtube video's of people complaining/making fun of it, but yet I also seen a room that had this situation corrected as well.
Yea, you have to have some Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat arms holding a thingamagig to reach it. Who thought this out? Better yet, who tested this theory?
The only other thing was these nice little cards they leave you on the sink about the towels. Just like on the ships. If you are done using them, throw them on the floor. Otherwise...hang them up???? There was no place to hang them. Absolutely nothing at all.
Now another thing I liked about the location of our room was the walking distance involved in getting to the pop machine! Everyone knows I'm a Diet Pepsi addict and I haven't decided it's time to go to a PA (popaholic) meeting quite yet. I'm just not ready to give it up. So, this location would be an enabler for me during this trip. I could get my fix on fast and easy. Pop out of this machine would cost $3 with each slide of the credit card.
Distance from the vending to our door for a visual.
After checking out our room, we were ready to go find some food for dinner. We were starved and hadn't ate since early that morning and even though it was 9pm here, it was actually midnight back home.
We headed down to the food court. Sakari decided she wanted chicken from one place and we decided a nice juicy burger from Johnny Rockets sounded scrumptious. We ordered our food first, then went over to order Sakari's and they said they were closing. Crap. So, Sakari decided all she wanted to eat was some fries. Poor thing. Our 2 meals would cost us $41.10 and Sakari's fries were $5.40.
With our bellies now full, it was time to explore just a little. We headed toward the walkway (which we would later find out that it led us to the mall going over to Mandalay Bay. Sakari found some light up trees and screamed when she seen them. She has one of these in her room, but not just this big.
Sakari's new obsession is with Geo rocks, stones and Feng Shui type of things and she found a store that she couldn't get enough of (we visited several times just for her to admire the things in it). She has totally decided she is going to make her own and I have no doubt that will happen.
She was really fascinated by these Tree of Life trees. They were so pretty and attached to a geo stone with different types of gems attached to the branches. But...the price was outrageous! We are talking $200-300 for a miniature one and they had some that were in the thousands!
Literally dragging Sakari out of the store and moving on...and having a little bit of fun along the way.
Sakari says "mom, there's a butt hanging out of the wall"
Just you wait...just you wait. We are in Vegas. That's not all you're going to see child!
Sakari has developed this fetish of tree hugging. We have went several places to see the Christmas lights and she started hugging all the Christmas trees she came across. This trip would be no different.
As we made it toward the end, we decided to head outside. This would be along Mandalay Bay and their pool area. At some point, I had wished that we had turned around and went back the way we came. It was COLD outside. I'm guessing in the 30's (by what my weather map had told me prior to leaving Ohio). But hey, we'd be missing all the pretty lights right? The things I get my family into.
We finally made it back to the Luxor and couldn't wait to get inside with some heat.
Now in Vegas, they have stores you can buy your weed at. They are along the strip malls and various places. But just know...you cannot openly smoke your goodies in public and there's plenty of signs to let you know that! I can tell you that this entire trip you could smell it everywhere you went so obviously people are finding ways to get their fix on. The main places I smelled it was on the buses and in any entrance way to a hotel <---I know weird right?
After getting back to our room, we were tired and decided to head to bed. Although it was only 11pm in Vegas and people are just getting started around here, it was 2am at home and we were still programmed to that time at this point. It was a long day. ZzzZzzzZz....