Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas
A fellow Peachheader works with the Lion King Show in Las Vegas and she made arrangements for me to go out to Las Vegas to see the Lion King at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino . We were going to fly but the airfare never came down in price so we decided to drive instead. I was amazed at what an easy drive it was. We made it in 4 hours. Once at the hotel we immediately went to the buffet for lunch since we were starving. They have a new deal where you can pay just for lunch or you can pay a bit more and eat all day (3 meals) for one flat fee. After lunch we headed to the pool, or should I say pools. There are 4 pools, a lazy river, and a wave pool. The kids had a blast in the lazy river and the wave pool. We didn’t get to the pool until 12:30 so chairs in the main pool area were scarce but we got one of the pool attendants to help us locate chairs so we were all set. The pool is a great family/party scene with music playing. The servers will bring you drinks but if you want food there is a grill/café that you have to order from yourself. When we went at 2:30 it was not crowded at all so very easy. We discovered the South Lagoon pool later in the day which we really liked, very quiet and peaceful and not as crowded as the main pool areas.
After spending all day at the pool, it was time to check into the room. They gave me the most incredible room, a 2 bedroom suite. This is a great room for your family (or even 2 families) or a girls' getaway. The really large room has 2 queen beds, huge tv, large bathroom with oversized shower and a tv in the bathroom (my kids always love this). There is a large living room and dining area and then a smaller bedroom with a king bed. My kids scored with the bigger bedroom. The room has 5 tv’s total. The girls especially loved the electric drapes (they want to know why we don’t have those in our home)…. The room number is 15235 in case you are interested in getting this same type of room.
Our first night we went to see the new Elvis Cirque du Soleil show at the Aria Hotel (watch the video to get an idea of the excitement of the show). I met a few of the performers from the Elvis show at a hotel I was at a couple of months ago and they were telling me about the show. Luckily I know someone at Cirque who invited me to the show. The lower orchestra seats are very comfortable…roomy couches with lots of leg space. The show is full of energy and excitement. At one point Amber commented about how she didn’t know where to look because there was so much going on. What I really loved about this show was the storyline about Elvis. I learned so much about him that I never knew. They even showed actual footage of him. I was not a big Elvis fan before the show but I became one after it. The show has everything from gymnastics, trampoline acts, acrobats, to roller skating, stunts, and lots of singing and dancing. There was one dance in particular that captivated me called The Suspicious Minds. It was so beautiful and powerful. It looked like something I would see on So You Think You Can Dance (which is one of my favorite shows) so imagine my surprise when I discovered that Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo are choreographers for the show. The props that were used for the different acts were incredible. The blue suede shoe used in one piece is 29 feet long and weighs 1500 pounds; the performers were twirling and sliding down that Blue Suede Shoe. The piece where they had the super large wedding cake was a replica of their actual wedding cake, and the piece where the acrobats were twirling around and inside the 2 large wedding rings were replicas of their actual rings. There was even a giant guitar hanging down from the top that 2 acrobats found ways of flying and twirling amongst the guitar. My girls loved the show also but the real test was when my husband (who is a deadhead and would usually never attend one of these shows) stayed for the entire show, said how much he enjoyed it, and then mentioned that he would like to go and see the Beatles Love Cirque show. So 2 very big thumbs up from the entire family. The show is an amazing tribute to Elvis. I was sorry to see it end after 90 minutes.
After the show we stopped at the New York Hotel because Amber really wanted to go on the roller coaster http://bit.ly/1Xaoe . Jasmine is not tall enough to go on it so guess who got to go with her??? Me. That was an intense ride. There were loops we went on that I didn’t even know it had. It is a very rocky roller coaster, not at all smooth like California Screamin', so I wouldn’t go on it again, but we were glad we tried it once. We also stopped at M&M World . It is amazing to see so many different colored M&M’s that you would normally never see.
The next morning I got up early and went to the 3000 square foot fitness room at Mandalay Bay (this is included in your $15.00 resort fee). It is a large room with state of the art equipment and tvs on each of the cardio machines, and you can even watch your ipod on it. There is a good selection of work out equipment as well, including machines and free weights. After my work out I was ready to enjoy my spa morning at the Spa Mandalay. The 30,000 foot spa is beautiful and tranquil . They have a hot Jacuzzi, a warm Jacuzzi, and a cold plunge as well as the steam room and sauna. The Jacuzzi area is very relaxing with waterfalls and comfy lounge chairs. My massage was very relaxing (the table was heated) and when they were finished massaging my back, they put a warm pillow on it as well…love the heat.
Mandalay Bay has a Shark Reef that we visited. There are over 2000 animals on display. My girls loved watching the sharks but I always love watching the jellyfish. The employees give you a hand held device for free that explains every exhibit so you can learn a lot at your own pace. They take a picture of you when you walk in. I usually don’t buy the pictures but my girls loved it so much I had to get it. It looked like a shark was attacking us.
After hanging out at the wave pool and lazy river again it was time to get ready for the Lion King show . They had a 4:00 and an 8:00 show. We opted for the 4:00 so that the kids would not be tired and then we could eat dinner after the show. I have seen the show before; however, I enjoyed it so much more at the Mandalay Bay. The show has been shortened and is more concise and has a larger stage than in Los Angeles. The costumes were incredible, the set designs creative, and the performances amazing. The movement of the actors made them look animalistic. The audience loved when the actors came down the aisles in costumes. My kids thought they were too old to see the Lion King but after seeing it they fell in love with it all over again. This is a show for all ages. Check out the video in the link above to get a small idea of how elaborate the costumes are.
If you are interested in staying at Mandalay Bay and planning on seeing the Lion King, they have some great package specials.
After checking out of the Mandalay Bay Resort, we headed downtown to the Golden Nugget . I hadn’t stayed here in years and thought it would be a nice change of pace. They have done extensive renovations. The nicest tower is the Rush Tower; however, they do not have any connecting rooms in that tower so we stayed in the second nicest, which is the Gold Tower (our room had one of the box air conditioners which made noise--I was told that all of the rooms have this kind of air conditioner). I prefer the real air conditioners that are temperature controlled, much quieter, and you don’t feel the air blowing right on you. We got to the hotel around 12:00 and the line to check in was huge and only a couple of people working the check-in line. After a while my husband went to look for food for the kids and found a separate check-in line for the Rush Tower. They let us check in there (don’t know if they normally do but I was happy they took care of us). I did learn that you can buy a VIP card for 25.00 per room (but you must buy it in advance) and then you can check in at the VIP lounge. We got out to the pool and it was completely packed. I did get lucky and find some chairs just as some people were leaving. The pool was very crowded but the coolest thing about the pool is a huge slide that you go down and while you go down the glass tube, there are fish and sharks swimming next to you (similar to the Atlantis Resort). After hanging at the pool we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. We were burnt out on buffets so we were driving to Ruths Chris Steakhouse but on the way we saw Benihanas at the Hilton Hotel so we went there instead. This Benihanas had to be the most beautiful Benihanas I had ever seen, but hey, this is Vegas…right?? After dinner we took the kids to Circus Circus because they wanted to go to the Adventuredome. We stopped in Circus Circus first because I used to stay there when I was a kid and I wanted to see what it looked like. Man, my girls were in heaven….what was great about it was that most of the “carnival” games in the midway were only $1.00 and they won a bunch of stuffed animals (the games were pretty easy to win). They were ecstatic and I also enjoyed watching the trapeze show and aerobatic artists. We then headed to the Adventuredome ….who knew you could have such a cool amusement park indoors? You can pay per ride or buy an unlimited ride pass for $25.00 which I did. The girls went on rides I would never dare to try. They were flipped in the air, upside down, shot in the air and then dropped at incredible speeds, roller coasters with double loops, bumper cars and more…they were in heaven.
We got back to the Golden Nugget just in time for the Fremont Street light show. There is a long tunnel where there is a light and music show. Fremont Street was a fun scene to hang out on. There were shows up and down the street, 2 stages set up with live 70’s music. They also have tribute bands perform throughout the summer. There are a number of bars as well with live music. It was great to walk from one place to another and not get exhausted walking such a great distance like you do on the strip and they have $5.00 blackjack tables.
Some other things we did while in Las Vegas were shopping at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, and visiting the Bellagio to see the water show and the Conservatory (the flowers are amazing). There are so many things to do in Las Vegas and I think we explored quite a number of them. Can’t wait to go back (with or without kids).
Disclaimer: Mandalay Bay and The Lion King covered my expenses for hotel, show, spa, and Shark Reef while I was there. Cirque du Soleil provided me tickets to the Elvis Show.