First time in Vegas - Me and the wife, celebrating our 10th anniversary, both Vegas virgins, and her parents, who have been to LV many times.
We booked a package tour, (no internet deals in 1994!), through MLT vacations flying out of DFW on Funjet or Sunjet Airlines. I don't remember which, but we had a great time. After we were airborne, they had a raffle. Everybody who wanted to participate wrote his or her name on a dollar bill which was tossed into a big clear plastic trash bag. After everyone was accounted for, the flight attendant drew one bill, read the name on it, and that person won the money. After that, the flight attendants came around selling show tickets. We knew that we wanted to see Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace, so we bought two tickets to that, and they included tickets to two other shows. I knew they would probably be pretty cheesy, but in Vegas, it's great cheese! More on the shows later.
At touchdown in LV, everybody on the plane applauded, and the flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, that was blindfolded!" Lots of fun then, but I don't even know if you could make jokes like that now.
We took a cab to the Rio, which was substantially less expensive than it is now, and I don't remember if we took the tunnel or not. I don't even know if the tunnel existed then. There was no NYNY, no Venetian, no Bellagio, no Paris, no Mandalay Bay, no Palms. The Rio had one tower, and was already expanding. The Luxor was brand new, and the Sands was still standing, elderly but proud.
We settled into our rooms, and hit the casino. I usually consider myself a rather sophisticated man-about-town, but for the first time in a long time, I felt like a hick from cowtown. I was overwhelmed by the lights and sounds of the various casinos. We took the shuttle to the strip occasionally, and wandered around, trying our luck at the slots. Didn't win anything, of course. One of our shows was at the MGM, the other was at the Sands. We walked beneath the Lion to get into the MGM, and were immediately faced with bigger-than-life statues of Dorothy, Toto, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man, cavorting down the Yellow Brick Road. They were surrounded by slot machines. I remember thinking, "what's wrong with this picture?" I guess this was in the heyday of Vegas' experiment with the family-friendly business model. Thank goodness that's finally going by the wayside.
I'm not really sure where the two cheesy shows were, but MGM and Sands stick out in my mind. The thing I do remember from both is a magician, who went by the name Valentino. Of course, I could never forget the name, but this guy was great! He did the usual magic tricks, and a little comedy, but when I about had figured out where the doves appeared from, two ducks showed up. I mean 20 pound white ducks waddling and quacking around the stage. The first show was in the afternoon, and we went to the second show that evening, and the same magician was there. He evidently had been saving something for prime time, because he did about 15 minutes more than he did that afternoon.
Also at the second show, I was picked for an audience participation sketch. It involved me and two other unfortunates plucked from oblivion singing backup for a musical number by a country music group. Since I am a singer anyway, I figured I would just wing it, but as my wife told me later, they were using some kind of funny sound effects for us. We were roundly humiliated, given a round of applause for being "such good sports", and returned to oblivion. My wife confessed later that she had pointed me out behind my back so they would take me. I am not a good sport. I told her that if she ever did that again, our next conversation would be through lawyers. So far, so good.
Legends in concert was great! It was everything it had been made out to be, and more. The only disappointment, oddly enough, was Elvis, who was not really in the same league with Dolly, Garth Brooks, and the rest. I was amazed that Liberace really played the piano like Liberace. This was a truly great show, and worth every dime.
After ten years, the four days is a little hazy. I remember how huge the Rio buffet was, and I remember walking back to the Gold Coast every morning for the breakfast buffet, because they had corned beef hash on it. I also remember winning a little at BlackJack in the GC, because they train their new dealers in the morning, and every now and then one makes a mistake and has to pay everyone. That was the sum total of my gambling winnings for the trip.
I did make a few sports bets. The deal was, if you bet $10.00 on sports they would give you a "free" t-shirt. I still have the one from the Rio. The others disintegrated with age.
The classic car exhibit at the IP was excellent. I am a car nut, so if you don't like cars, just skip ahead. I looked on their website recently, and none of the cars I saw was listed. It looks like they have liquidated a lot of the collection. If so, that's a shame. They had a Cobra Daytona Coupe, a Maserati Birdcage, other race cars, street cars of all types and years, and a room with 32 Dusenbergs. That's right, I counted them. 32! I was in hog heaven. In fact, thinking back, I think that was the highlight of the trip for me.
We also took a bus trip to Laughlin which was included in the tour package. We had fun finding even more ways to lose money, and made out like a couple of teenagers on the way back to LV in the back of the bus. That was fun!
The room at the Rio was advertised as a suite, but was a very large room, not two rooms, with a small refrigerator and a settee in addition to the regular furniture. Also, I still remember how comfortable the bed was! We had a nice view south to the Luxor. It was certainly worth the money we spent, which was $524.00 for both of us. That's for 4 days and 3 nights, including airfare. Great bargain!
The morning we left, I had not finished the twelve-pack I had bought the night before, so I finished off the seven Coronas before we left for the airport. "Beer - not just for breakfast anymore!" Hey, it's Vegas, baby!
While waiting for the taxi to the airport, the wife hit a jackpot on a nickel machine. That was the high point of the trip for her.
The flight home was a lot quieter than the flight out. Everybody was sad to be leaving, and probably broke.
I saw just enough to make me want to come back, and finally did last year, but that's a story for another day.