Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegas Baby!

Have you ever talked about doing something but never actually done it? Vegas is one of those trips that Katie and I talked about for a long time but neither of us could believe we actually DID IT! Even when we were there we still couldn't quite believe it. We both LOVE doing random stuff and have done several random things over the seven years we've been friends, but Vegas definitely tops it all!

When we booked our flights we decided to fly out of Valdosta. It's $100 more per ticket than flying out of Atlanta but not having the three hour drive to the Atlanta airport, or pricey parking fees, or the hassle of navigating through Hartsfield made it worth every penny. It was actually Katie's first time ever flying. Isn't that crazy?!?! It's funny because everyone always assumes she's afraid to fly...she wasn't afraid one bit (actually she was more comfortable than I was!) she just hadn't ever had the opportunity to fly anywhere. After this trip she's a legit air traveler for sure!!!

Getting ready to leave Valdosta airport!
First boarding pass!
Ready to take off on her first ever flight
My goal when booking our flights were that we'd have two hour lay overs every time we had to have one (which Valdosta flights only fly into Atlanta so we knew we'd at least have two lay overs there) so we'd have time to eat and get to our gate with no issues. I also wanted to arrive in Vegas and leave from Vegas during daylight hours. Two women traveling alone to a place neither of us had been before made me a little nervous and I felt like during the day we'd be a lot safer than at night. While the timing of the flights may not have been ideal, it was worth it to feel safe. Which we did!

We also decided to save the $25 checked luggage fee and carry on all our stuff. It was my first time ever doing it and it was honestly a great experience! I was shocked at how much stuff I could fit in the carry on luggage and how easily we got through security and everything (we just had to get disposable razors from the hotel lobby when we arrived). And in Atlanta they actually checked our bags because the flight was full so we ended up getting them checked for free...which made it nice when we arrived in Vegas to not have to lug them through the airport.

We departed from Valdosta at 10:45 and made it to Atlanta by noon, just in time for lunch! Sbarro at the airport has these yummy pizza wrap things so we shared one of those before getting back on the plane again!
The flight from Atlanta to Vegas was only 4 hours but since Las Vegas is 3 hours behind us we actually arrived in Vegas at 3. I waited until the flight took off to go to the bathroom and put on my compression stockings. They were surprisingly comfortable and not as ugly as I'd imagined - basically they are panty hose! I wore them the whole flight and got up to pee and walk around every hour. I drank TONS of water before the flight and during the flight and seriously had no discomfort what-so-ever!
On my bathroom runs I got to know the flight attendants pretty well (shocker?) so I made sure to tell them that it was Katie's first time flying. They were awesome! They announced it over the loud speaker, gave her wings, and arranged for us to meet the pilot after the flight landed! They didn't do that much for Kye on his first flight!

wings!
It was SUCH a great flying experience for Katie's first time - the entire trip (both ways) went smoothly and we were on time for every arrival. That's not a common thing in the flying world!!! Plus on our way to Vegas we were able to see the Grand Canyon! Another perk of booking a day time flight :)
We also got to see the Hoover Dam!

We weren't in a rush when we landed so we left everyone else get off the plane and waited so we could meet the pilot and see the cockpit. Um awesome! He let us sit in the chairs and showed us how to fly the plane!


He even let Katie wear his hat since it was her first flight (lucky!)
He was mildly creepy...
Especially in this picture haha. He told us we could "touch his buttons any day." Um, we're good thanks!
The FIRST thing we saw when we got off the plane were slot machines
Welcome to VEGAS!!!

Growing up always flying to and from Atlanta, I rarely have issues navigating in other airports. Isn't ours one of the biggest in the world??? If you can handle Hartsfield then you can handle anything! Vegas wasn't bad at all and our bags were right there waiting for us at baggage claim with no issues. The hotel we were staying at had free transportation to and from the airport so we found the shuttle station and waited. The next shuttle was supposed to arrive at 4 and we made it out there at 3:55. Perfect! Well...we waited and waited and waited and finally at 4:45 I decided to go find some answers. Katie and I had asked several people and knew we were in the right spot, what we didn't know was that our shuttle was NOT MARKED with the hotel name! So it was there when we got there but we didn't see it :( We had to wait until 5:30 for the next one. Not happy campers! Other people who boarded the shuttle had missed it too, it's for sure something the hotel needs to fix!
Originally I had gotten a great deal on one of those timeshare tour trips we take all the time. We were going to be staying in an actual condo in Vegas with a full kitchen and everything! Unfortunately, things went sour between the timeshare company and I (and it'll be AWHILE until I book another trip with them...I'm still very bitter...) so we lost the reservation (with only a partial refund...grrrrrrr). I ended up (3 weeks before our trip, no joke!) hunting the internet to find a replacement place to stay. Luckily, I found Palace Station for only $35 a night! At first I was worried about it not being safe but Zach said if it has a casino it can't be too bad so I booked it. We were SHOCKED at how great it was!!!

Remember my "Emily luck?" Things typically go wrong but always work out even better than originally planned. Again, our trip had some of those moments. We got to the hotel and the (dumb, idiotic) woman at check-in said there was an Emily Parker listed but that it wasn't me because the address wasn't mine. I had to call Priceline and have them prove to her that I was booked (I paid Priceline for the room, and they paid the hotel which is why my address didn't match up!). It was a hassle but we got an upgraded room and Priceline is giving me a little compensation too :) Our room was REALLY nice!!!

on the phone with Priceline
showing off the bathroom!
By the time we got to the room and settled it was like 7 our time, and 10 Georgia time. My cell phone never would switch time zones so I stayed pretty confused the entire trip. We were exhausted but starving (we hadn't eaten since lunch in Atlanta!). We changed clothes and checked out the hotel. Um. It was AWESOME. TONS of restaurants to choose from and they were all yummy and cheap! We both love Italian food so we ate at the pasta place in the hotel - it was fabulous!
YUM!
I seriously tore that junk UP. It was the PERFECT meal for my tired body and hungry baby!
The meals were only $12 each and dessert was only $4 - how could I resist?
I'll go ahead and say it here...and forgive me if I repeat it later...but the service in Vegas is HORRIBLE. Maybe we're spoiled in the south but oh. my. goodness. They take their precious time to do anything. Only one time at ONE restaurant did they ever refill a glass without us having to ask multiple times. It was like that everywhere we went. They were all NICE but just horrible at their jobs. And none of the places we ate were ever even crowded! It was straight up ridiculous! We didn't let us spoil our trip in any way, but we were both thankful that we were never in any kind of rush or anything :)
After eating we went straight to bed and slept for 12 hours! After the flight, time changes, and the three nights of no sleep due to a sick child - I needed that sleep! When we woke up the next morning, we felt well-rested and ready for our big day. We decided just to go as we were to eat breakfast down in one of the hotel restaurants. No one knew us so who cares right?

sexy morning glasses ;)
The desert air was AWESOME! I didn't even brush my hair when I woke up (at home I wake up with a curly, crazy, afro MESS!).
After breakfast we showered and took our time getting ready for the BIG event that night! We decided to go to the Strip for the day and eat a hefty meal before the event in case they didn't have food (good thing we did...the only food at the event was, no joke, Chex Mix...). We weren't overly concerned with time so we ended up not catching a free shuttle to the strip and instead rode in a taxi. The nastiest taxi ever!
holding on for my life!
On the flight we looked through a Vegas magazine that Katie's dad had gotten a couple weeks ago when he visited the area. Since we spent so much money on the event we were attending (like a lot of money...) we didn't want to spent any extra money while on the vacation. Everything we did was FREE! We found this tv screening thing at MGM for CBS where you get to watch shows that haven't come out yet and rate them to help CBS decide what to air and what to cancel. It was free and we figured it'd be an interesting experience!

The show we watched was A Gifted Man and it's premiering on CBS sometime soon. It was horrible. But the experience was fun! We each had this little dial thing that we had to continuously move up or down depending on if that moment in the show was intriguing to us or not. It was a point system from 0-100 and my dial stayed in the 0 range for pretty much the entire show. We both tore it to shreds in the questions after the show too. Obviously, I won't be adding it to my DVR list this season!
two thumbs DOWN!
MGM was probably our least favorite place we went during our entire trip. It was very dark and closed in. We both felt the need for sunlight the whole time and were pretty much itching to leave. There was some big fight going on there so it was mega crowded but we didn't want to catch a taxi to go somewhere else before our event so we just walked around and saw the lion exhibit. It was pretty depressing to see the poor lions caged up like that.
adorable little cubs though!
With two hours before the event we went ahead and ate (good thing we did with Vegas service...). We ate at Wolfgang Puck and split a pizza. It was super yummy!!!
For doing the CBS review thing they gave us a booklet of coupons to use in MGM. We took full advantage of them and got buy one get one free Haagen-Dazs ice cream treats for dessert!
SO yummy!!!
We also got coupons for $5 off from Starbucks...so Katie got a $4.00 bottle of water for free
and I got a hot chocolate and cup of water for free!
From MGM we went to the Rio for the BIG Vegas Bash!!! We had a fun trip leading up to the event but the actual event was the highlight of the vacation! More to come tomorrow!!!!!

7 comments:

Megan Ray said...

I love Vegas! Looks like you girls had a great time!

Jane said...

Aww this made me really miss Vegas! That's where I went to school and where I met my husband. I have to say, service can kinda suck in Vegas, because Vegas really isn't the southwest, Vegas is really a suburb of New York/ New Jersey. lol And people definitely act that way. And, just for your piece of mind. The lions are on shifts. They don't live their permanently. They come in for a shift of work, and then they are rotated out and they live at a proper lion habitat the rest of the time. But, I so agree the MGM is totally dark and dingy. 

Danielle P said...

You are so right about the desert air! one of the only things I will miss when we move!!!

Stephanie said...

Great blog! LOVED the pics!

Amanda Phillips said...

We went to Vegas on our honeymoon, LOL.  I wanted to go somewhere other than on a cruise or to a beach so I chose Vegas.  I hated Vegas.  It was dirty.  Although I did get a kick out of the little hispanic men that stood on the street corners and handed out hooker cards.  LOL.  We stayed at the Venetian and we stayed for like 6 days...WAY TOO LONG! I'd like to go back with a group of people but only stay for 2-3 days and catch all the fun shows.  We aren't gamblers so it wasn't our cup of tea but I'm glad we went for the experience!

The Troutman's said...

We are we fly out of Valdosta too. Way easier. It is nice to get Atlanta 30 minutes! How much fun was Katie's first experience flying? And that pilot? You should've told him the playing with buttons is what got you knocked up in the first place! Haha

Kenrachfender said...

Can't wait to see pictures from the event!

http://gloryandjoyunspeakable.blogspot.com/

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