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Old 03-26-2013, 04:46 AM   #106
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Great view from that room. Congrats on the upgrade.


VEGAS!!! Yeah, baby!

Your pictures of the hotels are great. Looking forward to reading more.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:39 AM   #107
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I looked up the song from the fountain. Apparently that is the song that Will Ferrel sings at the end of Step Brothers...so it is now in my head.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:36 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Great shots of Vegas and yay for getting a room upgrade
Thanks! We were so thrilled. Talk about a great way to spend our one night there!

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Originally Posted by Mrs. Gumdrop View Post
Congrats on the upgrade! The Bellagio fountain just looks amazing. I am glad that calzone won't be your last. As someone who can choke on nothing at all, I commiserate.
The fountain really was amazing. I was glad that it lived up to my memories after more than ten years since my last visit. And I'm glad I didn't die choking on that calzone either. It would have been a sad way to go.

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Great view from that room. Congrats on the upgrade.

VEGAS!!! Yeah, baby!

Your pictures of the hotels are great. Looking forward to reading more.
The view was so awesome! As you can see, we didn't exactly take Vegas by storm, but it was still fun. At least we got to see all the best hotels.

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I looked up the song from the fountain. Apparently that is the song that Will Ferrel sings at the end of Step Brothers...so it is now in my head.
It totally is that song. You're welcome.
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:44 PM   #109
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Chapter 18
Vegas, Baby!


Walking into The Venetian, we saw a representative of another of our old favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows. As I explained in my Disney World trip report, we were big fans of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, mostly because it was hilarious. Well, The Venetian had a candy store with a wax figure on loan from Madame Tussaud’s of none other than Jessica Simpson. We had to take a picture.





Next, we moved into The Venetian proper, and we were able to get our first glimpses of both the canals and the beautiful faux-sky that is painted above the whole marketplace area.



We passed our first gondoliers who were serenading their passengers.





We walked through the whole marketplace before finding ourselves in the adjoining Palazzo resort quite accidentally. It had a pretty waterfall though.



Our goal this evening after wandering around The Venetian was to find the Bouchon Bakery that is located there. It’s an outpost of the same restaurant in NYC where we would regularly get one of the best cookies I’ve ever had, the Better Nutter (they used to just call them Nutter Butters before they were told to cease and desist by Nabisco).

We looked at a map of all the shops and restaurants in the mazelike Venetian and thought we had a general idea where we were heading, but then we got hopelessly lost several times. We got to the vicinity of the restaurant, but could not find it for the life of us. We must have checked the directory a solid five times before we finally found it. And when we did find it, it was right as they were putting up their “Closed” sign. Blast! We decided we’d try again in the morning.

Exiting our little slices of Italy, we returned to our hotel across the street. We wanted to catch the nighttime show performed in front of Treasure Island, “The Sirens of TI.”



I remember listening to Lou’s interview with Imagineering legend Bob Gurr on WDW Radio a couple years ago when he talked about designing the sinking ship for the show at Treasure Island. I was intrigued, therefore, to see it in action. Our hopes for the show itself were far from high. We could hear the first show of the evening from our room when we first arrived, and it was clearly pretty bad. Directed by Kenny Ortega, the description I read about the “plot” of the show explained that it was basically an excuse to get scantily clad “sirens” and shirtless “pirates” up on stage to entertain the drunken crowds. When the show started, we quickly realized this was an accurate description.





The sinking ship effect was cool, though I honestly expected it to sink a little more than it did. It only went down a couple feet and then quickly rose up again.



After the ship was sunk, we headed into the casino. At Treasure Island, they give you some free slot play credit as a reward for signing up for their email club, so we each went and got our cards. Tracy and I each received $10 of free credit, and we decided this was probably all we were going to spend. We really didn’t have much in the way of actual money to spare, and we certainly didn’t intend to break the bank on this night in Vegas.

On our trip to Atlantic City, we actually made money using the free slot credit. There, we were each given $25 free dollars in credit (which you can’t just cash out as it has no real value anywhere except the slots). We played there, found some good machines, and each turned our $25 credit into a real $25 at which point we cashed out and left. We must be some of the only people to visit Atlantic City and come out $50 ahead.

Our luck in Vegas was nowhere near as good. I think it was clear that they stack the odds against you a little more in the gambling capital of the world as we rarely won more than a few cents when we did win the slots, and we just continued to gamble away our paltry winnings. Within about a half-hour, our credit was gone and we called it a night.

We headed upstairs to bed, and I can’t think of many nights in my life when I was more excited for my head to hit the pillow. Just by laying down, I could tell that these beds were extremely comfortable, and after our horrid previous night’s sleep, I was out in moments.

After the blink of an eye, or maybe it was eight hours, we awoke to the alarm. I can’t remember the last time I slept as well as that night. We got up and opened the blinds to reveal our view in the daylight.



I’m being dead serious when I say that neither of us noticed the enormous empty lot outside the window when we had seen the view in the dark. Now, we were interested to find out what was coming there. Apparently it had been the site of the Stardust Casino, which was imploded in 2007 to make room for the new Echelon Casino. After being partially built, plans for the Echelon were put on hold indefinitely, so it just sits there as a big construction site.

We started off our morning by heading downstairs for breakfast. We didn’t want to venture too far, so we just went to the Starbucks in our lobby. Living in New York, we saw our fair share of expensive Starbucks drinks, but this one was the worst yet. For the Grande Gingerbread Latte that we split, it cost more than five dollars. Add on the three dollar scone we grabbed for breakfast, and it was quite the costly Starbucks experience. At least we were satiated for now.

We still had a couple hours until our checkout time, so we decided to do a little more exploring. Our first stop was back at The Venetian.



We figured we should buy our cookie now and then eat it a little later in the day. Luckily, we were able to find Bouchon Bakery much more easily this time and got our snack for later without any difficulty.



We inquired at The Venetian if they offered free slot credit when you signed up for their club, but they just rudely scoffed at us and sent us away. Apparently that kind of thing is reserved for the riff-raff casinos like Treasure Island.

Our last stop was The Mirage, a sister casino to TI. We walked over and were very impressed by the grounds.





There’s a volcano that erupts every hour, but we had just missed it, so we went inside instead.



In addition to being the location of the Siegfried and Roy white tiger show, the signs at The Mirage boasted about their dolphin habitat. We wondered if it was free to enter, so we wandered in that direction to check.



We got a little lost in another mazelike casino, and when we did find the dolphins, there was a steep cost of admission. Maybe some other time…

Since The Mirage didn’t offer any free credit for slots either and we felt like we should at least try to win a few bucks this morning, we whipped out a little bit of cash. We still had $8 left from the ten we had broken in Glenwood Springs, so we decided we would spend the rest of that gambling and then cut ourselves off.

Being us, the slot machines we thought were the most fun were those with an animal theme, so we spent all of our money at Wolf Run and Jungle Cats.





Losing our $8 took a matter of minutes, and we moved along before we could get tempted to waste any more money.

We stopped in at the Kardashians store at The Mirage (another of our occasional guilty-pleasure TV shows). We’d been into their Dash store in NYC before, and were shocked both there and here by how ridiculously expensive everything they sell is. To even get a t-shirt is $60. I understand that they’re making a statement about how high-end they are, but the type of people who take the time out to watch their show on E! are not the kinds of people who should be spending that kind of money on a t-shirt. The cheapest thing they sell is a $10 pencil. I wish I were kidding.



After exiting the store empty-handed, we decided to sit and eat our cookie. It was getting close to lunchtime, but we weren’t planning on eating lunch until we were out of Vegas. It was almost as delicious as we hoped it would be. The Better Nutter is comprised of two peanut butter cookies sandwiched with a delicious peanut butter cream filling between them. Unfortunately, the cookies here were a little on the crunchier side, and the whole thing was smaller than we were used to in New York. It was still good though, and worth the trip to find it.

We returned to Treasure Island via the monorail that connects it to The Mirage.





We arrived back at our room with just a few minutes to throw all of our stuff together.



Taking one last look out at our amazing view, we left our panoramic room behind us.





We went downstairs and found Dumbo just as we had left him. Breathing a collective sigh of relief, we realized this was the last time we would have to leave the bulk of our possessions in the car overnight. There was no way we were going to unpack the car for these one-night stops, so we had just covered our suitcases with a blanket and hoped that no one tried to break into the car for these first two stops. Our next destination would be more long-term, so we’d unpack this time.

And now, it was time to get underway. This day’s drive would be the last leg. At the end of it, we’d be in our new home county, and we were anxious to arrive.

Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:30 PM   #110
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I still think you had fun in Vegas. You covered a bit of ground in your time there and still managed to spend time at the slots.

It is so easy to 'break the bank' in Vegas.....and I mean 'our' bank account; not theirs.


Glad you're on your final leg to SoCal.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:29 AM   #111
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I am waiting with bated breath for you to get to Orange County. What a great adventure you two are sharing with us--I love it!
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:10 PM   #112
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Sounds like you still managed to make it a little fun in LasVegas....


looking forward to more.
Here's hoping you found something magical to deal with your health issue...
I also have a chronic illness and know how ANNOYING it is......


KIM
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #113
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Love the pics. I really wanted to go swimming when I looked at the pics of the gondolias lol
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:00 AM   #114
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Lovely photos of the Venetian
We stayed there a few years ago and it really is a lovely hotel
Looking forward to the next installment
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:29 AM   #115
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I'mSo excited to read the "final" chapter!! Please please hurry! Happy Easter to you both, by the way! (And to Duffy & Dumbo too)
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:33 PM   #116
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Really crazy question, but was the first photo of your wife (in your very first post in this thread) taken along the river in Estes Park, CO? If so, that's one of my very favorite places in this world to sit and get lost in my thoughts.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:38 PM   #117
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Oops, I just read more of your TR and I figure it probably is, and that you stayed at Elkhorn Lodge. Was that place not the biggest dump ever?!?! DH and I stayed there right before Halloween in supposedly the "haunted" room - nothing happened - but the whole place was in such a state of disrepair and the bathroom was so disgusting. Normally we stay at the Stanley when we go for the weekend, but had a Groupon for this. Lesson learned.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:53 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I still think you had fun in Vegas. You covered a bit of ground in your time there and still managed to spend time at the slots.

It is so easy to 'break the bank' in Vegas.....and I mean 'our' bank account; not theirs.


Glad you're on your final leg to SoCal.
We definitely had fun in Vegas, though I'd like to make a longer trip out of it next time. We definitely only scratched the surface and I'm dying to see some of the shows out there. Even if we do go again, I think we'll continue to set pretty low spending limits for ourselves on gambling. I wish we could break "their bank!" Hope you enjoy the last portion of the road trip.

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Originally Posted by Cheshirecatty View Post
I am waiting with bated breath for you to get to Orange County. What a great adventure you two are sharing with us--I love it!
Hopefully it will live up to the anticipation once we arrive! We've definitely had some fun adventures since getting here. Thank you for reading along! I'm glad you're enjoying it

Quote:
Originally Posted by burly View Post
Sounds like you still managed to make it a little fun in LasVegas....

looking forward to more.
Here's hoping you found something magical to deal with your health issue...
I also have a chronic illness and know how ANNOYING it is......

KIM
Vegas was definitely fun if a little overwhelming. Hope you enjoy hearing about the next leg of the adventure!

No magical cure unfortunately so far for my health issues, but here's hoping you and I both feel better sometime soon! "Annoying" is right!!

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Love the pics. I really wanted to go swimming when I looked at the pics of the gondolias lol
I wouldn't suggest swimming in those canals. Since it is Vegas, I imagine they're not the most sanitary...

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Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Lovely photos of the Venetian
We stayed there a few years ago and it really is a lovely hotel
Looking forward to the next installment
The Venetian was just beautiful! Of all the themed hotels, I think it's my favorite because it's just so well done. I'd love to stay there someday. I'm sure it's grand!

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I'mSo excited to read the "final" chapter!! Please please hurry! Happy Easter to you both, by the way! (And to Duffy & Dumbo too)
Hope you enjoy the "final" chapter, though it's definitely FAR from the last part of the story. I've got lots more coming your way, including (eventually) actual Disney-related updates!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DharmaLou View Post
Really crazy question, but was the first photo of your wife (in your very first post in this thread) taken along the river in Estes Park, CO? If so, that's one of my very favorite places in this world to sit and get lost in my thoughts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DharmaLou View Post
Oops, I just read more of your TR and I figure it probably is, and that you stayed at Elkhorn Lodge. Was that place not the biggest dump ever?!?! DH and I stayed there right before Halloween in supposedly the "haunted" room - nothing happened - but the whole place was in such a state of disrepair and the bathroom was so disgusting. Normally we stay at the Stanley when we go for the weekend, but had a Groupon for this. Lesson learned.
Yup, Estes it is. The whole town is one of Tracy and my favorite places in the world. We love that area along the creek.

We didn't actually stay at Elkhorn Lodge, but you can read about our experience with their "haunted hay ride." It's definitely a bit of a dump. I honestly can't imagine staying there; sounds like quite a mess. I'd love to stay at the Stanley though. It's so pretty there!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:00 AM   #119
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Chapter 19
Going Home?


We started the drive away from Vegas around lunch time, and we knew that one of our first goals needed to be finding somewhere to eat. As we pulled out, I tweeted:

We lost a grand total of $8 in Vegas but at least we got to play several rounds of "Wolf Run" #leavinglasvegas

We had planned on trying to put off stopping for lunch until we were outside the busy area, but upon looking at a map, I realized we were about to be heading into the middle of nowhere for a while.



So right after leaving the Vegas city limits, we found ourselves looping back around to try to find a simple fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, this proved to be more trouble than either of us anticipated, as we drove past several closed restaurants, and then a lot of residential streets.



Finally, we had our map direct us to the nearest Taco Bell, which was about ten minutes off our course. We arrived and ate a hurried lunch, trying to get back on the road as quickly as possible.

Stopped at Taco Bell outside Vegas for lunch. You gotta eat healthy on the road...

When we started driving again, neither of us was in a particularly great mood. Tracy was tired of driving. And who could blame her? Obviously, I was a very conspicuous passenger on this whole trip. My state of feeling well was always teetering precariously on a pin at this time, so I was nervous to drive and risk putting either of us in danger when I started feeling badly. I’m sure to an extent, it was anxiety getting the better of me, but I just never know.

Despite certainly not enjoying it by this point in time, Tracy drove on like a trooper.



We took heart when we saw the first sign of our final destination with a road sign pointing toward Los Angeles.



And now, it was back to the relatively boring scenery of Nevada.



One of the most exciting moments thus far on the drive happened somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Nevada.

Just passed our first @Disneyland billboard! #californiabound

Of course, Nevada didn’t last too long. Soon we had passed into the last state of our journey, and our new home.



California was, if anything, uglier than Nevada when we first entered.



Partly it was just a sort of gross, cloudy day, and partly it was just the landscape.



They’re not kidding when they say that a huge portion of California is desert. We saw plenty of proof along the sides of the road.





Our moods lightened as time went on, and we played some more Twilight before the unthinkable happened: we reached the end of the first part of the audiobook. When I had downloaded the book in the Audible app, I hadn’t ever worried about getting the second half downloaded because I was used to almost always having access to wi-fi throughout the day. But now, here we were in the middle of the desert with only a 4G signal, and an app that wouldn’t allow me to download the pivotal climax of our book. The drive got considerably more silent without the voice of Ilyana Kadushin reading to us about the foibles of teenage vampires. We switched over to music for a while, but mostly we just found ourselves really wanting to arrive.

Luckily, after the drive the day before, this drive was almost a cakewalk at a mere four hours. We just had to get through all the boring parts of California and then hope that we could survive our first tastes of the freeways around L.A. and Orange County.



We only made one stop in Bloomington, outside San Bernardino, for a quick bathroom break. Other than that, we barreled on, noticing that the roads around us were getting quickly more congested.



The sun began to set as we continued along I-15.



This road introduced us to how terribly some of the freeways in the L.A. area are maintained. It was so uneven, and the lane lines were so horribly drawn that both of us found ourselves getting a little white-knuckled as we chugged along—and I wasn’t even driving.

Things started to get better as we merged onto the 60 and into the actual direction of Orange County, but now we found ourselves facing our first taste of rush hour traffic in CA.



It was a pretty typical night in retrospect, but on our first experience with the constant 6-lane freeways, it was a little shocking. On this last phase of the journey, we had Daniel’s predicted time of arrival ticking closer and knew that, though the surroundings weren’t yet familiar, we were entering the general area we would come to know as “home.”

We had bid on a hotel on Hotwire the previous night in Vegas, so we knew we would be staying there for at least a few nights while we apartment hunted. So, for now, the Fairfield Inn Fullerton-Placentia was our destination.

We merged from the 60 onto the 57 and found ourselves officially in Orange County. We began seeing exits for places we knew the names of from our research—Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton. And finally, we reached our exit. We drove into the parking lot of our hotel, stopped the car, and had a moment in which we looked at each other and couldn’t believe we’d done it. Our cross-country move was, for all intents and purposes, basically done. Now we just had to find ourselves a home.

Here you can see our map for the last day of driving.



And here is the entire 1,029 mile road trip mapped out.



Continued in Next Post
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1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 04-03-2013, 05:01 AM   #120
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That stretch of road is rather uninteresting and it seems like it hasn't changed at all. YAY for reaching your final destination.
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