In October, my wife and I received our Aladdin Casino newsletter, and read with great interest about the upcoming New Years Eve package. We have thought about going to Vegas for the festivities of the New Year celebration, but haven't had the opportunity or the means to do it. The Aladdin had a package that offered the following; 3 nights in a deluxe room, 2 tickets to the REO Speedwagon, and Styx New Year's Eve Concert and $50 free play for $598.00, for their Gold Card holders. But with airfare from Minneapolis at almost $300/person it was still a big commitment, but worth some thought. We had the dreams of bringing in the New Year on the Strip, with 300,000 of our closest friends, but deep down in our hearts we knew we would be around the in-laws house in our PJ's with a celebratory glass of wine at midnight.
A few days later, I received a small envelope from the Aladdin. Wondering what this could be, I opened it up and a great big smile came on my face. Here it was, the invitation to spend New Years on the strip with tickets to the concert and an extra night, fully comped. Not wanting to spoil the surprise for my bride, I put the envelope away in my casino folder and waited till she got home from work. After dinner, as we were sitting in the den, I pulled out the newsletter and told her how cool it would be if we could be in Vegas. She said yes, but there was no way possible, unless we got an invite or hit the Powerball. (We have been invited to small slot tournaments, and small events, and never thought we were high enough on the comp ladder to warrant something as special as this.) Well, trying not to give it away, I gave her the envelope and waited to see her reaction. She said 'Holy SH#^&', and asked when the plane left. It took about 30 seconds to decide and I made the call to our host. WE ARE SET!!!!
I called Sun Country Airlines to see what days we could get, and the best that I could do was leave Minneapolis on Dec. 28th and leave Las Vegas on Jan. 1. So our 5 days are set. Not too bad of flight times either. Leave Minneapolis at 7:30 AM arriving in Vegas at 9:05 AM. Leave Vegas at 5:40 PM and arrive in Minneapolis at 9:35 PM. Total cost of the tickets is $573.00 for the two of us. Not too bad, but not the best we've had either. But we're happy we're on the way to Vegas. Were counting the days and then the airline calls, there is a schedule change and you have been bumped. For Christ's sake what happened now. Well, the morning flight has been moved back 10 minutes, and the return flight has been moved up and hour and you have been moved to first class on both legs of the trip. Can things get any better? I called my host and asked if it was possible if they could pick us up at McCarran? No problem, what time does your flight arrive? So there is another surprise for my wife.
We are not big gamblers, mainly .25 VP and a little BJ, but we have learned from many trips to Vegas, not to spread it around too much. That was the mistake that we made in our early trips. We would play everywhere and then be on the lookout for all those fabulous offers, but none came our way. After many trips of playing and using the slot cards, we got smart and started to concentrate our play at one place. I guess it works, since we have been at the Aladdin the past four trips and have only paid for 3 nights and 2 meals. Everything else has been comped. Now we are counting the days, and planning what to do while we are in town.
The Trip - Tragedy Strikes
Christmas has come and gone and the time for us to leave for Vegas is here. Spent the night at my sister in laws house in the Twin Cities and got up early for the flight to Vegas. Before we left, our kids were very concerned about us flying especially to Vegas since Vegas was mentioned as a possible terrorist target, but we tried to tell them there was nothing to worry about, so we said we would call them as soon as we landed in Vegas. We got to the airport 2 hours before flying and went through the first class check in. What a nice way to go. Had a few bites to eat and a cup of coffee and went to our gate. We got on the plane and had a bloody mary and enjoyed the flight into Vegas. This was the first time that we had seats on the right hand side of the plane on the way out so I took out the digital camera and snapped some shots of the strip on the way in. We got in on time and headed to the baggage claim area. But, on the way we had to stop and let our kids know that we landed without incident. So I called my son who was glad we landed, but that I should call my sister because my mother was in the hospital. I tried calling but couldn't get through, so we headed to the smoking terrarium. Had a few smokes and headed to get our bags. My wife had been teasing me about getting a ride in a Limo and I was saying just wait, so as we came to the carousel there was the Aladdin Limo driver with our name on the card. Needless to say she saved that card. He grabbed our bags and we headed out to the car. I wish I hadn't put the camera back into the carryon, because I really wanted a picture of that limo. We arrived at the Aladdin and got checked in via the VIP area and got a strip view room on the 33rd floor overlooking the south side of the strip. We went to the Lamp Bar and started playing VP, me Deuces Wild and my wife DBVP. We played for a while until the Viking game came on and then we sat through that very disappointing game. I was hoping the Vikes would make the playoffs. Then we went to the room. The message light was flashing and I knew that could not be very good news. I was our son who told me that my mother had died. What a way to start the trip. After many tearful phone calls home and to other relatives, my father said for us to stay there, and that the funeral would not be until Friday. I have two wonderful sisters who were there and stayed with my father during this hard time. I did check with the airline and found out that all flights were booked so there was no way to get back. After composing myself we went downstairs to the Spice Market Buffet and used our Gold Cards to get to the bottom of the stairs. The Gold Card only gets you past the casino line. We had a wonderful brunch and made a toast to Mom. She must have been looking over my shoulders the next few days.
After the news, I lost interest in keeping a detailed log of the trip, but I will give you the highlights.
DINING- We ate at the Paris Buffet for breakfast. We were not impressed with it. Maybe it was an off day. The Paris Coffee Shop was excellent. Enjoyed dinner there one night. Tremezzo at the Aladdin. Wonderful dinner on New Years Eve. Sat on the patio overlooking the strip. We will do this again. PF Changs Great as always.

GAMBLING- Very Up and down. Did most of our playing the the Aladdin.My wife was severely under 4 of a kind. She only hit the Aces once and only a few of the big bonuses. I was playing DW and was lucky enough to hit the Deuces 8 times over the stay. Twice within 10 minutes of each other on the same machine. Larry if you read this, you are my lucky bartender. Came back with as much cash as we went with and paid for meals and shopping in cash.

Thanks for reading this report. I wish I did more note taking, but my mind was not in it.

Back again June 20th.