After living in two extremely popular touristy destinations like Orlando and Las Vegas, we have changed our tourist experience in both places forever. No longer can we do either in the usual touristy way. Our experience is more of a mix – half local – half tourist. In Orlando, we often stay in a vacation pool home, rent a car, and drive to the beach instead of staying onsite and using WDW transportation the way we used to.
And now that we’re back west, in addition to our Disneyland trips, we are also planning a trip back to Las Vegas. We’ll fly in, as usual, but we’ll rent a car, drive to our old neighborhood, check on our house, have lunch with former co-workers, check out some new restaurants, catch a show, and see what’s changed since we lived there. According to some news items, it sounds like Vegas may be making a comeback. Check out this quote:
“Las Vegas numbers are soaring, attracting a record 39.7 million visitors in 2012. Approximately half a million more tourists visited the world renowned Sin City last year than in the previous record setting year of 2007, according to new figures released by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Las Vegas is set to soar even higher in 2013.
“With more than $2 billion of reinvestment in the destination, Las Vegas is well positioned for continued growth in 2013 and on the threshold of hosting more than 40 million visitors,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA. – Travel Daily News, February 2013
Two4Disney Rich is ever on the lookout for Vegas news and here are some additional tidbits he’s gathered courtesy of Anthony Curtis of the Las Vegas Advisor:
In the most significant economic development for Las Vegas in several years, Malaysia-based Genting Group has acquired the stalled Echelon property on the north Strip from Boyd Gaming Corp. for $350 million and will build a $2 billion resort called Resorts World Las Vegas. The Asian-themed property will include 3,500 rooms in seven hotel towers that surround 8 million square feet of high-end dining, entertainment, and retail. Also planned are a live panda habitat, a replica of the Great Wall of China, tea gardens, pagodas, and a 7.5-acre indoor water park. Echelon, originally called Echelon Place and intended to be a CityCenter style metaresort, had sat idle since construction was halted in 2008. The new Genting resort is scheduled to open in 2016.
Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon will reopen with the high-end Gansevoort brand, famous for attracting a celebrity clientele in New York City. The resort will be renamed Gansevoort Las Vegas and have 188 “Parisian apartment style” rooms, including 19 suites. Gansevoort is being positioned to attract an “upscale audience,” with new bars, clubs, and retail outlets. The opening date is set for 2014 and room rates will start at $249.
The iconic Sahara hotel sign was removed last month as work continues on SLS Las Vegas. The $750 million renovation and rebranding of the north-Strip resort remains on pace for completion in 2014.
The $40-million second phase of Bellagio’s big room-remodeling project that was announced last summer has been completed, with makeovers of 928 rooms in the Spa Tower. Three 2,500-square-foot Executive Parlor Suites, complete with a billiards lounge and home theater, have also been added. This project was the continuation of a $70-million 3,387- room renovation that was completed at the end of 2011.
MGM Resorts International has announced that it will build a 20,000-seat indoor sports and events arena on land it owns behind the Monte Carlo and New York-New York. The facility will be built in a partnership with AEG, which already operates several sports venues around the country, and will include retail, dining, and entertainment offerings. While complete details haven’t been announced, the timetable calls for a groundbreaking later this year, with an opening slated for 2015.
The Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Authority has approved the first phase of a $2.5 billion makeover of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The first phase of creating the “Las Vegas Global Business District” consists of planning only and is budgeted at $150 million. lf it goes to conclusion, the 8- to 10-year project would create a “World Trade Center building” and a “multimodal transportation center.”
A new retail/dining/entertainment district developed by Caesars Entertainment.
Tom Colicchio opens new Steakhouse in the Mirage replacing Kokomo’s (we dined there on our first wedding anniversary).