Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

June 2, 2010

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #001: Carnival Barkers

Posted by Hunter

I'm very happy to present the first installment of Jeff Simpson's new column, 'Simpson on Vegas'. Every other week or so, Jeff will offer his opinions, insight and commentary. I'm looking forward to it and so should you.

This first time around - do you think that Las Vegas operators are doing enough to lure in new (and existing) customers? Where are the next generation volcano, pirate show and fountains?

Continue reading after the jump and leave your thoughts in the comments.

While Steve Wynn was building Wynn Las Vegas the developer reveled in explaining how, after building three acclaimed Strip resorts, he had finally seen the light when it came to his newest marvel.

Instead of creating fabulous spectacles in front of his property to attract attention from Las Vegas Boulevard -- the "midway," he called it -- he was investing in even more beautiful interior spaces that would delight his guests, the people who were paying for the experience.

No more Mirage volcano, Treasure Island pirate show or Bellagio fountains. Wynn Las Vegas, he said, would have hundreds or even thousands of beautiful spots inside for property guests to discover.

It's hard to find fault with Wynn's decision and its execution, as Wynn Las Vegas and its follow-on sister, Encore, have delivered as he had hoped, owning the top rungs on the city's resort ladder, with the biggest share of the baccarat market, the highest room rates and acclaim from important critics and travel rating sites.

But what has been good for Wynn Resorts may not be good for the long term prospects of Las Vegas.

The three mega-spectacles he built in front of Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio remain the Strip's top three free crowd-drawing attractions. No property that has opened since Bellagio in 1998 has invested in a free, Strip-front attraction that comes close. Sure, MGM Mirage updated the Mirage volcano, but it wasn't a new feature, just improved.

Venetian has some beautiful elements and gondolas in its canal and Paris has its small Eiffel Tower (and it charges a fee). Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo, Encore and Aria don't have any significant outdoor public features that attract the kinds of crowds Wynn's earlier attractions do. And neither will Cosmopolitan (when it opens) and Fountainebleau (if it opens).

The lack of new attractions might cause the traveling public to feel that there's not much new and exciting in Las Vegas and that they've already seen and experienced most of what the city has to offer.

Sure, there are other near-Strip attractions. For free attractions, Rio has its Show in the Sky, MGM Grand has its Lion Habitat, Flamingo has some flamingos and other wildlife between its hotel and pool, Caesars Palace has a fountain show and the south end of the Strip has the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

And Mandalay Bay, Venetian, Bellagio, Wynn, Encore and Aria have beautiful design elements that attract plenty of visitors.

And there are plenty of things paying customers can do: Go to the top of the Stratosphere for panoramic views, visit the Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy, check out the Bellagio gallery and take a ride on roller coasters and other rides at Stratosphere, Sahara, Circus Circus and New York- New York, among many others.

But travelers need new and exciting things to spur new visits, and I don't believe high-end restaurants, retail offerings, pools, cabanas and nightclubs and ever-more-luxurious hotel rooms are enough to excite Middle America to make the trip. And make no mistake, the city, and its bottom and middle tiers of resorts need Middle America.

It's not fair to expect Steve Wynn to be the only one to build the kind of free mega-attractions that provide millions of photo backdrops and are vital to the magic of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas casino operators have a lot to fear in the near term, from a fragile recovery, an oversupply of rooms and other revenue-drivers to air capacity cuts, and it's hard to imagine many operators will think they can afford to worry about a long-term decline in the pizazz that spurs folks to book a trip to the Strip. But operators with a significant investment in the city and in its older and middle-tier properties (MGM Mirage and Harrah's, I'm looking at you) should think about investing land and money in attractions that keep people coming back.

A giant ferris wheel -- offered up by plenty of planned projects but yet to be built -- would be a great addition but wouldn't be free, nor unique. I think free attractions have a strong appeal. And while a new arena might entice a pro sports team and keep important events (National Finals Rodeo, for one), it wouldn't attract tourists on its own. What the city needs are new, spectacular and free attractions, and I worry that the recession, the high price of Strip land and the general "me first" mentality of operators will prevent any operator from springing for the cost.

I don't blame Steve Wynn for tiring of being the only operator willing to pay for fantastic free attractions, but his extravagance at Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio helped fuel an incredible period of increasing visitation. Beautiful hotel towers and resort design elements are wonderful, but aren't enough to fire up Middle America.
At the same time Wynn called his competitors "accountants" he described himself and Caesars Palace and Circus Circus creator Jay Sarno as "carnival barkers," hotel owners who lured folks from the Strip's midway into their tents.

Las Vegas needs a carnival barker. It doesn't have to be Wynn, but it has to be someone.

I worry that Wynn has retired his megaphone and his competitors lack the insight or the inclination to invest in something that will also benefit the competition. And that's too bad.


Read archived comments (29 so far)
June 2, 2010 10:27 PM Posted by worldpool

i agree what you said they need to find a way to bring people in to there hotel bring in a theme park or a casino that would bring more and more people in i like what you said and cant wait for the next one and welcome

June 3, 2010 12:07 AM Posted by mike_ch

"Building inwards" is a bunch of phooey IMO to more or less explain that any attractive elements will have a cash register in front of them.

What's funny is that Wynn secretly knows better, his Macao hotels both have enormous free spectacles between the bigger, badder fountain show out in front (in the opening video clip you can see him bopping along to the beat) and the Tree of Fortune or whatever it was called. In fact, that interior show later got a followup with a huge dragon.

I think Steve is simply unhappy that he lost the WET Design contract to MGM in the takeover and lost access to their talent on the Strip, though he can still put them to work in Macao. Given that Disney is presently working on a lagoon show that is supposedly going to make the Bellagio fountain (and maybe even it's larger clone in Dubai) look pretty dated, he should probably consider poaching people from that project for the future. The Treasure Island boats were designed by a former Imagineer who also produced numerous ride vehicles and the Monorail system, so it's nothing new for Wynn.

Given the amount of showmanship he puts on in Macao, I think a part of Wynn still likes the carnival. Two reasons he decided not to bother in Vegas: the frontage on the other side of the road (the Fashion Show redevelopment, north strip devastation), and also just simple greed.

June 3, 2010 2:23 AM Posted by Arthur

While we all agree that free-attractions are awesome....we should give ideas as to what would be the next great attraction. I for one, could not think of another attraction that would top a volcano or dancing water fountains. What do you guys think would make a great new free outdoor attractions? It's kinda hard once you think about it. Wynn created the "Lake of Dreams" but nobody barely remembers that attraction anymore, even Jeff didnt mention it in his column because it's not that famous. We should give some ideas to the developers out there to develop a great new attraction, all they need is ideas, and it's kinda hard to think of one right now...

June 3, 2010 6:17 AM Posted by detroit1051

Boy, am I glad to know Jeff Simpson will be writing here regularly. Jeff, you're great!

I'm not sure Vegas will ever get back to the days of "Wow". There's a fine line between must-see attractions and honky tonk. Steve Wynn has always had the ability to differentiate between the two. Harrah's and MGM are more operators than innovators. The jury is still out regarding Sheldon Adelson and LVS, but his Marina Bay Sands with its huge rooftop "park" is an exciting addition to Singapore.

Things that have appealed to me over the years in Vegas are almost all water or nature related. Water features may never be as extravagent again due to energy conservation and the green mindset.
#1 for me is Bellagio's lake and fountains. It's a wonderful contrast to stand on the Strip sidewalk facing Bellagio enjoying the water while it's 100+ degrees outside.
#2 is The Mirage's lagoon and volcano. I enjoy the movement of the water more than the volcano eruption, again standing at the railing watching and listening to the soothing water.
#3 is Bellagio's Conservatory. Yes, they may reuse the polar bears, trees and other props, but it is a refuge from the excitement and chaos of Las Vegas, especially early in the morning when many guests are still sleeping.
#4 is the tropical garden at Flamingo. I assume it's still there. My softer side sometimes worried about the well being of the penguins and flamingos, but they looked healthy.
Not on my list is TI's pirate show, pre or post Sirens. The walkway was always too crowded, and the setting didn't have the peaceful elements of Bellagio and Mirage.
Wynn never captured these experiences at Wynn Las Vegas, and as much as I've enjoyed Wynn, it just doesn't compare to Bellagio in my mind.

When Wynn built the Mirage, TI and Bellagio attractions, Las Vegas was in a growth mode and still was one of the few casino centers in the country. Now that casinos are in every state except one(?), I think it will be difficult to recapture the growth of the past, with or without attractions.

Finally, one big draw for me is the variety of attractions outside the city: Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Mt. Charleston, Hoover Dam, etc.

June 3, 2010 7:42 AM Posted by hail2skins

I agree with Detroit about the water aspect and its appeal. I always thought the Mirage had the most appealing exterior with the lagoon and waterfall, and I like the waterfalls he has at WLV.....kind of makes me think that Mandalay could've done something similar when they built that property. Also, one has to be curious about what MGM and the Kerzners had (or still might have) in mind for the western corner of LVB and Sahara.

The discussion also brings to mind the debate that has occurred in the more recent past about the onset of the "non-themed" place versus the themed areas. Meaning that perhaps you don't need an attraction like the volcano or fountains as long as you have a strongly themed hotel which exterior really shows the theme. I remember walking by NYNY as it was going up in 1996 and hearing people remark how damn cool it looked. Contrast that to City Center, Cosmo, and Fountainbleau, where people complain about how they look like office buildings.

But back to ideas. I always thought it would be cool to have a hotel-casino based on post-war America, and have a short fireworks display on the hour roughlly 3-4 times a night. Not original, but I think it would serve as a good mousetrap.

June 3, 2010 10:28 AM Posted by socalduck

In Wynn's CNBC interviews last week, he talked quite a bit about how the younger visitors that the Encore Beach Club is targeting are seeking interactive vs. passive experiences. The EBC, with its Strip frontage and cabana balconies that offer a glimpse of the fun inside, will help attract visitors off the Strip. Sure, you have to pay to get inside to experience it all, but I don't think the target demographic (20- and 30-somethings with money to burn) will have any problem coughing up the $40 admission to be part of the action. And once in the door, they get to enjoy a truly unique environment with a pool, bars, live DJs, gaming, etc. Meanwhile, the EBC creates a buzz in a portion of the property that was seriously under-utilized before, which will help attract and retain visitors even if they are not interested in the EBC itself.

June 3, 2010 10:49 AM Posted by Chooch

Interesting comments about free attractions. Murren thinks he's a visionary in creating City Center, believing that people will come to see the architecture...I don't agree, but do admit that it's cool to see "when you are there", not likely a reason to go to LV for the mass population.

An attraction not on the strip could be a laser show...nothing like Disney, this is 2010, there have been a "few" improvements in technology over the last 30 years.

With all the marvel of Cirque du Soleil, it would be cool to have something rise from underground in front of a casino...tidal wave? dragon? Earthquake?

With all the sand in the valley, how about a constantly changing sand castle?

Attractions are not a draw for me, but the mass of people enjoy them, and I agree, there is a place for them.

June 3, 2010 12:06 PM Posted by Craig

What attracted me to Vegas was the uniqueness of it.
Vegas seems to losing some of that. I want something I can't get anywhere else. Being close to SF, I can get restaurants and fancy hotels. Gambling is only 30 minutes away.
I'm not interesting in flying to Nevada to pay money to sit by a pool.
Think of the great cities, London, Paris, SF, DC, etc. You don't need to pay an arm and a leg to experience it.
As cheesy as it sometimes was / is, the heavy themes made you laugh or cringe. It was unique to Vegas.

June 3, 2010 12:27 PM Posted by Matt K

Good article. I think the gradual disappearance of the free, strip-front attractions is part and parcel with the recent "de-themeing", and "upscaling" trends in Vegas development. Over the last 10 years, construction costs and land costs have skyrocketed. (remember when spending $1 billion was a big deal?) In order to spend that much, you need to project huge returns. And in order to do that, you have to target the high end of the market. It just doesn't make sense anymore to build a new mid-tier property. Free outdoor attractions and carnival barking scream mid-market, (the Bellagio Fountains being the one classy exception) and nobody who's breaking ground these days wants to give off that vibe.

Everybody wants to be a high-end boutique. Everyone thinks that if they ditch their themeing and all semblance of personality then they can sell a $50 sirloin and a $500 bottle of Goose. It's the wrong strategy for Vegas.

Incidentally Hunter, it's too bad the trivia won't be returning. I had some good questions waiting in the wings...

June 3, 2010 12:29 PM Posted by parchedearth

1. I would like to see a huge (150+ft high) statue (of Caesar, colossus of Rhodes, a golden calf) or monument built on the strip.
2. Light/laser shows are good (and cheap). Tropicana just started projected on the side of the paradise tower.
3. Someone should take over the Vegas walk-of-fame and really do it right. Put the stars right on the main sidewalk and induct a new Vegas celebrity every month.
4. The city/county/convention should look into contributing something like building a park or museum on the strip. For example, make the empty lot at Harmon and LVB (near PHo) into a true urban pocket park with a wall of plaques dedicated to the famed casino owners (Binion, Stupak, Kerkorian, Wynn, Boyd, Fertitta, etc)

June 3, 2010 2:45 PM Posted by chuckmonster

Dearest Jeff Simpson,

There is only one solution:

MOON LAS VEGAS! Either that or a coupla two three more Pocket Parques.



June 3, 2010 5:06 PM Posted by howardpark

Parchedearth has some really good ideas esp. doing the LV Walk of Fame right, that is a no brainer and wouldn't cost all that much. Eventually the big boys may have to cooperate to build an attraction or two like Fremont Street did over a decade ago -- I guess the result of that model is mixed. In the mid-term I think there is no subsitute for cheap airline seats and the lackthereof has really hurt Las Vegas. Look at the fallout from the US Airways/America West merger...that has hurt more than the lack of new attractions.

June 3, 2010 9:48 PM Posted by parchedearth

Just announced this afternoon, a new Walgreen's is going in at Harmon and LVB (in a to be built 3 story shopping structure). Interesting this makes 3 Walgreen's (MGM, PHo, Palazzo) and a CVS (MC) right on the strip. At least it will be some shopping that ordinary people can afford. Not sure the strip really needs more stores (I'm partial to the Fashion Mall).

June 4, 2010 5:23 AM Posted by LeoNYC

Not sure what you guys think, but the idea of having stores outside of malls would make City Center looks more like a "City". Cafes and restaurants with tables on sidewalk, windows that could be decorated according to the season, etc etc. This would make people walk from store to store and give a more lively environment to the complex. I know during the summer the weather is an issue, but they could blow cold air and water spray to cool things down a little bit.
What you guys think?

June 4, 2010 8:07 AM Posted by atdleft


No, water features like Bellagio's & Mirage's will never be built again. Here in Nevada, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (or SNWA for short, the folks in charge of water here) has come under fire for planning to "steal water" from Northern Nevada and Utah... And they especially HATE the idea of "our water for our farms going to those darned greedy Las Vegas casinos".

So no, don't ever expect any new elaborate Strip water features like Bellagio's. Steve Wynn just had to move heaven and earth 5 years ago to get the Lake of Dreams built, and all the casinos with big water features have had to retrofit them to recycle more and "do more with less".


"As cheesy as it sometimes was / is, the heavy themes made you laugh or cringe. It was unique to Vegas. "

But was it? Or were we just trying to copy the two Orange Counties and their theme parks? Again, I don't think the 1990s can ever be repeated. It was a unique era in Las Vegas when the town boomed like never before and the casinos looked to broaden their audience by going "family-friendly". Once they realized Vegas would never be another Orlando or Anaheim, they moved on to other ideas (like the "adult party palace" trend started by Hard Rock & Palms).


I really think you're on to some good ideas! I don't know if any of the casinos can be convinced to invest in a giant monument now, but laser shows are certainly doable and it's not too hard to make a real "walk of fame" happen... It would probably help to style ours more like LA's, where there's a mostly continuous stretch of familiar names along Hollywood Blvd. Perhaps it would also help to do a "handprint" display like Grauman's, but with Vegas celebs like Holly Madison, Penn & Teller, Siegfried & Roy, Debbie Reynolds, and others.

And with the park, how about going beyond the pocket park and doing something spectacular? I really think SNWA was onto the right idea with Springs Preserve, but so far its biggest obstacle has been its location (Valley View & the 95, too far from "the action" for most tourists). IMHO a large "sustainable desert park" can open tourists' minds on the natural beauty and wonder of our desert, and perhaps spark enough curiosity as a "starting point" to actually to go further and see natural wonders like Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire.

June 4, 2010 9:41 AM Posted by John H.


Before we jump into platitudes about what will and will not ever be built in Las Vegas again, let's look at the following quote from Steve Wynn during Encore's opening: "I want to use our water rights to build a 30-acre lake and create the first waterfront hotel on the Strip. There’ll be a restaurant and a nightclub in the middle, surrounded by fountains."

Yes, we all know that the the cumulative effects of economy, the administration, and gang-busters business and Macau have put those plans on hold, but a water feature of epic proportions was on the horizon--and depending on who you talk to and what time table you use, could still be--for the city and the old Desert Inn golf course. I guess when you own the rights to the water table beneath your property, it doesn't quite matter what the SNWA or the more environment-minded members of the public have to say about it.

June 4, 2010 11:40 AM Posted by detroit1051

John H, thanks for reminding us of the lake. Steve Wynn talked to Steve Friess' podcast about the lake, convention center, hotels, etc in April 2008. The lake was to be twice the size of Bellagio's with the hotels and convention center overlooking it. Times have changed, so who knows when Vegas will be able to support such a development.
Wynn talks about the lake starting at approximately 28 minutes into the show:

June 4, 2010 1:45 PM Posted by Jinx

I love the topic Jeff and looking forward to reading more from you on the site. I agree there is a serious void of carnival barker in Vegas right now. Even if it wasn't an outdoor spectacle, they could use some type of 'free' attraction indoors. They've done a couple things in the last 5 years. Dealertainers, party pits, etc, which I think has helped and all casinos have copied but even something like Forum shop fountain shows might drive some traffic. I don't think we should let MGM do it though, after the whole Wizard of Oz show they had, which was pretty bad on the floor. Perhaps Phil updating or changing the Sirens might kick off some new developments.

June 4, 2010 1:57 PM Posted by atdleft

John H-

"but a water feature of epic proportions was on the horizon--and depending on who you talk to and what time table you use, could still be--for the city and the old Desert Inn golf course."

No, it won't. This isn't a platitude. This is REALITY. The entire Southwest is in a drought. SNWA has become virulently hated everywhere north of the Clark County line, where most of Nevada's remaining water reserves are (and where the local farmers and ranchers REFUSE to give up their water rights so Las Vegas casinos can build any more artificial lakes or canals). The Legislature turned down SNWA's request to overturn the Nevada Supreme Court decision blocking SNWA from the Spring Valley "water grab", so I doubt anyone in Nevada will allow Steve Wynn to build any more artificial lakes on The Strip. And no, I doubt whatever "water rights" he has would be enough to sustain a 30 acre artificial lake. I think that's why Wynn realized he's better off keeping the golf course (which probably already costs an arm and a leg to maintain with whatever water we have being so expensive).


"The lake was to be twice the size of Bellagio's with the hotels and convention center overlooking it."

As I said above, I just don't see it ever happening.

"Times have changed, so who knows when Vegas will be able to support such a development."

Most likely, never again. That's why the Strip casinos will have to look to new ideas for Strip attractions.


"but the idea of having stores outside of malls would make City Center looks more like a "City". Cafes and restaurants with tables on sidewalk, windows that could be decorated according to the season, etc etc."

This is actually quite a good idea. I don't know why the powers that be at MGM Mirage didn't think of doing Crystals "indoor-outdoor".

"I know during the summer the weather is an issue"

Yes, it is... A rather BIG issue. However, The District (a major mixed-use project connected to GVR here in Henderson) solves this problems with "misters" operating during the summer months. Perhaps CityCenter can look into this?

June 4, 2010 5:14 PM Posted by mike_ch

There will be a water feature again, though I doubt it will be that huge.

Keep in mind that even with what seems like excessive water displays, the Strip is producing more income from the city per gallon of water than any other application of it in the city.

The powers that be are not serious about saving water, it has never even so much as gently lowered it's foot on developers going mad with personal swimming pools. I've been saying for a while that more community pools combined with a moratorium on personal pools is a simple, practical step for even beginning to make people consider how they use water.

Furthermore, Las Vegas is a Company Town. atd is optimstically thinking that with enough petitions and yard signs and calls to offices, that the people who live here could somehow prevent the kings of the Strip from doing whatever the heck they feel like in this city. He will figure out who is enslaved to whom some day.

June 4, 2010 5:52 PM Posted by atdleft

Mike C-

"atd is optimstically thinking that with enough petitions and yard signs and calls to offices, that the people who live here could somehow prevent the kings of the Strip from doing whatever the heck they feel like in this city."

Again, this is NOT "optimistic thinking"... This is the Nevada Supreme Court! And with the Legislature turning down overturning the ruling, the Spring Valley is OFF LIMITS for SNWA.

"Las Vegas is a Company Town"

And Reno doesn't give a sh*t about that. Neither do the rural communities up north who have put their feet down and stopped the SNWA water grab. Steve Wynn can talk as much as he wants about putting a lake at Wynncore, but the state court and legislature have prevented SNWA from getting the water needed for Wynn to build it.

"He will figure out who is enslaved to whom some day."

Well, "The Kings of The Strip" are getting a major wake-up call on this. They can't steal their way out of this problem, and they can't buy their way out of this problem. Las Vegas will run out of water if Las Vegas' water habits don't change. And with Northern Nevada refusing to bail us out, no magical pipelines can make this problem disappear.

June 4, 2010 5:57 PM Posted by detroit1051

Water management is a serious issue, but I'm weary of Atdleft's progressive crusading. Sorry, I'm tuning out..

June 5, 2010 4:13 AM Posted by Duffman

How does a city with a lake which holds 9.28 Trillion (Wiki) gallons of water have a water problem? Also no shit Las Vegas is in a drought, its in the middle of the f'n desert, did you expect rain like seattle gets?

June 5, 2010 9:48 AM Posted by Jeff Simpson

Nevada is limited in the amount of water it can pull from Lake Mead by the Colorado River Commission and a multistate deal the state made with other Colorado River states many decades ago. California and Arizona get much bigger allotments of Colorado River water than does Nevada. See for details.

As for the discussion above about Wynn's water plans if and when he decides to build on the golf course, according to state water law he absolutely has the right to use his substantial water rights however he sees fit. (From a Wynn SEC filing from March:

Las Vegas Water Rights
We own approximately 834 acre-feet of permitted and certificated water rights, which we currently use to irrigate the golf course. We also own approximately 151.5 acre-feet of permitted and certificated water rights for commercial use. There are significant cost savings and conservation benefits associated with using water supplied pursuant to our water rights. We anticipate using our water rights to support future development of the golf course land.)

The general philosophy of most state and local officials has been that tourism-fueling water uses are a reasonable exception to drought-fighting water restrictions. That could change, but I doubt it would change in time to stop Wynn's plans if he still wants to build a big lake.

June 5, 2010 10:58 AM Posted by mike_ch

Yeah, I don't think anyone understood what I meant about water. First of all, we're going to have to do more with what we have. Secondly, the entire southwest is heading toward a catalyst further in the future.

Speaking frankly, the resorts are making more money for our water than anything else in town. Though there is a point for diminishing returns, it is in everyone's interest that water be used in say, a new excessive water display, than a new block of McMansions in McDonald Highlands or that development creeping unnervingly close to Red Rock Canyon that was approved last month. The valley needs to stop growing out. We have more distance around town than is nearly manageable and we already have enough "bad places to live" that are ripe for redevelopment that there's no reason to continue paving the desert.

I think we've gotten a bit off track, though: Not every hotel attraction needs to be about water. Previously every hotel had some Biggest/Brightest/Tallest/Heaviest superlative even if it is totally made up (like seeing the Luxor light from space, a myth stolen from the Great Wall that China admitted was only a myth when they sent their own man into orbit a few years ago.) Some hotels also brought in exotic animals, which could sort of kind of pass as a community exhibit given the fact that Vegas does not have the huge zoo/aquarium complex that most large cities do.

The themes helped in giving the hotels an identity without having to rely on a small lake of gushing water, but for some reason every time someone here says anything in support of themes a poster interprets it as a rip-off of theme parks. As though theme parks are the only place on Earth where people are entertained by people dressing funny and acting like they're different than they are.

June 5, 2010 8:46 PM Posted by Antman73

I live 10 minutes from Atlantic City, and once a year I travel across the country to go to Las Vegas. I don't go for the gambling, or the rooms, or the resturants. I can do all that and still be home for dinner. I go to Las Vegas for the Volcano, and Pirate Show, and dancing fountains, and the Pyramid, and the Castle. I made my first trip to Las Vegas in 1996, and the first thing that came to mind was Disney for Adults. As nice as these new hotels are, where is the fun? I don't care if I can open my hotel room by flashing my key in front of the door, I want something exploding, sinking or twirling around the front of the hotel that looks cool.

June 5, 2010 10:45 PM Posted by Kenny

20 years from now, I hope Vegas doesn't turn into one of those cities where all you see are huge office type buildings (like Downtown LA or Dubai) all gray and white with no character like CITY CENTER, FOUNTAINBLEAU, and maybe PH westgate.

One of the major reasons why most people as well as myself love Vegas because of its personality. Where else where you find NY, Paris and Egypt in the same place?

The new resorts built today like City Center and FB have absolutly no character. It also just ruins the Las Vegas skyline with that horrible office building look.

June 5, 2010 11:45 PM Posted by mike_ch

You know, if Aria was sitting on it's own, it would be a lot more impressive than it does sitting around a whole family of "seen it anywhere" hotels like Vdara and (the exterior of) Mandarin Oriental. And Crystals, which is like several other Liebskind buildings before it. And Cosmo, which is euugh.

Still, F-Blue is hands down the ugliest building out there. Even if it was operating. Just blocking out so much of the view from the Stratosphere is awful.

June 15, 2010 10:04 AM Posted by John

An attraction not on the strip could be a laser show...nothing like Disney, this is 2010, there have been a "few" improvements in technology over the last 30 years.

With all the marvel of Cirque du Soleil, it would be cool to have something rise from underground in front of a casino...tidal wave? dragon? Earthquake?