Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 9, 2008

The Mirage Volcano Reborn

Posted by Hunter

I was able to catch the media event for the rebirth of the volcano at The Mirage last night.

Photos from the event are here. A video is embedded after the jump.

I loved the new setup. It's so much more fun than the old version. Not only is there more fire and better music but the entire structure just looks much cooler - the rock is more natural looking and 'veins' of lava even show up when it's blasting.

The 'FireShooters' that WET Design built for this project are custom - part of the high cost is due to investing in new technology to make it one of a kind.

After being a sorta 'bleh' attraction for some time, I think this is now near the top of the list of recommended things to check out on your next trip.

For those interested, there are also a bunch of Encore and WLV photos in the gallery as well.

MGM Mirage video of the event:


Read archived comments (18 so far)
December 9, 2008 12:10 PM Posted by Brian Fey

That looks pretty damn cool. I'll never forget how I used to watch the volcano over and over right after it opened, I was just amazed. I can't wait to see it in person.

December 9, 2008 12:13 PM Posted by mike_ch

Just a video note: The first four minutes is just total PR stuff.

I saw this and a video on another site, and I think I prefer the old one. When it blew flames it had this kind of rushing roar, if you know what I mean. PSSSHEEEWWW! It's a lot more subdued when buried under a soundtrack. I guess I'll have to see it in person sometime to tell how noisy the gasworks still is.

What was particularly cute was when the show was seemingly over and it would suddenly belch a huge flame as though it was trying to surprise you. The one time I stayed at Venetian in 2001, I had a room facing the volcano and it was always fun to watch.

Still, as far as roadside attractions I'd prefer this to Sirens of TI.

It does appear that the flame nozzles rise up out of the water before a show? That should disturb any ducks away from the area.

December 9, 2008 12:17 PM Posted by Hunter

Yes, the nozzles do rise up when the show starts, similar to the Fountains of Bellagio.

The music really works with the new show, even though I am no fan of Mickey Hart or the Dead. I think someone said it was 'Survivor-esque' and I would say that's spot on. You feel like you're in the jungle.

Mike, after you see it in person I'll be very surprised if you still prefer the old one. Everyone one I spoke to there was very impressed and thought this was an improvement.

Also, the sidewalk is wider than it was and they moved some trees around so there is better viewing than before.

December 9, 2008 12:40 PM Posted by Sam

Looks pretty cool from the video. I think the drums were a good choice. It's consistent enough with Mirage's initial theme, but without being too overt. All in all, seems like a true update.

It's probably to the credit of both Steve Wynn and MGM that The Mirage is still running this strong after nearly 20 years. Nothing else that old on the Strip is even half the destination The Mirage is. I know a lot of MGM's changes are unpopular here, and I agree with some of the criticism (like that awful new sign over the South entrance). But overall, between Love, Jet, Bare, the room remodel, the aquarium upkeep and the new volcano, I'd say the property has kept up admirably without being totally reinvented.

December 9, 2008 1:46 PM Posted by Mike E

Being able to hear the music makes it 100x better. Hopefully I'll get around to seeing it in a few days.

But my favorite part was when Terry Fator crashed and burned.

December 9, 2008 1:48 PM Posted by Hunter

Fator was bad. Certainly not interested in seeing his show.

Scott Sibella also seemed incredibly awkward. You'd think the guy's never spoken in public before which I would find hard to believe as a now two-time property president.

Goodman was short and sweet - 'do we have to listen to any more dumb speeches or can we light this thing?'

December 9, 2008 2:14 PM Posted by Nico

Pretty freaking underwhelming. Where's the lava? This is just colored water (probably just lights on it) and fire puffs. They spent way too much for what they got.

December 9, 2008 2:24 PM Posted by Hunter

It almost sounds like you never saw the old one? It's a combination of fire, water, colored lights, loud noises, etc...

One thing that photos and video cannot quantify - the heat blasts from the fire, the way the music thumps, etc...

With a custom job like this, there's no way to compare costs but I think $25 million was a bargain for re-defining the resort's anchor with something that will probably be there for another 20 years.

If you see it in person and don't like it that's up to you but I think you have to see it. It's a lot of fun.

December 9, 2008 3:33 PM Posted by Joe

Wow its pretty amazing! Maybe they opened the volcano later than expected to lure customers away from Encore after it opens.

December 9, 2008 3:44 PM Posted by Tom Lanni

I agree with you. I wonder what Steve Wynn thinks about it? (cough cough- jealous!)

December 9, 2008 6:01 PM Posted by Phil

What would Sinatra be worth today if they gave Terry Fator a 5 year, $100 million dollar contract? Only in Vegas could this guy make that kinda a money. A guarantee you that here in Cleveland, OH if you put Terry Fator in a comedy club he'd be lucky to draw 30 people at $19.95 a ticket and nobody would know who the hell he is. Boy do I wish Jack Entratter was still around.

December 9, 2008 7:11 PM Posted by mike_ch

Does anybody know what the cost of the fountains in Wynn Macau are? Because they do pretty much the same thing as this: toss water around over coloured halogens while some flames are burped.

For some time I've had unspoken suspicions about MGM's financial discipline but $25m isn't too bad in the thick of things. People think Wynn is being fiscally on the ball now because he was most recently bitten for being too lavish, but he sunk $100m into that silly mountain new-age lightshow thing that most people forget is there. And I bet fewer people will see that on an average year than the new volcano.

December 9, 2008 9:16 PM Posted by chuckmonster

the lake out front of wynn macau has both bellagio styled water jets and the gasplosions. added bonus is that the soundtrack & choreography isn't the same every time (a la bellagio).

December 9, 2008 9:39 PM Posted by John

Well the mountain follows the design ideas that he was always going for with WLV: the resort is designed for its guests, not passersby. The Lake of Dreams is, really, nothing but a small divertissement for guests at SW and DB Brasserie. Yes, you get the occasional collection of people watching from either of the Parasols and the balcony by the escalators, but the show really seems to be designed for those dining on the patios at the two restaurants. At least, in my case, that is when I have really enjoyed the show.

The Volcano, as we all know, is a hook. As Wynn, himself, has said it acts like a carnival barker. It is designed to pull people into the mouse trap. Others have said that it was designed to placate people who were waiting for their cars from valet, but the attraction, like the show at TI, was designed to act as that hook. So if this is as great as has been said, it should really act as a great hook for the next twenty years.

Bellagio, as we all know, is that hybrid. The fountains were designed for both the guests and the passersby. They can be enjoyed from Picasso and they can be equally enjoyed from the Strip. The truly interesting thing, though, is that they can be enjoyed from the room as well. One of my, and I think some other people share this sentiment as well, greatest pet peeves at Wynn is the fact that the Lake of Dreams cannot be enjoyed by the guests in the tower. It is kind of neat to watch from above at times, but one never gets the same feel from it that one can get from the fountains.

December 9, 2008 10:38 PM Posted by mike_ch

John, I appreciate the post, but you have to understand I don't buy all the PR magic that Wynn will list off, and to me "designed for its guests, not passersby" is a loaded phrase that masquerades something very different. If you disagree, answer me this: Would you say that the fountains don't entertain restaurant guests because people just going by are able to see it? Does that somehow ruin the experience?

I'm pretty sure in one of these books (Winner Takes All?) I've read about a dinner in one of Bellagio's restaurants in which Steve looked at Elaine's face just as another property's LED board lit up her features in a less than graceful fashion, and if that story is true then that and the uglyness of the Frontier probably have a lot more to do with Mt. Steve than any grand vision of inclusivity. He's not going to throw 1/35th of the budget on just an idea without a reason.

December 9, 2008 10:40 PM Posted by mike_ch

Er, nevermind that question, you did pretty much answer it. Point is, you don't make that kind of financial commitment without considering all the options, and for whatever reason Wynn considered options and went with that one. Doesn't meant you can't question the judgement of it.

December 10, 2008 7:38 AM Posted by TC from Boston

The real question is does it still smell like a pina colada over there?

December 15, 2008 12:00 PM Posted by Andy S

I was worried about this (Sirens of Ti anyone) but they seem to of done a good job and it looks much more impressive than before.

Looking forward to seeing it next month.