Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 2, 2011

A Mini-Vegas time capsule

Posted by daveschwartz

A little while ago, I had the pleasure of doing a few guest lectures at San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!). While I was down there, I took my family to Legoland and was amused to finally see the MiniVegas that's been built there.

You'll get my blocky explanation right after the jump.

Miniland, which features recreations of a few Great (or at least distinctive) American Cities (Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, "Southern California," and "New England Harbor Town") is a discrete part of Legoland California, where most of the rides are standard amusement park rides and are not made out of Legos, though there is also plenty of Lego sculpture scattered around the park.

The road to Miniland runs through the Block of Fame, a sculpture gallery that features great personalities of history rendered entirely in Legos. You've got George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein...and this guy:

Mr. Mustache

At first I wasn't sure exactly who he was, though I had a sneaking feeling that it was, in fact, Adolph Hitler, and the theme park had just Godwinned itself. But upon closer examination I saw that it was Salvatore Dali, a curious choice, to say the least.

Once you're in the Miniland section, you can roam around and look at the various cities recreated. Naturally, I was drawn to Las Vegas quite quickly.

The first thing I noticed? They haven't given the Tropicana the South Beach treatment yet:


Although I'm curious as to why the Tropicana is even featured and, for example Wynn Las Vegas isn't. Answer? Miniland debuted in 2004, before Wynn Las Vegas existed. But I still don't know why the Tropicana made it in over the Riviera, Stardust, Frontier, or Sahara. Or, for that matter, Caesars Palace.

Here's a better shot of the Tropicana with MGM Grand in the background. Look, Ma--no building wraps! This must be 2004.


And look--there's no Nikki Beach, either. Maybe this is the future of the Trop as well as the past.

Tropicana pool

And how about some other Strip resorts? Here's The Mirage:

The Mirage

Again, nice pool area, with no dayclub in evidence.

And the pre-Venezia (let alone Palazzo) Venetian:


Luxor and a bit of Excalibur:


And a shot looking "north" from Russell Road:

The Strip

Note the paint job on Treasure Island and the Stratosphere in the distance.

Do you think there's any chance Tom McCartney will be heading down to Carlsbad with a can of South Beach White paint to give the Tropicana a refresh? They claimed to be "changing everything," but this is one thing that remains unchanged.

Quasi-seriously, I wonder if and when MiniVegas is going to get an update. It'd be nice to see Wynncore take its place in miniature, and to see CityCenter and the Cosmopolitan rendered in Legos. Maybe the LVCVA would be interested in paying for the refresh--after all, it would make the news and it would remind people that, in case they haven't visited since 2004, there's tons of new stuff.

Maybe they can even get Hunter to create a RateMiniVegas app.


Read archived comments (4 so far)
October 2, 2011 12:30 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Damn, I want one! Seriously, what size mini Strip could someone make and sell for about $200, and how many of us (yes US. The fellowship of Vegas addicts) would buy one? Besides me

October 2, 2011 1:19 PM Posted by socalduck

Where are the Lego-sized porn slappers and condo salesman? If they add CityCenter, do you include Harmon?

October 3, 2011 12:43 PM Posted by Phil

I looked into creating a replica of the old Dunes sign for my den in legos and it was something like $400.00-500.00 based on a 14"-16" size from a "professional" lego constructor. I looked into creating an actual working Dunes sign constructed of mini neon and that was about $3,000. This stuff ain't cheap.

October 4, 2011 6:20 PM Posted by Arthur

I'm actually surprised that the various casinos don't have mini-structures or puzzles for sale in their gift shops or whatever to build a small replica of their casinos. I think it makes a great suvenior gift and I will bet many tourists will buy it to build the replica to keep as a memory for their trip. I could see a casino making a deal with Lego to make the replicas so they could sell them. Also, a long time ago, a company called "Puzz 3D" used to make 3D puzzles of famous landmarks. Im surprised none of the casinos were included in there. Perhaps it is time they make one?