LAS VEGAS Area Attractions
Las Vegas, Nevada
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/9/14) Cowabunga Bay Is Now Open / SLIDE POVs
(7/3/14) THe QUAD Is No More, Long Live The LINQ (MORE...)
(6/10/14) Cowabunga Bay Official Opening Date (MORE...)
(6/4/14) Hershey's Chocolate World Actually Is Open (MORE...)
Las Vegas News - (4/23/14) Deals have been signed with MGM, Cirque du Soleil and Yucaipa to bring a huge two weekend long music festival called Rock In Rio to Las Vegas every two years. It will take place in a new open air 80,000 capacity venue to be built on the strip. In addition to 100 acts performing on six stages, it will feature several attractions like a zip line over the crowd, a ferris wheel themed to look like a giant roulette wheel, city themed streets, food courts and more. The site, to be called City of Rock, will be built on 33-acres near the corner of Sahara Ave. as part of a $20 million investment. The event is already booked for May 2015, 2017 and 2019 so far.
The good news is that once built, the City of Rock venue will be available to be used for other huge outdoor festivals and events (music festivals, food festivals, UFC events, etc…).
The Rock in Rio music festival has been taking place for the past 15 years in various international locations, and will perform this May in Libson (Portugal) and feature The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Arcade Fire, Justin Timberlake and Linkin Park. If this sounds right up you alley, you’ve got time to make plans for the US debut, as tickets won’t go on sale until January 2015.
(2/20/14) The Wynn casino is offering a new unique tour this year… a backstage and behind the scenes tour of the La Reve theater a few hours ahead of showtime. Of all the Cirque style shows I’ve seen, La Reve was my personal favorite so far. Note: while La Reve is NOT an official Cirque Du Soleil production, it was created by Franco Dragone, who was the creator behind Cirque’s O, La Nouba, Mystere, Alegria and Quidam shows before he parted ways with Cirque to start his own production company. ThemeParkUniversity took the tour and shares what they saw with us.
(1/30/14) Thrillist has posted an interesting list of 10 tips and things you should know about visiting Las Vegas’ famous buffets.
(1/28/14) Heads up for any coaster fans, or those who like punishment, but the Manhattan Express coaster at the New York, New York casino is closed all week for annual maintenance. I’m told we can expect it to reopen on Saturday if all goes well.
(1/17/14) A fire broke out at the site of a two-story restaurant under construction at the Monte Carlo casino earlier this week. According to the report this was at the Double Barrel Saloon and caused about $100,000 in damage before it was put out.
(1/13/14) ThemeParkUniversity reports that the Freaking Brothers will be offering an “off season” version of the startling Victim Experience for one week in March. They promise that this version will be more intense than the previous one, and will take at least two hours to fully experience. Those willing to submit to the experience will pay in advance and will be given an exact time in which they are to arrive in their car, ALONE, to a remote location. Once on site they will be contacted long enough to sign a wavier, after which they will be kidnapped, thrown in a van and taken away for their full experience, which is called The Victim Experience: March of Death. (March 15-22).
If any readers our there are crazy enough to try this… I’d love to hear all about your experience in detail. For all the details, visit the Freaking Brothers official site.
(11/4/13) Want to know more about just what takes place within the Victim Experience at the Freakling Brothers? A reader of Theme Park University spoke with them to spill the beans and tell us all about her horrifying experience that was more intense than she expected… or at least it was before she gave the safety word and quit. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of these new “extreme” and “solo” haunt experiences, but it sounds like the Freakling Brothers have taken things to an entire new tier above and beyond anyone else. Give it a read and see what you think.
(10/29/13) Goddard Group reports that they are working on a new project in Las Vegas “based on a major international brand”. For now the project is still confidential.
(10/3/13) The MOB Attraction is leaving the Tropicanna, according to this report by the local news. The Mob Attraction will shut the doors on Nov. 3rd, though the owners report that they are in negotiations with other Strip side properties to find a new location to house the attraction, and hope to make an announcement soon.
Now just a bit of speculation… but I wonder if they are eyeballing the Goretorium location, as the haunt attraction shut down forever on October 2nd.
(9/27/13) BlooLoop reports that a new infusion of non-gaming attractions is helping Las Vegas re-invent itself, saying that market’s consumers between 21-46 demand not only quality dining, shopping and club experience, but want other new non-gaming attractions such as the new High Roller giant wheel that is now starting to dominate the Vegas skyline as part of $550 million Project Linq.
If this sounds familiar at all, you might recall a similar previous push that took place in Las Vegas during the 1990s, as several themed casinos opened their doors (Excalibur, Luxor, Treasure Island, New York-New York, etc...) along with several highly themed attraction concepts. While the themed casinos have survived, the majority of the attractions did not, leaving behind a long list that would include: MGM Grand Adventures theme park, Star Trek: The Experience, a trio of attractions inside the Luxor pyramid, Speed: The Ride at the Sahara, Race for Atlantis at Caesar’s and a handful of other small attractions and free mini-show like spectaculars. Back in the 90’s, Vegas thought they were trying to lure in the Family demographic and I’ve always felt that they gave up much too quickly on that concept when it failed to instantly bare fruit.
Now we jump ahead to 2013… 20 full years from when the indoor Circus Circus Adventuredome theme park first opened back in 1993 and we see Las Vegas is starting to build attractions once again. Want to know why? Because all those kids who did come to Vegas back in the 90’s and got to experience those fantastic attractions before they were demolished have all grown up 20 years. They’ve come back to experience the Las Vegas they remember as a child… which once had attractions, as well as get their taste of the classic 21+ and up attractions that the Las Vegas strip has always been famous for.
In a way this is a cycle that I think you can trace back to 1968 when Circus Circus first opened. I remember going on road trips with my parents as a child in the 70’s, and a sleep-over stop in Las Vegas was the highlight of some of these roadtrips. The lights and big casinos were facinating to see, but as a child what I really wanted to do was get into Circus Circus and play those midway games and win prizes to bring home. When I turned 21 in the ‘90s, Las Vegas was ready to welcome me back once again, with new fun attractions, including the Adventuredome at good old Circus Circus. As we come to the close of 2013, a new Vegas adventure is starting for the next generation… and right on time Circus Circus will lead them all with the opening of their new El Loco roller coaster in about 3-6 months.
For some Vegas has always been about the gamling… for others like me… Vegas has always been about the big attractions and spectacles. Maybe this time we can keep more of these new attractions around for the next wave to enjoy.
(7/19/13) The local news claims that an extreme sports park may be on the drawing board for the Las Vegas strip that may feature snowboarding, wakeboarding, zip lines, motocross, surfing and whitewater rafting experiences. Welcome to “Vegas Extreme” a $50 million dream that is trying to secure the financing to make it come to life. Check out the concept art here.
Late 2013 - Marvel Super Heroes 4D at Madame Tussauds - NOW OPEN -
“This was my first ever trip to a wax museum. I've never seen the point in spending $20 to look at a bunch of what are essentially mannequins. The announcement of a Marvel 4D attraction, though, gave me enough of an excuse to give it a go. To be honest, I still have no idea what the big deal is. It's a bunch of fake people that tend to look creepy all over the place. Imagine a Ripley's Believe It Or Not but remove all of the cool stuff and replace it with a bunch of extremely cheesy themed rooms with creepy fake people staring at you.
(12/2/13) A reader visited the new Marvel Super Heroes 4D attraction added to the end of the Madame Tussauds wax museum attraction in Las Vegas this week and sent in several pictures and a review of the new experience. It should be noted that while the London location also has a Marvel 4D attraction, it would see that the movie shown at the Vegas location is new and not the same film as far as I can tell. Without further ado… here’s Kyle with the review!
We worked our way through the museum fairly quickly. The Marvel attraction is the grand finale. As you'll see in the photos, it all seems pretty low-key as you walk in. There's a sign on the wall and four figures: Thor, the Iron Man suit, Captain America, and Tony Stark. According to an employee a wax Hulk will be showing up sometime next month.
Aside from the four figures there's really not much going on. There's a camera hanging from the ceiling that wasn't in use when we were there and two flat screen TVs that play a preshow video while you're waiting. (see preshow video below) The theatre holds approximately 50 people. It is a typical 4D theatre with seats and a single, front screen, not 360 degrees like the website hints at. I'm assuming they're referring to the fact that the 4D effects surround you. Good ol' buzzwords for advertising. I was hoping for something like Turtle Trek, myself, so it was a bit of a letdown.
Another lie in the advertising is that the film doesn't involved the Avengers saving Las Vegas. 99% of the film takes place inside of a Stark Industries lab around an Arc Reactor. When some walls get destroyed a city can be seen in the background but it isn't anything specific.
Still, though, the film was good fun. The runtime is right around 10 minutes and involves the Avengers (including Spider-Man!) fighting with Doctor Doom, Doom Bots, Loki, and a Frost Giant. The 4D effects were standard, a few water splashes, two or three scent effects, a thing whipping your legs, a back poker, etc. The best effects, though, were the lasers and strobes when the Doom Bots attacked.
Word of advice: SIT IN THE BACK! The first time through we sat in the third row and could really only see the screen. Any lighting and laser effects in the theatre were lost on us. Our second time through we sat in the last row and really got the full experience. The lasers from the Doom Bots, force fields, Iron Man's repulsor cannons, it was all very well choreographed and really made the experience that much better.
Here's a quick plot rundown. Spoiler alert, BTW.
The preshow talks about how Stark Industries are the leader in green energy, etc. The film opens with Tony giving a press conference for the new Arc Reactor. Peter Parker is in attendance for the Bugle. The conference is quickly interrupted by Doctor Doom and his Doom Bots who want to use the Arc Reactor for whatever evil things he's up to. Spider-Man pops in, shares some one-liners with Tony, Tony suits up, they fight Doctor Doom and the Doom Bots. Enter Captain America, Thor, and Hulk. More fighting ensues. Enter Loki. Enter Frost Giant. More fighting. Exit Frost Giant. Still more fighting. Doctor Doom wants the Arc Reactor to power his weaponized satellite. Iron Man flies to take care of it, Thor joins. Loki disappears at some point. Thor supercharges Iron Man, Doctor Doom gets frozen in a bubble, Avengers win. Hooray! Hulk Smash.
The film was a lot of fun, the 4D wasn't extremely cheesy, so I consider it a big plus for the strip. Hopefully they'll get some more figures in the preshow lobby because right now it is pretty empty.”
(11/19/13) Madame Tussauds Las Vegas has announced the completion of a two-year renovation to the attraction, including a new Marvel comics themed multi-sensory 4D theater opening on November 20th. If anyone goes to see this, I’d love to see a brief write up. According to the official description you’ll start by viewing a room full of your favorite life-sized Marvel heroes and end with a 360║ animated 4D cinema attraction where you watch the heroes battle one of Marvel’s most notorious villains in Las Vegas.
Slotzilla / Fremont Street Zipline - (4/23/14) According to this article, the Slotzilla zip-line attraction will be ready to open the lower level zip lines by the end of April. The special top level zip line will be ready about a month after the rest of it opens.
(3/14/14) While there is no official word about when the SlotZilla Zipline will be ready to open to guests, a picture taken from the top looking down the zipline at the Fremont Street Experience was posted on Facebook this week.
(1/3/14) According to Screamscape readers who have asked the Slotzilla workers for an opening timeframe, they believe it will be a couple more months at least, as they are still working on the electronics and control systems. We also have a few more pictures, taken at night this time, which also show off the backside as well as the ‘landing’ site for the ziplines.
A promotional poster also gives off a few details and stats. The Upper Zoomline will launch riders out “like a superhero” in excess of 35mph, dropping you from a height of 108 feet as you travel over 4 city blocks. The Lower Ziplines are only 68 feet tall and you will only travel 2 city blocks.
(1/2/14) A reader visiting Las Vegas took some great new pictures of Slotzilla which looks fantastic. Unfortunately, it still has not opened and so far has given no indication as to when it might be ready to do so.
(11/8/13) A reader sent in a great new picture of SlotZilla on Fremont Street taken on 11/3 and it looks incredible now, with just about all the external themeing now in place. Still no sign of the actual ziplines themselves, but I’d imagine that they would be put into place in the very near future.
(11/4/13) Slotzilla hasn’t opened yet on Fremont Street, but apparently they are planning on being able to open it at last sometime before the end of the year. You can find a great picture of a gigantic slot machine fašade already in place on the towering structure here taken in early October. Anyone have a new picture to share? The previous temporary zip-lines that ran down Fremont Street closed back in July to make way for Slotzilla, so it wont be much longer before people are screaming through the air once again.
Speaking of Vegas ZipLines… any progress reports on the VooDoo Zipline planned for the RIO would also be appreciated.
(11/16/12) The guys at CoasterCrew talked with Skyline, the people making the new perment ZipLine experience coming to the Fremont Street Experience. They are going to make a big structure themed as a giant slot machine when it opens in mid-2013. Door panels will open as the riders zip out of the tower on one level, and on the top level they will introduce a new experience where riders will be launched for the first time at the start of their ride from the top of the tower in a superman style prone position. They describe it as essentially being shot out of a canon on your flight down through Fremont Street. They expect to start construction on this new permanent attraction shortly after the start of the new year.
2014 - Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas adding Tornado Slide - Confirmed - (5/12/14) A new progress photo on the Tornado slide opening this summer at Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas can be found on Facebook.
(5/9/14) A construction from Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas showing off the park’s new Tornado slide have been posted to ThemeParkOverload.
(3/6/14) ThemeParkPOVS reports that Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas will add a new ProSlide Tornado slide for the 2014 season.
2014 - High Roller / The LINQ Hotel & Casino /
The Quad - (7/3/14) Interesting news from Las Vegas today, as Screamscape sources tell us that after trying to push the odd “QUAD” name for months, I’m told that they will now give up the name and simply rename it all as the LINQ Hotel & Casino.
While the QUAD name was said to be detested by the staff, apparently it took the realization of dwindling numbers of guests mixed with a little extra research by Caesar’s to know that the number 4 is an unlucky number in China and some other Asian cultures, to get the owners to change their mind on the new name. (Apparently the aversion to the number 4 is so bad that it isn’t uncommon for buildings to omit having a 4th floor, in much the same way that some American buildings will omit having a 13th floor. )
If that last reason seems a bit odd to you… it’s not. Taking into account the various cultural superstitions and icons of luck (and avoiding those of bad luck) is a normal part of things in Vegas. Think back to when the MGM Grand first opened and the main entrance had guests walking into the mouth of a giant lion shaped head. That was quickly changed a year or so later when they realized that was an icon of bad luck to potential Asian gamblers who were avoiding the casino because of it.
(4/10/14) A Great HD quality video has been posted by our friends at SoCal Attractions 360 showing off the High Roller ride experience. Check it out below!
(4/3/14) The High Ro
ller is now open to the public. I’m told that the current prices are $25 for a General Admission ticket where you are assigned a time to ride between 10am and 6pm, $35 for an evening General Admission ticket with an assigned time between 6pm and 2am, or $60 for an Express Pass when you can ride any time you like, day or night on the day you buy the ticket, whenever you want with Express Entry / No Waiting. I’m told there is also a $55 “3 Day Flex Pass” offer which only allows for one ride, but it can be used anytime within a 3 day window and a $45 1 Day Flex Pass version as well.
I’m told that a “Polaroid Photo Bar” opened on Tuesday (not sure just what that is) along with a Sprinkles brand “CupcakeATM”. Apparently the CupcakeATM is stocked with 600 cupcakes and you can buy 4 at a time in a gift box for $14.00.
We also have some pictures showing off the view from the High Roller. You may be surprised to see just how big the inside of those globes are, each holding about 25 people very comfortably and even offering a circular couch to sit on in the middle for those who don’t wish to stand. Before you can ride however, you will have to wander through a long queue (which has a fully stocked bar half-way through I’m told). According to one reader, the first quarter of your 30-minute ride is a little dull, as your view is blocked by the rear end of Harrahs, the QUAD and Flamingo before you gain enough height to really start to see. Afterwards, the view is said to be quite stunning during the daytime, but at night, I suspect is when a trip on the High Roller will really shine as you take in the colorful Vegas night lights.
(3/28/14) The High Roller has received it’s operating permit and is expected to open up to guests very soon, so if you are visiting Vegas, keep your eyes open.
(3/27/14) An awesome photo review of the new Brooklyn Bowl, now open at The LINQ, was posted to Thrillist that you really must see. No more crappy plastic chairs to sit in while you bowl, they’ve been replaced by leather couches, alogn with awesome food, a concert stage where live bands play, several bars and an outdoor patio. Looks like a blast.
(3/18/14) A few updates about LINQ from another local source who wanted to make some corrections to our previous posters report.
Goorin Bros is already open and selling hats
Cupcakery is not coming to LINQ, they are getting Sprinkles, a boutique cupcake store from LA.
Tilted Kilt wont be ready to open this month. The inside of the building is still very empty.
The previously reported prices for High Roller when it opens are wrong. There will only be two prices, but they have not been set yet, nor have the hours of operation for each price level been locked down. Any tickets you may see online already for sale for the High Roller are said to be fraudulent.
The opening date for High Roller has not been set either. They are hoping it may be ready by either the very end of March or more likely, sometime in April.
(3/6/14) According to a local reader, LINQ finally opened this past weekend and is said to be quite nice and should be a good place for foot traffic needed to make the Quad a success. Three casinos also have entrances into LINQ: QUAD, Flamingo and O’Sheas. Our sources has also provided a brief rundown of what is now open, what is coming by the end of March and what will open after April:
Here are the outlets that are open now... Starbucks, Purple Zebra - candy and frozen drinks, the Haute Doggery - gourmet hot dogs, KOTO - souvenir shop, Chayo - Mexican restaurant and tequila bar, Bella Scapa - clothing and accessories, BLVD Cocktail co. -martini and piano bar, Ruby Blue - gifts and accessories, Ghiradelli - chocolates and soda fountain, Chilli Beans - sun glasses and watches, Yard House - bar and restaurant & Sky Shop - High Roller gift shop.
Here are the outlets that will be open by the end of March... Squeeze - exotic juice bar, Goorin Brothers - on site custom hats made, Polaroid Photo Bar and Museum - everything pictures and Polaroid related, Tilted Kilt - pub and eatery, Flour & Barley Wood Oven Pizza - restaurant, Brooklyn Bowl - restaurant and 32 lane bowling alley and concert venue, 12AM:RUN - shoe store owned by the rapper NAS.
Here is what's opening after April 1st... Kitson - clothing store, F.A.M.E. - Japanese fusion hamburger and taco restaurant and fresh market, Sprinkles gourmet cupcakes. I have also seen an ice cream parlor but I have not heard anything about it yet.
The High Roller, the tallest observation wheel (by 9 feet, that still kills me), is scheduled to open on
March 22. They already have it lit up nightly from dusk until 4am. As you already know there will be 3 ticket prices, $25 for day rides (10am until 2pm), $30 for afternoon rides (2pm until 8pm) and $35 for evening rides (8pm until 2am).
I took a walk through video on opening weekend so you can see how this former alley between O'Sheas and Flamingo was transformed into the nice little gathering area that it is today.
(2/19/14) A couple of new video clips were sent out way showing off the High Roller wheel testing out its amazing lighting package. Check it out below or watch a second clip here. I’m told that the lights are very bright, even by Vegas standards, so you can see the wheel clearly from very far away.
(2/17/14) Screamscape sources tell us that we can expect to see LINQ open the next phase, with many shops and restaurants by February 28th. However the High Roller appears to be on track to open sometime between late March and early April at this point.
Those admiring the wheel after dark should notice the impressive light shows starting to run, as the lighting system for the wheel is currently undergoing final programming. Thanks to one of our readers for sending in some nice shots of the High Roller lit up after dark.
(11/26/13) A reader sent in some great new shots of the High Roller, now loaded up with a good number of the rider capsules, as well as a look down into the new Quad area under construction.
(11/8/13) The first cabin for the High Roller arrived in Vegas this past week and the very next day after it was spotted sitting on the ground, it was already installed onto the wheel itself and hoisted high into the sky.
(10/22/13) Thanks to a local reader, we’ve got a new look (see below) at the High Roller this week, as the wheel’s structure is complete, the extra steel supports have been removed and all the cabling is now in place. The wheel has been seen spinning lately as well, so it won’t be too much longer before they start to install the cabins.
(9/16/13) Sources tell Screamscape that the expected price of a ticket to ride the High Roller giant wheel will be approximately $20, and I’m sure there will be other more expensive “VIP” level offerings beyond that price point as well. I’m told that we can expect to see the cars being attached to the wheel over the winter months, as well as installing the lighting package followed by several weeks of testing.
A reader send in new pictures of the wheel, which has now completed installing the entire circular spine for the beast. The plan right now is to remove all those blue support beams from the inside of the structure and replace them with all the giant cables that will attach the wheel to the hub like giant bicycle tire spokes. They hope to get the first cabins on site by late October.
(9/3/13) A new incredible picture showing off the latest progress made on the High Roller giant wheel was sent in over the weekend. From the look of this latest picture, they now have about 75% of the wheel’s spine now in place.
(8/19/13) Great new pictures of the High Roller giant wheel were sent in this weekend. The wheel is simply HUGE… you wont be able to miss it once it is finished.
(7/25/13) We’ve got a new picture (see below) of the High Roller wheel going up at The QUAD. As you can see about 25% of the spine of the wheel’s outer ring is now in place.
(6/3/13) A reader returned by Vegas this week and end in the latest look at the High Roller giant wheel construction site at the end of LINQ. There is lots of blue steel in the background that may be for the wheel structure itself, as they get ready to start putting the rest of the wheel into place.
(5/22/13) While progress on the High Roller giant wheel is moving slowly, a reader did send us a new look at the current state of the LINQ shopping area which is already looking good… though the path is a big on the narrow side if things get crowded in there.
(4/29/13) I’ve got a few new pictures of the High Roller wheel under construction in Las Vegas, taken by our own Staff Member Mark a couple of weeks ago. If you think the legs for this thing is massive, wait until they start to put up the wheel structure itself.
(3/7/13) On March 1st the first phase of The Quad quietly opened to the public and one of our local readers sent in some pictures to share. From what I’m told, if you have ever been in the old Imperial Palace, the new look of The Quad is very different. Currently they are set up and running the site as two separate casinos… the new one that just opened and the remainder of the old casino, which will soon be walled up to transform it as well.
(2/25/13) I’ve got three new pictures sent in by a pair of readers this week showing off the progress being made to the High Roller wheel. From what I’m told, they are up to the height of the hub area, which will be the focus of the work for the next few weeks, which is around 280 feet tall. (Taller than the old 250 ft Skycoaster that used to sit at the MGM Grand for comparisons sake.)
(1/16/13) Las Vegas Weekly takes a up close look at what we can expect from the LINQ when it opens at the end of 2013, creating a new open-air entertainment corridor of attractions between the Flamingo and The Quad (formerly: Imperial Palace). The article also features a long list of confirmed tenants for LINQ including FAME (a 2-level Asian restaurant), Ghiradelli, something called Style Bar (combo bar & salon for women), Sprinkles cupcakes, Tilted Kilt, Starbucks and something called Brooklyn Bowl… an XL sized version of the original New York facility which mixes together a huge bar, bowling alley, restaurant and concert hall.
(1/7/13) One of our local area readers sent in three new pictures of the High Roller giant wheel going up at The Quad. From what I’m told the huge supports at already 192 feet up in the air, with a final 60 foot section needing to be added to connect to the huge central hub piece, which is also on site and seen in one of the images.
(11/30/12) Several more pictures of The Quad / LINQ construction site can be found here, showing off some interesting interal views as the walls between resorts come down to merge into a new single space.
(11/27/12) A reader has sent in a large update of construction photos showing off High Roller, LINQ and how Imperial Palace is being transformed into The Quad (which now seems to be pushing the “Q” part of the name more than “Quad” on the promotional materials. It’s kind of amazing how they are going to make use of this once narrow looking space to funnel the Tourist masses as they flow from Harrah’s, into LINQ and then into The Quad. Check it out.
(11/26/12) A new picture of the High Roller wheel and nearby LINQ mall development has been sent in by one of our local area readers.
(11/12/12) I’ve been sent another view of the High Roller giant wheel going up behind The Quad, this time from a different angle.
(11/5/12) One of our local Vegas area spies sent in a great new pictures of the High Roller wheel making a bit of progress as seen poking out from behind the back side of Harrah’s Monorail Station. In addition to the basic structure holding the loadind/unloading end of the wheel at the bottom, they’ve now connected it up to the multi-level entrance building for the attraction connected to it.
High Roller could end up being the only Giant Wheel in Las Vegas, as rumor has it that all work on SkyVue may have stopped, and construction equipment pulled off the site. Anyone else know more?
(9/21/12) It is official… the Imperial Palace is being officially renamed and given perhaps the worst name I’ve ever heard of for a Vegas casino. Say goodbye to Imperial Palace… and meet THE QUAD. Yes…. THE QUAD, where a giant “Q’ will now become the casino resorts icon. The current Asian theme will be scrapped for a generic “contemporary” look. Ummm… so it will be theme-less, generic and as boring to the eye as the rest of the Strip is becoming?
QUAD… Hmmm… nope… it just doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it? If anything you almost have to grunt when you say it… like it’s a angry word or something. I just don’t know… QUAD… nope… still don’t like it. Look for the conversion of Imperial Palace to be complete by December 2013… in the meantime I’m going to go contemplate taking a Quad.
(8/2/12) A new progress picture of steel for the High Roller wheel was sent in this week. Looks like the first sections of steel for the loading area have been put up, with the wheels giant cabins expected to slide non-stop in between.
(7/30/12) Caesars Entertainment reports that they have obtained the final permit needed to build the world’s tallest observation wheel in Las Vegas. The giant wheel that is part of the Project LINQ expansion will stand 550 feet tall and fit in between Harrah, Imperial Palace and The Flamingo casinos. With a total height of 550 feet, the High Roller will dwarf the 443 ft London Eye and just hedge out the 541 ft Singapore Flyer. It will also be taller than the 500 foot SkyVue wheel already under construction on the south end of The Strip. The High Roller will be oriented to run parallel to The Strip itself and take 30 minutes to make a round trip.
(7/23/12) Time for a little update from the Imperial Palace… what may become known as The Quad, though another reader took a survey where they asked for opinions on the use of the name Hotel 3535 instead. (WHA?????)
Whatever they are going to call it, a large crane is now on site next door for Project Linq, with large footers poured and in place for Las Vegas’ second giant wheel project. So with construction moving full speed ahead, it does look like Las Vegas will indeed really become home to two giant wheels.
(7/11/12) VegasTripping has posted some new artwork showing off the new and improved look on the way for the Imperial Palace. There is also a possible new name for the resort being tossed out on select guests ears during customer surveys… The Quad. Ummmm… yeah. The Quad. That just so does not sound like a fun place to visit. Lets hope they toss that name out in favor of something else.
(5/1/12) By the time you read this it may be too late, but a section of the Las Vegas Strip will be shut down tonight to allow for the implosion of the O’Sheas parking garage to make way for Project Linq. The implosion is planned to take place around 2:30am on May 1st.
(1/31/12) VegasInc reports that construction on Project Linq has started. According to the report Linq is expected to be open by late 2013.
(9/12/11) From what I’ve been told Caesars Entertainment’s “Linq” project across the strip from the resort is officially on the way and looking to open by 2013. The highlight of the attraction project will be the giant wheel which this article claims will be bigger than the Singapore Flyer and will take 30 minutes to make a single revolution inside one of the 40 passenger cabins. O’Sheas will be closed to make way for the Strip side entrance to Linq, which itself will be branded and linked to their existing Imperial Palace casino next door, which will also receive some needed updates. Construction will begin in 2012.
(6/1/11) I’ve got a few more details about the proposed giant wheel from Caesars. To be clear… it’s not going into Caesars… but will actually become a little development project proposed for a site across the street between Imperial Palace and The Flamingo called Project Linq. The idea is to essentially revamp the O’Shea’s site and nearby alleyway into a new pathway full of shops, restaurants, bars and other entertainment options, with a giant wheel set into the back end (near the Monorail beam) which will act as a giant visual anchor for the project.
(5/30/11) According to this article, Las Vegas has two potential giant wheel projects in the running…the already announced Skyvue and another one at Caesar’s Palace which is to be part of their overhaul to the old Octavius Tower project.
2014/2015 - NY/NY and Monte Carlo Updates - (6/4/14) Despite the fact that Hershey’s Chocolate World in Las Vegas didn’t look like it was quite finished yet, tweets from MGM Grand report that it did indeed open yesterday at the NY/NY Casino.
Pictures of the new themed store can be found at ThemeParkUniversity.
(6/3/14) Correction! Theme Park Investigators went over to check out the new Hershey’s Chocolate World outside the NY/NY Casino and unfortunately, it appears the rumors on Facebook of a possible June 3rd opening are false, as the site still appears to have a bit of work left to finish before it will be ready for guests. Follow the link and check out the pictures.
(4/4/14) The new Double Barrel Roadhouse at the Monte Carlo casino opened about a week ago and in addition to a menu full of tasty sounding food items, there are a few interesting one as well. The short list includes a crispy meatloaf that features bacon infused ketchup, something called, ‘Not Your Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie”, shrimp n’ grits, on site crafted wine coolers served in mason jars, “Pie-In-A-Jar” apple pie served a-la-mode in a mason jar and perhaps the most tasty sounding desert, Deep Fried S’Mores… a battered and deep fried version of your favorite chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker campfire treat, served with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar on top. I’ll place this near the top of my must visit list for my next trip to Vegas.
(8/2/13) New York, New York has closed their 300-seat Broadway Theater to allow for the expansion and remodeling of the entire front section of the casino opening in 2014.
(4/19/13) According to VegasChatter, the front of both New York-New York and the Monte Carlo casinos are going to get a dramatic $100 million facelift over the next few years. The goal is to create a new outdoor retailing and dining experience that will run from NY-NY all the way down to CityCenter. Included in the plans are a new 2-story Hershey’s Chocolate World flagship stone (right across the street from the M&M World no less) as well as improvements to Nine Fine Irishmen, the addition of Double Barrel (a roadhouse restaurant & bar), 800 Degress Neapolitan Pizzeria, Shake Shack along with a new peaceful park in between the two areas.
2014 - VooDoo Zip Ride at The Rio - Under Construction - (5/28/14) Video footage of riders going down the new VooDoo Zipline at the Rio can be found here.
(5/21/14) The VooDoo Zipline at the Rio has been reported as testing for much of the past week now. If all goes well and they get final approval, it could open as early as Friday. Unfortunately the reported pricing for the experience is a bit on the… insane side. I’ told that prices were posted around the casino advertising that a ride before 5:30pm would cost you 47.49 and rides after 5:30pm will cost a shocking $42.50! Ouch… at that rate I don’t see the VooDoo Zipline running for very long.
(3/14/14) A local source tells me that the VooDoo Zip Line cable may have finally been installed, running from the top of the Rio casino tower. Pictures of the cable in place can now be seen on the Voodoo Zip Line Facebook page along with a video showing off some of the installation work.
(5/3/13) Another ZipLine project is coming to Las Vegas… this one from Stan Checketts who will install the VooDoo Zip Ride at the Rio. This is reported to be a version of his Soaring Eagle attraction that will fly between the Rio casinos two towers and then back again, 350 feet in the air. The launch platform will be built onto the VooDoo Lounge’s outside deck up on the 50th floor of the Masquerade Tower.
2014 - Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas - NOW OPEN - (7/9/14) Cowabunga Bay in Las Vegas is now open and I’ve embedded a video below that shows off POV footage from many of the park’s slides, including the Surfin’ USA racer slides that feature a camelback hill just before the finish line.
(6/10/14) Cowabunga Bay has announced that the new waterpark will finally open on July 4th.
(5/28/14) A HUGE construction update showcasing the new Cowabunga Bay waterpark that will open this year in Las Vegas has been posted to the TPR Forum.
(2/5/14) Good news, construction has begun once again at the Cowabunga Bay construction site. Construction delays put last year’s start on hold and now with some new investors signed on, work to finish the park has begun once again. You can see a video report with on-site footage here, and according to Shane Huish they are on track for a May 24th opening.
(9/5/13) A better article covering what is really going on with Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas can be found here.
(8/29/13) The news about the sale of Cowabunga Bay caught me a bit off guard, but it seems there is a bit more to this. According to my sources, this is simply a restructuring of the current ownership which needed to be done in order to secure financing to finish the park. With these last pieces being put in place and financing secured, I’m told that we should see construction on Cowabunga Bay resume shortly.
(8/28/13) I’m surprised by this, but according to VegasINC the developers of Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas have now sold the property under the park for half of what they paid for it. They had confirmed this with GM Shane Huish on Friday that the 23-acre site was sold for $2.3 million to Tom Welch of Utah, who helped secure Salt Lake City as the site of the Winter Olympic games in 2002.
According to Shane Huish the sale puts the park in a good position to meet the planned April 2014 opening date still. While it will keep the Cowabunga Bay name, he would not confirm if he would stay on to manage the property. Follow the link to read the rest of the details.
(4/29/13) Some unfortunately news for those in Las Vegas who were waiting for Cowabunga Bay to open, I’m sorry to report that the park will not be ready to open until 2014. The opening has been pushed back due to construction delays caused by some difficulty in obtaining certain materials as well as a slow down caused by the discovery of ‘caliche’ in the ground during excavation. If they pushed, they could get it open by August, but it does no good to rush to open for the very end of the waterpark season, so they’ll slow down, get everything right and open it in 2014 instead.
(3/11/13) Several construction pictures showing off the formation of the lazy river, pools and infrastructure going into place for the new Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas can be found on their Facebook page.
(12/7/12) Lots of new concept artwork has been released from the new Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas, showing off the park’s great collection of slides and attractions. Including an interesting shot of the park’s racer slide, which drops below ground level and then goes uphill at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one do that before anywhere else.
12/5/12) The big announcement for Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas took place on Tuesday showing off the final layout of the new Vegas area waterpark attraction, as well as serving up all the details on the various attractions. The new Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas park will cost $23 million and feature a fun ’60 beach-themed environment on a 23 acre site at Galleria Drive and Gibson Road.
The park will have three themed areas: Aloha Shores near the kiddie play area, Surf City USA with a retro California look and a Boardwalk themed area. Attractions will include a 33,000 sqft wave pool, the first of it’s kind Wild Surf slide, a lazy river, a very tall multi-lane racing slide and more. They are planning to have it finished and ready to open by Memorial Day weekend, 2013.
(11/15/12) Catch a peek at Surf Safari, the name of that strange new half-pipe / funnel hybrid slide as seen in the layout for Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas. It will be built by Polin and I believe this will be the very first one when it opens in 2013. Check out the model on display at the IAAPA show, as posted to the park’s Facebook timeline.
(11/12/12) Screamscape has obtained some leaked layout plans showing off the new Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas waterpark opening in Henderson by late Spring 2013. Unlike the first Cowabunga Bay in Utah, the Las Vegas version will be a full sized waterpark.
From what I can tell the park appears that it will have a large water fortress / play structure that will include at least half a dozen body slides. There is also a kiddie play pool area, a tower with two larger raft slides, one of which seems to have a unique half-pipe looking feature, a wave pool, matt racers, a tube slide complex, a double sided Flow Rider stationary surf wave and instead of an old-style lazy river, it looks like they will offer one of the high speed current rivers, which are a lot more fun.
From the layout it looks like the park was designed from the start with a large number of private cabanas for guests to rent either around the wave pool or off to to the side in a quiet little area listed as an Adult Pool. I’m also happy to see that there looks to be ample room set aside for future expansion down the line as well.
(10/10/12) A news letter sent out to industry people who visited the Polin booth at the WWA tradeshow mentions that Polin is excited to announced they will be a supplier for the new 22-acre Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas park opening in May, 2013. “Plus what is most exciting is the new ride we are creating for the park. The details of the new attraction are to be announced.” It goes on to mention that the details about their new themed attraction concept will be put on display at IAAPA next month in Orlando.
(9/26/12) The local Las Vegas news has discovered that the water park project in the Henderson area will actually be a new waterpark project called Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas, as part of the partnership with Shane Huish who owns the first Cowabunga Bay in Draper, Utah.
(11/22/11) Details about a second waterpark (22 acres) planned for the greater Las Vegas area, this one in Henderson, have been posted to the Las Vegas Sun.
2014 - SLS Las Vegas - (2/19/13) The local news reports that construction will soon begin over at the former Sahara casino site on a new $400 million casino project. The reborn casino will be named “SLS Las Vegas” and you can view the official website here where they say the 1,600 room resort will open in 2014.
2017-2018 - Resorts World Las Vegas - (5/13/14) The latest news on Genting’s planned Resorts World Las Vegas casino resort is that they have been given the initial go-ahead to proceed through the process of obtaining a Nevada Gaming License and that the initial phase of construction on the 87-acre site will cost around $4 Billion, take about 3 years to open, and feature 3,000 hotel rooms, a huge casino, 30 food and beverage options, a 4,000 seat theater, a huge garden that will serve as the front entrance from the Strip, a “rooftop sky park” and observation deck from the top of the 674 foot tower (already FAA approved), a 50,000 sqft 58 ft tall aquarium, and possibly some kind of “studio tour” style attraction.
The project will take over the partially built Echelon project site, which was built on the site of the former Stardust Casino, and repurpose 80-85% of the existing Echelon structures already built. Overall the resort will have an Asian theme, with primarily bright red buildings and a Chinese Village themed shopping area. As for that rumored ‘studio tour’ attraction concept, it is being considered for a future phase of the resort and may be based on attractions and themes under construction at the 20th Centry Fox World theme park going into into Resorts World Malaysia.
As for those previous Panda Exhibit rumors... it is something that they may pursue bringing to Las Vegas, but there is a long and complicated process involved for anyone who wants to petition to the Chinese government to have a Panda exhibit.
(3/7/13) The latest word on what Genting has planned for their Resorts World Las Vegas project includes plans for a live Panda exhibit, a replica of the Great Wall of China, a 7.5 acre indoor water park, theaters and ‘other family-friendly attractions”. They hope to restart construction on the stalled Echelon site sometime in 2014 in order to get the first phase open to guests in 2016.
(3/5/13) Boyd Gaming’s grand Echelon site (formerly home to the Stardust) has been sitting idle since they halted construction back in 2008, but now a deal has been struck to sell the site to the Genting Group (known for the huge Resorts World Sentosa project in Singapore, home to Universal Studios Singapore) for $350 million. Genting will build Resorts World Las Vegas, their own $2 billion casino complex on the site that will start off with 3,500 rooms and a 175,000 sqft. casino. The plan is to open Resorts World Las Vegas in 2016 along with a 250,000 sqft retail mall and a 500,000 sqft convention center, a show theater and more. Genting will try to incorporate as much of the existing infrastructure leftover from the start of the Echelon project into Resorts World.
???? - Treasure Island Shopping Complex - Planning - (11/26/13) Bad news for Treasure Island fans… according to a Screamscape source the Sirens of TI show has now been shut down for good. The show had gone down for it’s annual “dry dock” refurbishment, but it seems they made the choice to simply not reopen it at all and fired the cast late last week.
(8/6/13) VegasINC reports that Treasure Island wants to build a three level shopping complex on their property along the Strip, which would require the elimination of a third of the Sirens of TI lagoon. The plans would allow for an extension of the wooden boardwalk as well as an entrance into the new retail area from the strip itself. The local commission will vote on the proposal this Wednesday.
???? - SkyVue Las Vegas Super Wheel - STALLED - (2/15/14) While it is clear that things don’t look good for any chance to revive the stalled out SkyVue giant wheel project, the local news did uncover an interesting extra fact. According to the report all but one of the SkyVue’s building permits have now expired, so even if they did want to restart construction, they would have to get all new permits which would take months. Once the High Roller opens down the Strip, any chance to revive SkyVue will likely be off the table for good. (Maybe they should have built a PolerCoaster on the site instead...)
(1/27/14) While crews arrived on site to remove the scaffolding around the SkyVue structure, the SkyVue developers tell Vegas.com that the project is not dead and that they are still working on it. Construction has been stalled out since October 2012 however.
(1/17/14) As reported yesterday, a crane is now on site at the former SkyVue site, and has been aiding in the removal of the scaffolding from the installed support structure over the last day or two. You can see photos of this in action posted to VegasChatter.
(1/16/14) According to a local area source cranes have arrived on site at the SkyView giant wheel construction site once again, but this time they appear to be preparing to begin taking down the partially assembled support structure.
(8/19/13) One of our readers was out in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and had a perfect view from his room of the stalled out SkyVue giant wheel construction site. As they reported in, nothing new has happened on this project in a long time. With the High Roller now forming up quickly down the street at The Quad, I’ve got a feeling the SkyVue is DOA.
(1/29/13) The local news reports that as of last Thursday, the 11 companies who had filed liens against the SkyVue giant wheel project had filed motions to have then liens discharged. Now lien-free, the SkyVue project can move ahead to complete the financing to finish the project. Giant parts and pieces under construction for the SkyVue are slated to start arriving in Vegas in May. So it looks like Las Vegas will end up with two giant wheels after all as SkyVue rumbles back to life.
(1/18/13) As rumored on Screamscape several weeks ago, the local news has confirmed that the Skyvue giant wheel project has run into financial problems, and all eight companies who have worked on the project so far have filed liens on the property totaling $5.4 million. Meanwhile Skyvue claims to be very close to securing new funding that will solve the problem and get things moving once again. So for now we wait and see.
(11/30/12) Two of our readers staying in Vegas this week have confirmed with their own eyes that the pieces of Speed: The Ride are still on site across the street near the SkyVue construction site. A new photo shows off the state of the track... looks like the blue is fading quickly in the elements.
(5/29/12) A reader just returned from Las Vegas and sent in a great photo showing off the massive SkyVue wheel project going vertical. Look carefully… see something extra in the background? Yep…zoom in tighter and you can find a huge pile of Speed: The Ride track and supports sitting in the lot just next door. Bonus!
(5/23/12) The giant columns are for the SkyVue wheel in Las Vegas are now going up. Check it out here.
(3/14/12) Concrete has started to pour this past week on the site of the SkyVue giant wheel in Las Vegas, which finally moves this project from the realm of just being an idea to being real. According to the Las Vegas Sun, who has nice pictures of the huge concrete pour job, they are planning on having the 500 foot tall SkyVue wheel open by July 4th, 2013.
(5/24/11) The latest plans for adding a giant wheel to Las Vegas have now supersized the project. According to this article, the new name is Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel, which will stand 500 feet tall (bigger than the London Eye) and open as early as 2013 as part of a $100 million privately funded project that will also include at least one roller coaster and 200,000 sqft. of retail and entertainment space.
Site clearing was said to have begun on Monday, which will also include the demoltion of a 1950’s era motel on the site. The wheel itself will offer 40 gondolas, each able to hold up to 25 passengers, and will be available to be reserved for private events.
???? - MGM-AEG Arena - Planning - (3/4/13) MGM Resorts has announced new plans to build a 20,000 seat privately funded indoor arena just behind the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos, along with their partner AEG. Look for the arena to host Boxing, MMA, other sports events as well as concerts. The new MGM-AEG arena will not affect the current plans for the UNLV Now arena, which is designed to host even larger events between 25,000 – 60,000 people. For comparisons sake MGM’s current Grand Garden Arena at the MGM Grand holds 16,800 seats, the Mandalay Bay Events Center has 12,000 seats and the Thomas & Mack Center has 18,776 seats.
???? - London Themed Thrill Park - Planning - (3/22/13) Lets say you want to build a new attraction in Las Vegas. Lets say that you have a site picked out and money burning a hole in your pocket and you are ready to go ASAP. What is the one thing above all else you absolutely should not build in Vegas right now? If you said another “Observation Wheel”, you are correct!
That said... that is exactly what a new group is proposing to do. According to the Las Vegas Sun a group approached the zoning commission with plans this week to build something called The London Thrill, which could be the third such Observation Wheel in Las Vegas (if the stalled SkyVue project comes back to life across from Mandalay Bay). There is good news with this project however... as the London Thrill is just “one component of an entire park” to be constructed on the east side of the Strip, south of Harmon Ave, on a site currently being used by a few retail stores, a parking lot, a McDonalds and Tasti D-Lite (see it here). The entire mini-park project, estimated to cost $50 million, would be given a London theme. As for their zoning request... it was approved. Lets wish them luck and I hope to find out more about this “London themed thrill park” soon.
The Sad State of Themeing In Las Vegas - (8/6/12) Looking back through some old news, it kind of hit me once again how sad and generic Las Vegas is becoming. While I’ve never been the kind of person to think Vegas should have been full of theme parks and kids in strollers, I always felt Las Vegas itself was like a giant theme park for adults. Instead of themed lands, there were themed casinos featuring themed rides and attractions spread out here and there, in between the shows and ringing sound of the slot machines.
There was Egyptian World (Luxor), Medieval World (Excalibur), Adventore World (Tropicanna) Roman World (Caesar’s), Pirate World (Treasure Island) Circus World (Circus Circus), and so on. Even if the theme of the resort wasn’t clear, there were many themed elements all around to enjoy, such as the lush oasis of the Mirage, the top notch Star Trek: The Experience hidden within the Hilton, along with their cool Sci-Fi themed casino room. The rides and sounds of Nascar over at the Sahara, the vertical thrills of the Stratosphere Tower, the huge themed indoor mall of the Aladdin, the incredible aerial Mardi Gras parade at the Rio, water fountains of the Bellagio, the city scapes of New York, New York, Paris and the Venetian, not to forget the old MGM Grand Adventures park. Even the Las Vegas Monorail joined into the theme park style fun, featuring one train that was themed as if it was taken over by The Borg (Star Trek villain), with themed dialog recordings on board along with the occasional ride-along characters taking a spin from Star Trek: The Experience. Once upon a time I’d say that the themed casino elements outweighed the old style serious gambling only casinos, but over the years more and more themeing has simply been dropped in favor of more generic casino space and resorts. While Luxor may look the same on the outside as it did so many years ago, a quick trip inside will tell you things have completely changed and the heart of the once themed resort has been ripped out.
Over the past few years the big movements in Vegas has been all about new shows and the building of generic time-share and condo towers far too close to The Strip as well as the rise of new unthemed resort clusters like City Center. Many such projects have stalled out in famous ways due to the economic depression, but there is life still pumping into Vegas in the form of some new attractions at last. In perhaps a reversal of everything that was wrong with Vegas, we now see the city giving birth of two epic Giant Wheel projects on opposite ends of the strip. The Stratosphere has not stopped adding new thrilling ride experiences to the massive tower with last year’s addition of Sky Jump, the most frightening thrill ride in Vegas letting guests plunge 108 stories to the ground and even the name Wet ‘n’ Wild seems poised to leap back into Sin City next year.
Before that however we will see Eli Roth’s Goretorium open on Sept. 27th on the Strip. According to the press release, The Goretorium will be open year round and promises to create the most intense live terror experience a person can have. “The multi-level maze of frights submerges visitors into the tale of Sin City’s most deadly mythical hotel and casino, The Delmont. The self-guided horror experience begins in the lobby of the Delmont and unveils gruesome and ghastly sights of past hotel guest victims and the serial-killing family behind the deeds at every turn. Employing high-tech Vegas showmanship with old-fashioned scares, the terrifying labyrinth of live actors, animatronic frights and stunning special effects is contained in a vintage hotel setting that rivals Hollywood’s best movie sets.” Look for it across the strip from City Center off Harmon. Goretorium will also feature a themed bar called Baby Dolls, which will feature caged zombie go-go dancers with periodic live feedings! There will also be a unique horror themed retail shop and an event space with it’s own private bar called Bloody Mary’s.
I’m hoping this is just the beginning. The start of another beautiful wave of themed entertainment to hit Sin City. What I’d really love to see is the rebirth of the massive Star Trek attraction that was ALMOST built in Las Vegas years ago. Designed by The Goddard Group, we would have seen the construction of a scale recreation of the Starship Enterprise itself, dry-docked on the Las Vegas Strip down at Fremont Street. You could board the Enterprise which would have served as a themed hotel, casino and attraction all in one. In the end the idea was nixed by a shortsighted exec at Paramount, but you can still check out the artwork and ready the story how this attraction almost made the leap off the drawing board here. I’d still love to see it brought back… I know I’d make the trip to Vegas to see it. Otherwise the Vegas of today has gotten just a little too generic.