March 1st, 2022
Spring had sprung in Las Vegas and we had some really big plans for today. But the morning was pretty relaxed. We used a MyVegas 2 for 1 on the Bellagio buffet to check out how it was bouncing back after the Pandemic Shutdown.
The Bellagio Buffet is one of our TOP picks for Las Vegas Buffets so we wanted to get back and see how it is doing.
The Buffet is only operating a Brunch Buffet at the minute, open from 8 am-3 pm. We really hope they move back to a dinner opening soon but for now, it’s Brunch, which means both breakfast and dinner items at the same time.
With Jet Lag still being an issue and us not really knowing if we wanted breakfast or lunch this kind of worked perfectly and we helped ourselves to a real mish-mash of flavors. Trying lots of small amounts of many dishes.
The Buffet is priced at $59 weekend and $49.99 midweek and with the BOGO from Myvegas this turned out to be one of our best value meals of the week! We toyed with the idea of the $24.99 bottomless drinks but felt we had too much planned later to smash the Mimiosas too early!
Instead, we just stuck to the soft drink options which are included and gorged on cold seafood starters, breakfast items including pancakes sausage, and bacon, and attacked the dessert station with abandon.
Stuffed we then went to explore the strip a little to walk off the indulgence.
First, we visited the Bellagio Conservatory to check out the spring displays. These were wonderfully springlike and the air filled with blossom and aromas. We then headed out past the Lagoon and across the Strip towards the Linq Promenade.
We took a shortcut through the Flamingo to visit the Wildlife Habitat one of our favorite little secrets in vegas and one of our top things to do for free. We then headed to the Linq Promenade. We had intended to book tickets for the Highroller for tonight but the Box Office was closed so we just hoped we could get walk-up tickets later.
We then strolled back across to the Bellagio, with a short stop at the Bird Bar at the flamingo which was disappointing as it used to be really cheap but cost nearly $30 for two drinks! We then headed back to the room to get ready for the main event!
Maverick Sun Dancer – Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour at Sunset
We had booked a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour as a bit of a treat and a way to really celebrate getting back to the States after such a Hiatus. The prices are really competitive at the moment as the companies bounce back from the pandemic.
Maverick has always been one of our Top Picks as they offer great service, affordable prices, and modern and well-maintained Aircraft. It really was a chore picking a tour as we really wanted to combine a heli-tour with the West Rim, to check how things are going up there, but in the end, it would just cost us too much of our day. Instead, we decided to pay the extra for the Sunset Tour and get some beautiful light and color as we visited the Canyon.
We arranged Pick-up from the hotel with Maverick which is included with the price, we were very sure to 100% find out where the pick-up was from as last time out they messed us around and nearly cost us our flight. But there was a specific tour pick-up area in the bowels of the Bellagio so successfully met the Bus there.
Pick-up was for two hotels, us and Paris across the street so we were heading straight for the Airport and MAericks base in no time at all. Once there things were very busy, MAverick operate their flights in pretty large groups with 7-8 helicopters taking off nearly simultaneously. This is for operational reasons, but it means most passengers arrive at the same time. Because of this, there is quite a queue for check-in but it all moves quickly enough.
You then have a short wait until the Pilots arrive and start the boarding process. We were grouped into a group of 6 and headed out to the Aircraft with the Piolet who assigns the seating. Maverick only flies the latest Eco-Star helicopter (officially the Eurocopter EC130). These are modern and reliable aircraft purpose-designed for touring. You get good views from all seats but depending on the terrain and when the sights are you get better views in some seats than others.
On the Strip tours, most companies offer this is a huge problem as the Helicopters fly up the strip with the view out to the left, and then back down the strip with the view still on the left. This is due to FAA requirements. But it leaves the right-hand seat passengers feeling pretty short-changed.
This is not a huge issue on the Grand Canyon tours as the sights are pretty varied and all around. You fly into and through the canyon so all sides get a pretty good view. The Pilot also rotates the Cabin, so everyone gets to sit in every seat, as there are three stops you get great views where ever you are seated.
For us, we were back right for the start of the Trip. which gave pretty poor views for the first leg of the trip. We took off with the strip out to our left so the passengers seated on that side got the best views with the passengers upfront getting the best views of all.
The Helicopters then fly out to the canyon in Convoy over the barren Mojave wastelands. You fly over The Lava Butte, Lake Las Vegas, and then out over the stunning Shimmering Blue waters of Lake Mead. Again with the low sun to the right the views were definitely best out to the left. But it was still stunning.
The route then takes in Hoover Dam and here some clever piloting gets views of the dam on both sides of the Chopper. We then started rising up and clipping pretty closely to some ridgelines and some awesome low-level flying.
This is one long flight over 45mins in length and while it’s scenic and enjoyable, you can’t help thinking the CAnyon would be closer. As you approach the canyon the ground really starts rearing up on both sides and there are awesome views all around. You pass river the disused airport where we did some pretty extreme flying a few years back and then past the Grand Canyon West Skywalk. Finally, as the aircraft passes over the Rim edge we plunge down into the canyon for our landing at the bottom after a few minutes of flying along inside the canyons walls.
After touching down you are given some time to explore the landing site. There is not much to do here other than ogle at the beauty of the canyon. A lot is said negatively about the West area of the Grand Canyon, a lot of it is true when compared to the South. But there is still no doubting its beauty. And in the low orange sunlight, it was really beautiful.
The Pilot craked out the Champagne and despite the disappointment of plastic glasses, better than smashed ones we guess, there was a liberal serving of bubbly to enjoy as we took in the stunning canyon. There were a few snacks such as nuts and crisps as well but we mainly stuck to the bubbly. Our pilot was very generous with the pours and we went through 2 bottles and one couple only had one glass so it was pretty generous really.
After 30 mins exploring the overlooks, copious selfies for all parties a few glasses of bubbly and some chatting with the pilot we reboarded the Helicopter. We were to be seated in the front for this leg which are possibly the best seats and we would be there for the shortest leg. But we had chatted with the pilot and this would suit us best as this leg had some epic Canyon flying and this would be experienced best in the front. and for the last leg, we would then be on the left, ready for the return to vegas and the best views of the strip.
As we took back to the skies the next few minutes were incredible. We soared through the canyon, with the classic Vietnam Antham “Fortunate Son” blasting in the headsets! Great fun. We then lifted out of the canyon and unfortunately this section of the flight was plagued by the low sun in our eyes before we got to our second landing site, which was nothing but a Fuel Stop and a reshuffle.
After 5-10 mins taking on some juice, we were back into the aircraft for a low flight back towards the City over the Bowl of Fire, a smaller and less Valley of Fire. And then back towards the City as the light faded, offering stunning views of the strip as the sky-colored up behind it.
It really was a wonderful tour and while far from inexpensive these are the sorts of once-in-a-lifetime moments that really are worth paying for.
Yellowtail – Sushi Restaurant
Once back at the Hotel, Maverick also includes return transportation in the price, we got ready to head out once more. The evening would begin at Yellowtail. This is Bellagio’s high-end Sushi restaurant owned by Akira Back an Iron Chef and Protege of Masaharu Morimoto, himself a student of Nobu Matsuhisa whose influence is clear on the menu.
We ordered fairly lightly as the menu was extremely pricy, but we just couldn’t miss dining by the fountains and had agreed to have at least one Expensive Sushi dinner on this trip (Our attempts to get reservations at Nobu Malibu, later on, were seeming to come to nothing). We were recommended the Sushi Pizza which was interesting but was a little too much like sushi on crakers.
The Popcorn Rock Shrimp is our go-to dish at high-end sushi restaurants and was utterly delicious and really filling, it was a really sizeable portion. Finally, we ordered two Cut Rolls, a mile-high Special Crab Roll, that was topped with Sashimi, and a Bluefin Toro Roll, both excellent.
These were all washed down with two stunning cocktails, a Dragonheart and Kate FAvourite, a Lychee Martini. We were seated next to the fountains and had a really wonderful evening.
The High Roller
After the Sushi, we headed back over to the High Roller to use another of our Go City Pass Attractions. The Pass only covers Daytime Rides on the HighRoller but you are able to upgrade to either the Nightime or Happy Half Hour. We just went with the nighttime ride as it had been a long day.
We spent the next 30mins enjoying more stunning views of the strip from one of the highest vantage points in Vegas.
We then headed back to the CAsino to attempt to claw back some of the evening’s expenses on the Casino Floor. We had our $100 Bellagio Free Play loaded and were ready to rock. Unfortunately, things did not go as well as last night and with $50 down we had little to show for it. Finally, we ended up back at the exact machine, a Zeus God of thunder machine, that had been nice and lose the day before.
Again this machine ran nicely and we turned the last $50 into $100 turning the whole $100 Freeplay into real money. Still not enough to cover the Sushi, however!
#It had been a long and eventful day, one that was pretty much highs all day, but it left us pretty exhausted.
Go Explorer Pass – Running Total
Just the one evening attraction today to add to the list, but it takes the value of attractions soaring over face value. It’s nice you can upgrade the tickets as the night experience really is something special.
- Madame Tussauds – $37
- Rock Star Club tours – $99.00
- The High Roller – $35
Total – $171 – 3 Attractions
5 Attraction Pass – $119
Walking Total – 19,662 Steps – 10.1 Miles
It was the two trips over to the Linq that had racked up the steps today. For large parts of the helicopter tour, we were motionless but the repeated trips even just across the road really rack up those steps.