LAS VEGAS Area Attractions
Las Vegas, Nevada
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(3/18/2023) Caesar's Files Permit To Demolish Rotunda
(3/11/2023) Las Vegas Convention Center To Sell 10-Acre Site On Strip To New Developer / High Speed Rail Is Coming To Las Vegas
(2/15/2023) Mirage Dolphins Sent Home and U2 Confirmed For MSG Sphere
(2/13/2023) MSG Sphere Sets Opening Timeline and More (MORE...)
(1/20/2023) Game of Thrones Dragons Attraction Coming To Las Vegas (MORE...)
(1/12/2023) Universal To Build Year-Round Halloween Horror Nights Attraction in Las Vegas (MORE...)
Las Vegas News - (3/18/2023) According to the local news Caesar’s Palace has filed for permits to demolish the large Rotunda structure that sits directly in front of the Las Vegas Strip right across from the entrance to the LINQ promenade. The plans to remove the Rotunda also include the demolition of the rest of the surrounding landscaping, statues and an obelisk.
So far Caesar’s has not commented on what their future plans are for the site, but I could see the site combined with the small parking lot nearby to allow for the building of some kind of new building that could house a new restaurant or other attraction.
(3/11/2023) According to the local news the Las Vegas Convention Center Authority has made an initial deal with a buyer to pick up a 10-acre parcel property on the former site of the Riviera that they didn’t develop, right at the corner of the Strip and Elvis Presley Blvd. If the deal is approved and finalized, the property located right across the Strip from Slots-A-Fun and Circus Circus would be sold for approximately $125 million to “65LVB LLC”.
The team behind the buyers is led by Brett Torino and Paul Kanavos. Torino has a history of developing entertainment and retail centers while Kanavos is a developer of luxury real estate projects and high end hotels, including Ritz Carlton properties.
(1/9/2023) Spiegelworld, the producers behind several Las Vegas productions on the Strip have apparently purchased an entire nearby desert town with the idea of creating the “world’s first ‘Circus Town’.”
Ok… my first thought is, “Have they never heard of Gibsonton, Floirda?”
Beyond that, the local news says that Spiegelworld has purchased the desert town of Nipton, California and has plans to revive the area and transform it into the center of their company’s global operations. Nipton is a bit off the beaten path, located just across the California / Nevada stateline just south-east of Primm. As you might imagine, there really isn’t much there at all, just a tiny speck of minimal development in the middle of the desert where the railroad tracks happen to cross through the town before heading towards Primm from California.
Spiegelworld hopes that their ‘Circus Town’ vision will create a “living town” where artists and performers will come to live, create, and dream. To experiment and perfect their crafts in preparation for joining their Las Vegas shows.
(1/8/2023) Screamscape sources tell us that several Las Vegas shows have come to an end with the closing of 2022. The list includes:
Bat out of Hell at the Paris - Themed to the music of Meat Loaf, just opened in October
Extravaganza at Bally’s / Horseshoe - Classic style Vegas revue show
Reckless in Vegas at the Saraha - Classic songs performed Rock style
Plus the long running “Legends in Concert” at the Topicana.
Now according to The Street, “Freestyle Love Supreme’, a musical and comedy show from Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Venetian will end it’s run on Jan. 29th.
(12/29/2022) A new attraction is coming to The Strat in Las Vegas in 2023. Construction is already said to have begun to build “Atomic Golf”. Yes… Atomic Golf and on the surface is kind of seems like they are building their own version of a Top Golf interactive driving range attraction that will stand four stories tall and feature 103 hitting bays. In addition they promise it will feature a whopping four bar areas (one for each floor I guess?), meeting space, a 12,000 sqft “Astrocade” play area and more. From what I’m told this is going into the cleared out lot on the North side of the Strat complex. I’ve also seen the complex referred to as “Atomic Range” and there is another website under that name that features some better aerial artwork of the site showing off the location better. I haven’t heard anything, but they could just be covering bases with both names in case there is some kind of objection to one name over the other from someone like Top Golf.
(12/26/2022) According to an article by Vegas Advantage, the Buffalo Bills hotel and casino in Primm, Nevada (right at the California state line) has now “permanently reopened” as of Dec. 23, 2022. Built as just one resort out of three that was once the “Primadonna Resort” properties, hard times and new owners over the last several years took to shutting down the resort for extended periods of time.
Going forward, it now appears that Buffalo Bills will be the primary business focus of the group and that many of the gambling assets and games from the other two have been moved into Buffalo Bills, including a variety of popular table games. According to the article, a rep from Buffalo Bills also confirmed that Buffalo Bills will be the only hotel rooms offered in Primm, and that they have renovated those rooms. They were not planning to open any rooms at Whiskey Pete’s or Primm Valley Resort unless they are needed due to an increase in demand.
But what about the Desperado or any of the other amusement park rides? Unfortunately none of them are open according to the report. The entrance to the Desperado coaster and the log ride were being used as an arcade at the moment. A frog hopper ride is also still sitting on site, but is not in use. All questions about the status of the rides and amusement park section of the resort were given a “no comment” style response, so they just aren’t willing to talk about it yet.
The good news is that they aren’t yet confirming that the Desperado is closed for good, and with the business focus on making Buffalo Bills their main property, the roller coaster was always meant to be an attention grabber to lure in tourists. The towering yellow roller coaster track that breaks out of the top of the bright red casino building that then spirals all around the property can be seen by motorists on the freeway from very far away. It always was quite the attention getter and as long as Desperado is still deemed to be safely functional, I can only hope that the current owners would give it a shot at life once again.
(11/6/22) Change is always the way of things on the Las Vegas Strip, but despite some rumors as of late claiming that Caesars Entertainment may be considering selling off their Flamingo casino resort, the CEO says this is not true. According to a report on Vital Vegas, Caesars CEO, Tom Reeg, went on record during the company’s Nov. 1st earning call to say that “We intend to keep all of our Strip assets as we move forward.” From the sound of things, the profitability of the Flamingo as a property has only increased while climbing interest rates makes things more difficult for potential buyers to raise the needed funds to make such a large purchase.
Of course as Caesars is always locked in a war for control of the strip against MGM who has been shedding several of their own properties in recent years, including The Mirage, Treasure Island and Circus Circus, to me it would make more sense to keep all the valuable strip properties you have in your portfolio going forward.
(10/16/22) According to Vital Vegas the Criss Angel “AMYSTIKA” show at the Planet Hollywood casino is shutting down for good tonight. According to a release AMYSTIKA, will be leaving Planet Hollywood with the plan of turning it into a touring show for international locations. Of course, since the show apparently struggled to find an audience in Vegas, there is no reason to believe the show will fair much better on the road after the final performance takes place tonight.
This is not to be confused with Criss Angel’s MINDFREAK show, as that production will continue to perform at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday through Sunday nights. While I personally haven’t seen “AMYSTIKA” or even “MINDFREAK” myself, our local coverage guy with boots on the ground in Vegas tells us he wasn’t surprised at the closing of AMYSTIKA, as their own brief one-word review of the show found it to be simply “Boring”.
(8/28/22) While nothing has been decided, it is starting to look like the Oakland Athletics baseball team just might be relocating to Las Vegas at some point in the future. The LV Review-Journal reports that team officials were in Vegas earlier this month to meet with Phil Ruffin about building a new baseball stadium on the north end of the Vegas strip. Reports say they are likely talking about the 37-acre piece of property used as the Las Vegas Festival Ground site on the south-west corner of the Strip and Sahara Ave, but apparently there have also been talks about building it at the Tropicana on the southern end of the strip as well.
Currently the team is also in talks in their hometown for a $12 billion mixed-use stadium project as well, as after losing the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas, I’m sure the city doesn’t like the idea of losing their baseball team to Vegas as well. Meanwhile Major League Baseball is backing the team’s effort to get a new stadium somewhere as they view the current stadium is no longer a viable option for the future of the team. MLB has gone so far as to grant the team permission earlier this summer to move the team if necessary, along with the added benefit of not charging them a costly “relocation fee” if they opt to go that route. That dropping of the “relocation fee” is a bigger benefit than you might think, as the NFL charged the Raiders $375 million when they moved from Oakland to Las Vegas.
(8/24/22) According to reports the New York, New York Hotel & Casino has announced a $63 million project that will upgrade and remodel all guest rooms and amenities (1,830 rooms and 155 suites) at the resort. Work will begin soon and take until the Summer 2023 before the entire project is complete. The first renovated rooms are likely to be available to guests before the end of the year however.
According to the details, the room redesigns will feature new details intended to give them more of a New York City style touch such as featuring exposed faux brick walls, and accent colors in Big Apple Red or Taxi Cab Yellow. Expect more touches of technology to be added to the rooms such as USB/USB-C power outlets and charging shelves.
(7/23/22) TheStreet reports that Red Rock Resorts, the owner of the various Station Casinos, is closing three of their properties shut down in 2020 for good rather than reopen them. Specifically the Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson casinos are now officially not only closed for good, but plans are in the works to demolish them, freeing the combined 107.5 acres of property up for various future development projects. The company feels that following the 2020 COVID shutdown their customers have since moved on to enjoy other nearby Station properties instead such as the Santa Fe Station, Wildfire, Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch locations.
New plans for the sites have not yet been announced, but the company is currently in the process of building another Wildfire branded casino in the downtown Fremont Street area that will cater to the “locals” market rather than tourists. The company is also working on plans to build a large scale $750 million casino called the Durango Hotel & Casino in South-West Las Vegas.
(7/21/22) According to the local news the Las Vegas Mob Museum located in the downtown area has agreed to purchase a nearly 30,000 sqft piece of land located directly next door that will allow for the museum to expand. The current museum has been open for the past 10 years and describes bringing in over 1,000 guests a day to be a success thus far, so they are looking forward to growing and increasing what they can offer in a larger facility.
(7/17/22) In response to an reported increase in violent crime the Las Vegas Metro Police Department has increased their presence around the Fremont Street Experience, along with the addition of metal detectors, bag ang ID checks, and a complete ban on anyone under 21 from entering after 8pm. They noted there had been an increase in violent crime in the area as of late, including two shootings and a homicide on Fremont Street. After the first weekend of the increased security the police department reported stopping 355 people form entering, making 13 felony arrests and the seizure of four firearms from people who were trying to enter Fremont Street.
The troubles in Vegas are not just limited to Fremont Street however, as the panic broke out near the MGM Grand’s valet area last night, with reports coming in about a possible shooting. The Las Vegas Metro police however confirmed that the reports of gunfire “are unfounded” and that a panic was started as a large glass door shattered and startled people nearby.
(3/17/22) According to Vital Vegas a new casino may be planned for the strip on the former site of the Harley Davidson Cafe, currently the Tex Mex Tequila Bar & Grill. According to the rumor the new casino planned for the site may be owned by Tilman Fertitta, owner of Golden Nugget and the Landry’s restaurant chain. While the size of the plot isn’t huge, they point out that it isn’t much smaller than the site the Cosmo sits on, which simply just went taller to make up for the smaller footprint.
(2/11/22) The Las Vegas Loop, a future planned network of connected underground transportation tunnels, took a major step forward this week when the Boring Company tunneling machine finished the latest tunnel connecting the system at the convention center to the new Resorts World casino! After connecting to Resorts World the next stop will be to connect to the Wynn Casino.
After that, things are a little more unclear, but the idea behind the concept is to eventually connect to all the casinos up and down the Las Vegas Strip and eventually, even connect to the airport someday. Currently only the Wynn and Resorts World have agreements in place with the Boring Company to expand the system started at the Convention Center, but as things progress I anticipate more casinos to jump on the waiting list before too long.
(1/29/22) Just a few days ago we learned that sometime this year we will be saying goodbye to the Bally’s casino name in Las Vegas. But would you believe that a brand new Bally’s casino could rise in Las Vegas in the not too distant future? According to this update the new owners of the Tropicana (which are the new Bally’s Corporation, who bought the Bally’s brand name from Caesars awhile back) reveal that they are considering a total demotion of the Tropicana Las Vegas property.
While they have not totally decided what to do with the Trop, they have said that “whatever happens, the new property will likely be reimagined and renamed, ‘Ballys’”.
This says nothing about having a new Bally’s casino on Tropicana Ave. may be a little confusing for awhile, but then those who remember Las Vegas history will remember that the current Bally’s wasn’t always named that either. That site started out as the original MGM Grand in 1973, which famously caught on fire in 1980 resulting in 97 deaths. The old Bally Manufacturing company (maker of slot machines, pinball and video games) bought it and renamed it Bally’s in 1986. .
Fall 2022 - FlyOver Las Vegas: Winborne: The Call of the Canadian Rockies - (9/3/22) FlyOver Las Vegas has announced that they will launch their third feature flight film, “Winborne: The Call of the Canadian Rockies”, on September 26th. Dreamed up by parent company Pursuit, the new attraction will be shown in stunning 8K high definition on a 52.5-foot spherical screen. “Featuring incredible footage captured in remote areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the film spotlights areas unreachable to most, providing a rare glimpse into the most isolated and untouched areas of the mountain range. Las Vegas visitors will explore Canada’s snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, picturesque valleys and dramatic vistas as they travel over Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks amongst other spectacular locales. ”
“ The attraction uses a state-of-the-art moving platform with six degrees of motion that enables guests to feel every sweeping movement of the journey. Special effects including wind, mist and location-specific scents heighten the immersive flight ride as guests hang suspended with their feet dangling above snow-capped peaks, isolated and untouched areas of the mountain range and turquoise lakes.”
Check out the trailer for the new attraction experience below and if you haven’t read it yet, be sure to read Screamscape’s official review of the original FlyOver Las Vegas experience on our Features page.
Fall 2022 - ESCAPE IT - (4/14/22) Egan Productions will bring another famous Hollywood horror IP to life as an Escape Room concept in Las Vegas very soon. After creating the Escape Blair Witch and SAW Escape Rooms, they are now hard at work creating ESCAPE IT. Yes… IT… as in Pennywise the clown from the two popular IT feature films. According to the official website, the new ESCAPE IT experience is planned to open this fall and according to reports the experience will span more than 30,000 sqft and feature more than 20 different interactive rooms that players will have to search for clues to fight off Pennywise. Expect to be taken into locations from the films such as the Losers’ Clubhouse, the Neibolt House and into the dank sewers under the city.
Details are slight at the moment, but it sounds like there may be two entirely different experiences to try out, likely one themed to the adventures of the kids in the first IT film, and the second themed to the adventures they had as adults when they return to try and finish off Pennywise for good.
The location of the new ESCAPE IT has yet to be revealed, but previously the Blair Witch and SAW rooms were located within the same complex of buildings, but I’m not sure they have room to add this massive new experience here.
Late 2022 - Wynn's “Awakening” - (11/9/22) Our local Las Vegas Screamscape correspondent was able to take in a viewing of the Wynn’s newest show this week called “Awakening” and send in a few photos and a review of the new production.
Opening today, Wynn’s new show Awakening will be nothing less than an absolute Las Vegas hit! Previously, Le Reve played in the theater and was loved by all. Las Vegas watched closely to see what the Wynn would deliver next. Having seen a preview of the show, we can say this show was worth the wait.
Seating in the theater is mostly the same with the addition of surround speakers at every seat. These aren’t built into the seats as Cirque has done but instead project out from the sides of the seat. I can see these things breaking very easily as someone leans on them when exiting the row. The audio effects are more effective than the speakers within seats as they are in direct line with your ears.
The show itself feels like a cross between The Fifth Element and a Disney stage show (thanks to Michael Curry’s puppetry and the very animated villain characters), yet as strange as that sounds, it works! The stage is built of glass with an LED screen contained in it. This creates the most brilliant visuals I’ve seen on a stage. The stage movements are so complex, they’re constantly creating new worlds to enjoy. Since the theater is round and the furthest seat is only 75 feet away, the audience is easily enveloped into the world they’ve created.
The show is narrated by Anthony Hopkins and has a rather large cast. Costumes and makeup reminded us of The Fifth Element and were as over the top as expected.
Unfortunately, we learned that a few scenes and several effects were cut to keep the show within the 1hr 15 min timeframe that the casino required. The story was there and easy to understand but it did feel like something was missing. Luckily, the show itself is so stunning and there is so much to look at that the audience will never feel like there is a dull spot or something wasn’t completely thought out. Your eyes will constantly be moving, looking for the next beautiful image.
Cheaper seats are close t the front and we highly recommend not sitting too close. There's a lot that can be missed by being too close and too low. We were in row H which was perfect.
There’s no other way to say it; this is the best new show of 2022 in Las Vegas. We can see some edits and changes coming in the future, but that does not take away the fact that it is most definitely the newest must-see show in Las Vegas. We’ll miss Le Reve for sure, but also know we will be seeing this several more times in the future.
Dark Sundays & Mondays
Tickets $115-175 with an elite ticket at $600 (plus tax and fees)
(10/9/22) The Wynn casino has now confirmed that the name of their new show is Awakening. The new show will launch on November 7th and you can catch a preview trailer of the new show below.
(9/10/22) According to the latest posts from Vital Vegas, the new upcoming show coming to the Wynn may now have a name. They say their sources have confirmed that it will be called “Awakening” and will have an overall theme about “saving magic”, but in a much more broader concept than what it sounds. According to billboards in the casino the new show will open sometime in the Fall of 2022, and it is assumed that a full press release with all the details of the new show will happen in the very near future.
They point out that the name “Awakening” also appears to be a subtle hat-tip to the resort’s first amazing show, La Reve, which means “The Dream”.
2023 - MSG Sphere - (2/15/2023) U2 has now been confirmed as being the opening act for the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. This happened during a short ad played during the Super Bowl, but there is an extended trailer for the ad online which I’ve posted below.
(2/13/2023) The MSG Sphere has now confirmed that they plan to finally open the high tech performance venue in September 2023. They aren’t ready to announce who will be performing there first, but the overall plan is for the venue to feature about six or so headliner performers per year in residency deals. The long running rumor has been that U2 might be on deck to be the first ever residency performer to launch the new MSG Sphere venue, but that would also depend on exactly when the Sphere itself was ready to open.
It has also now been reported that the MSG Sphere will feature some kind of “immersive film production” that will take place in the venue during the daytime hours as a stand-alone and original attraction concept. They aren’t ready to release the details of what this new experience will be just yet, but did confirm that the first original attraction will be “from a leading Hollywood director” and is expected to be ready to launch close to the opening of the venue itself.
If you are in Las Vegas, keep an eye on the sphere building as crews work to finish the installation and testing of the massive video walls that will cover the entire outside of the structure.
(8/3/22) Vital Vegas takes a look at the MSG Sphere project, comparing some images to plan schematics, and reveals that the venue will have virtually no on-site parking. Instead it sounds like the Sphere is planning on borrowing parking spots from the Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo Parking Lots to use to create their required minimum number of parking spots.
So when the Sphere is ready to open who is going to draw in the crowds? Rumor has it that U2 could have possibly signed a residency deal to perform in the Sphere on the regular over the first year. Stay tuned!
(11/6/21) According to a local news report the MSG Sphere has moved on to a new phase of construction that is setting up the steel structure that will suppose the massive interior LED displays and audio systems for the venue. As you can see in the photos at the link, the concrete and steel domed roof structure was completed last month and gives us a look at the overall shape of the massive sphere shaped building structure. The photo gallery even includes a couple of images showing off the current look inside the sphere.
(9/7/21) A local area friend sent in some fantastic pictures of the new MSG Sphere arena venue under construction. It’s really cool looking now as the giant sphere shape is clearly defined. In a fun way, it’s almost giving off the appearance of what the Death Star would look like if it landed on the ground.
(4/13/20) For those wondering, here is the current state of the MSG Sphere structure, as seen from the street level.
(4/5/20) While construction work on the Madison Square Garden Sphere is still taking place, the company did announce that within the next week all construction will stop. This is due to a disruption in the supply chain of materials needed to keep going. Construction of the various aspects of the arena will come to a stop as they reach the point where they can’t do anything more until new materials arrive. Unfortunately, the company also stated that this will make it very difficult to open the Sphere in 2021 as they had hoped, so I’d expect to see the opening pushed back to 2022.
(3/6/18) Just when you figured that Las Vegas must have enough big arenas for all the various special events, shows, sports and concert events, along comes one more. A deal between Sands Corp and Madison Square Garden will create a new and unique looking venue called "MSG Sphere Las Vegas", which will look like a giant sphere themed to look like the planet Earth had landed on the ground.
The venue is focused more on concert events rather than sporting events, but construction is set to begin sometime this year with the goal of opening the MSG Sphere by 2020. Look for it to rise on a site located somewhere near the Venetian and Wynn casinos.
2023 - Area 15 Expansions - (12/5/2022) Special “Immersive Viewing” experiences of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” have returned to AREA15 this month. The movie is shown inside The Portal, a 360-degree room with floor-to-ceiling projection mapping. The film is enhanced with an immersive light and sound experience, along with a curated cocktail menu, offering the ultimate The Nightmare Before Christmas viewing experience. Stop by the official website for all the details on when showing take place and how to buy a ticket!
(4/30/22) A fascinating new addition is planned for Area 15 in Las Vegas. A large section of what used to be a functional Boeing 747 is currently sitting at the Las Vegas Speedway and will soon make it’s way to Area 15 after being purchased by the Fisher Brothers. Previously this gigantic 747 was set-up as an art installation at the Burning Man Festival.
What exactly Area 15 has planned for how they will restore, theme, or use the 747 remains to be seen. According to Winston Fisher, “We are incredibly excited about the immeasurable creative opportunities that come with repurposing this 747 jet.” “The possibilities of what we can accomplish with this purchase are endless, and we look forward to sharing more as our vision takes shape.”
Late 2023 - Fontainebleau - Under Construction - (1/24/22) While work is now taking place to finish the Fontainebleau casino, we’ve been sent a couple of images showing off the different look of the tower as seen from the North and South sides. You’ll also notice the kind of small and minimalist logo they’ve now added to the tower.
(1/14/22) It has been a long LONG time, but the Fontainebleau is being finished at last. And now they’ve launched an all new website to celebrate the planned opening in Late 2023.
Check it out.
(11/11/21) In a crazy twist of fate, it is now official and Fontainebleau is back. The huge blue unfinished building that you can miss in the Las Vegas skyline has now returned to being owned by the original developer, Jeffrey Soffer. Soffer and others were on hand to mark the official start of construction work once again on the stalled project, claiming that it will be finished and ready to open by the fourth quarter of 2023.
2024 - Majestic Las Vegas - (10/17/21) A few new details about the planned Majestic Las Vegas resort were released this week, including a rendering. As you recall, the plan is for this to not only be a non-smoking resort, but also a non-gaming resort as well. Instead the Majestic will feature a 70,000 sqft “wellness center” to be called the Spa Majestic that would include a spa, fitness center and a medical area that would have the ability to conduct ‘whole-body scans, thermography technology, and some advanced diagnostic and screening exams”.
It sounds like it is placing itself as the ultimate getaway for someone looking to focus inward on themselves and their health. Of course, this is somewhat ironic, as it will be located in the middle of Las Vegas, home to virtually every vice known to man, where virtually anything you might want has been made legal in the region, for a price.
Construction on the $850 million, 620 foot tall resort is expected to begin in early 2022 and planning for an opening in 2024. The resort will offer 720 suites, and 270,000 sqft of “Corporate Sky Suites”, with sales on the later to begin any time now. It is located right in the heart of all the Convention Center action, right across the street from the new wing of the Las Vegas Convention Center that opened earlier this year, sort of in the middle between Wynn’s Encor tower and the old original wing of the Convention Center, with the new Resorts World on the fourth side, making this a key location for those seeking to conduct business without distraction.
(2/12/21) According to Travel & Leisure a unique new resort is planning to open in Las Vegas in 2024 called the Majestic Las Vegas. This will be an off-strip resort (about 2 blocks) located not far from the Convention Center, and what will set it apart is that not only will be not allow Smoking of any kind on the property, but it will also not feature any kind of gambling at all. That’s right… no casino… no slot machines… not even Keno.
According to the article the $850 million 5-star resort will feature 720 suites, six restaurants and a courtyard featuring dancing fountains and other live entertainment.
So what do you think? When you visit Vegas do you want the convenience of a casino inside your hotel or does all the noise, hustle and bustle just get overwhelming and you are ready for a more relaxed experience?
???? - Game of Thrones Dragons: Las Vegas - (1/20/2023) Game of Thrones fans… take note. It seems that a new attraction of some kind is coming to Las Vegas. The official title of the attraction on the website is “Game of Thrones Dragons Las Vegas” according to the website, but very little information has been released thus far. There is a cool looking animation of dragons flying over the burning remains of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and ext claiming that “Game of Thrones Dragons is one of the latest attractions to elevate the entertainment world” and that it will “provide fans with an experience unlike any other.”
What I can tell you is that this is not another creation by Neon / Victory Hill such as the Avengers Station or Hunger Games that are currently running in Las Vegas, and according to the FAQ on the website Game of Thrones Dragons “is not a themed theatrical or special effects show, nor will it be located inside a hotel or casino.” They also confirm that this will be a “permanent attraction open year-round’ to be located somewhere “within the heart of the Las Vegas strip”.
Consider me officially intrigued.
???? - Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights - Las Vegas - (1/12/2023) Halloween Horror Nights Las Vegas… where have you heard this before? Oh yeah… right here on Screamscape back in May 2022. Universal Studios famous Halloween haunted house loving seasonal event will soon have a year-round home in Las Vegas, built as part of an expansion of the Area 15 complex. According to various sources the plan is to create this 110,000 sqft year-round horror-plex as a way to bring many of Universal’s famous horror characters to life. Rumor has it that this won't just include film characters, but the Sin City site could become a year-round home to some very popular characters created for the Halloween Horror Nights events over the year. And yes… I’m talking about the HHN Icons… starting with Jack the clown, who can actually be seen standing in front of the creepy looking building in the new concept art released for the project. Behind Jack in the shadows, I see what looks like Chance standing next to another more hunched over looking silhouette.
What’s interesting about this project is that the location will feature a horror themed bar and restaurant location and apparently it will feature an experience that will be constantly evolving and beijing updated. One rumored concept so far is the idea that the most popular maze concepts and themed props used at the Orlando and Hollywood parks could be shipped to the Las Vegas site for further use.
Oh… and before I forget, Las Vegas may not be the only future site for one of these new year-round HHN attractions. If the plans to build a second Area 15 in Orlando continue to move forward, we’ve heard a rumor that it too may be considered as a potential home for more year-round Halloween Horror Nights fun.
(5/17/22) I’ve no idea just how serious this is, but Screamscape is being told that Universal Studios may be in talks with a group in Las Vegas to create a Sin City version of Halloween Horror Nights. I don’t believe this is in connection with an existing attraction like the Circus Circus Adventuredome, but is expected to be more of a stand-alone Haunt experience the likes of which has never been seen before in Las Vegas. As the general demographic for visitors to the area skews to the 21+ range for most things, we could also be looking at an attempt to create a version of Halloween Horror Nights intended for an entirely mature audience.
Again… just talks and concept development so far, nothing concrete, but the mind does boggle at the possibilities.
???? - Circus Circus Renovations - (12/13/19) According to Phil Ruffin, the T.I. owner who is now in control of the Circus Circus property, he is making plans to add a $11 million, 2,000 seat theater to the front half of the property that will likely be home to Cirque du Soleil’s “The Illusionists” show. According to Ruffin they have a commitment from Cirque to put in a show at Circus Circus and The Illusionists, which is currently playing in New York, is said to be Cirque’s most successful show to date. While Cirque would not confirm any details, Ruffin knows Cirque however, as the owner of the T.I. which is home to the Cirque show that started the whole craze in Vegas in the first place, Mystere.
Ruffin also touched on other plans for the Circus Circus property, which includes a room renovation plan similar to the one he just completed at the T.I., plans to reopen the currently closed Slots-A-Fun building in front of Circus Circus as well as fill up 20,000 sqft of empty space on the building’s second floor. Ruffin says he wants to keep the property running as a lower-budget ‘family’ oriented destination, and to that end the Adventuredome theme park would definitely be staying, as they see it as a huge draw to the property. The RV park however will be going, with plans to renovate that property into a large sand-beach pool with a wave machine, similar to what was built at Mandalay Bay. There are also plans to renovate the casino floor to feature more ‘stadium-style’ casino games to create a “greater social environment.”
And for those wondering… Circus Circus does not currently charge for parking, and Ruffin confirmed that would not be changing, commenting that the paid parking trend in Vegas is a ‘stupid idea’.
2025 - HARD ROCK LAS VEGAS HOTEL & CASINO - (2/15/2023) The dolphins at The Mirage now have a new home. According to the local news three dolphins who have made a home at the former Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (Karli, Sofi and Osborne) have now been moved to SeaWorld San Diego. According to the article, the dolphins were originally actually from SeaWorld and have been at The Mirage under a long-term loan agreement, so now they are returning home again.
(12/10/2022) Hard Rock International shared their latest plans to renovate The Mirage casino during a presentation of the Nevada Gaming Control Board this past week. The updated plans to transform the Mirage into the new “Hard Rock Las Vegas” branded resort still include a massive guitar-shaped hotel tower.
The shape of the tower has changed slightly from the previous Gibson shape into one more balanced left to right. It has been described as more of a “Gretsch” shaped guitar and while it probably offers the ability to include a few more rooms, it will also make the Vegas location stand out as being visually different from Hard Rock’s first guitar shaped hotel tower (a Gibson) that has already opened in Florida. It was also noted that the new guitar tower will be used as part of an all new nighttime light show viewable from all along the strip as sort of a replacement for the Mirage’s old Volcano eruption show.
Hard Rock also proposed building another guitar shaped hotel tower resort in Japan back in 2019 as part of a bid to build an integrated casino resort. There has been a lot of change in the Japanese political landscape since then due to the rise of the pandemic, but last I heard Hard Rock was still keen to bring their vision to Japan when the time is right.
Hard Rock says that while internally things will begin to change later this month as they take over operations from MGM Resorts, the resort was planning on keeping the existing Mirage name in place until the renovations are complete in 2025. Meanwhile the plan is that anything you may remember from the old Mirage will be gutted and removed, and then completely rebuilt and renovated into something entirely new for the Hard Rock brand. This includes the entire casino space, all restaurants and every one of the existing guest rooms.
As previously announced the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat area will also be closed for good and demolished to make way for a new massive resort pool area. New homes are being found for all of the existing dolphins, lions and tigers in the exhibit. The process of relocating all the animals is expected to take between 6 to 12 months and should be complete by this time next year.
The end result for the Hard Rock Las Vegas will be a nearly 600 room increase, more casino games, more restaurants, an expansion to the convention center space, and plans to build a new “Hard Rock Live” performance space. The contract for the existing Beatles themed Cirque du Soleil show “LOVE”, has been extended to run at least into 2024. If ticket sales remain solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hard Rock opted to keep this one leftover from the old Mirage days as it does fit well into their brand.
During a Q&A session at the Gaming Board meeting, they were asked about the possibility of closing the Mirage to complete these massive renovation plans. Nothing has been set yet and they say that if a closure is needed, it won't be for at least another 18 months (mid to late 2024?) if it is determined to be a necessity.
(11/25/22) The local news has confirmed that the Mirage’s “Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat” will be closing down for good. According to a statement issued by MGM Resorts, the new owners at Hard Rock have been considering their options and in open discussions with MGM about the future of the facility.
“As Hard Rock has thought about its vision for The Mirage post-close, the team has determined that the best course of action is to wind down and, eventually, permanently close the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat prior to the commencement of construction of the Guitar Hotel and other planned transformational redevelopments of The Mirage.”
“Given this decision, we’ve agreed to work proactively together in the months ahead to develop a plan to permanently relocate the animals to new homes where they will continue to be loved and cared for by welltrained, highly respected animal care professionals and veterinary experts. Rest assured that the health, safety, and well-being of the animals is our top priority. For three decades, nothing has been more important, and that will not change moving forward. Both MGM and Hard Rock are committed to finding new homes for the animals that meet our required high standards of care and give each animal an opportunity to thrive.”
They also noted that the Dolphin Habitat has been closed since September so that a team of outside experts and the animal care team could conduct a review of the animals and the facility itself. This was done following the death of three of the facilities dolphins that took place earlier this year, with the first in April and then two more suddenly passed in September. “We are nearing the completion of that review but have not yet determined when the facility will reopen or in what capacity.”
(7/23/22) We know The Mirage was sold to Hard Rock International to become the all new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The famous Mirage volcano in front of the casino is destinated to be demolished to way way for a new guitar-shaped hotel tower. While the deal has yet to be 100% finalized at this time, TheStreet is reporting that it is very likely that at some point between now and the planned 2025 launching of the new Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas that The Mirage may shut down completely rather than try to stay open during the renovations.
As part of the deal Hard Rock has the rights to keep using The Mirage name for up to three years royalty free if they wish, but anonymous sources from “one of the main theater productions” told the reporter than they were only offered one-year contract extensions at this time, which backs up the feeling that the Mirage will likely close for a time.
(1/23/22) Las Vegas has long been home to big cats, especially the tigers that were famously used in the days of the Siegfried and Roy magic show that performed from 1990 to 2003 at The Mirage. With the death of both Siegfried (Jan. 13, 2021) and Roy (May 8, 2020), the majority of the tigers and lions from the show have remained at The Mirage as part of the “Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat” attraction. But with the announced sale of The Mirage to Hard Rock and the intent to rebrand the casino resort as a new Hard Rock Casino, what will happen to the animals?
According to the local report the management of Hard Rock International has not yet made the call about what will happen to the Secret Garden attraction and the animals within. The terms of the sale of the resort from MGM to Hard Rock are unknown, and it is entirely possible that Hard Rock may require MGM to remove the animals before the sale is complete if Hard Rock is uncomfortable with taking ownership of them, or has other unannounced plans for the attractions space. Note that this isn’t an uncommon requirement when attractions change hands, especially if the new owner has no experience dealing with them, or in some cases, may have an existing corporate policy to not keep animals in captivity at their attractions.
On a related note about Tigers in Las Vegas, a proposal was made awhile back Jay Owenhouse to include tigers and other animals in a magic show held in a temporary structure along the Strip near the Mandalay Bay. In light of criticism from animal rights activists and safety concerns about keeping Tigers inside what would appear to be a modern-day circus tent style structure in such a public space the magician has now altered his proposal to exclude animals from the show.
The location of the show has also changed to a new location close to the Sahara on the northern end of the Strip after the land at the previous site (intended for 2020) fell into foreclosure. The new application for the animal-free show near the Sahara is expected to go before the Zoning Comission on Feb. 2, with plans to have it up and running sometime in Spring 2022.
(12/20/21) A piece of sad news from Las Vegas this week, as the CEO of Hard Rock International has confirmed that as part of the transformation of The Mirage into a new Hard Rock branded casino, the world famous ‘volcano’ structure outside the front of the Mirage that used to put on nightly shows will be torn down as part of the remodel of the casino.
Their plans for the Mirage property will involve building a massive new guitar-shaped hotel tower in front of the existing towers (why the volcano is leaving), adding a new live music venue and more. Currently however they have not announced if they plan to keep the Beatles themed show from Cirque du Soleil, though with a brand like Hard Rock, it would be hard to see them passing on opportunity to keep the show, unless it just was not selling out the venue on a regular basis prior to COVID.
A long-distance rendering of the property, as seen looking down the Strip, was also released by Hard Rock that shows off the new guitar-shaped hotel tower that will sit prominently in front of the entire resort.
(12/16/21) The Hard Rock brand is coming back to the Las Vegas Strip, but not where you would have expected. According to CNN Hard Rock International has signed a deal with MGM Resorts to hand the operations of The Mirage over to Hard Rock. The deal worth $1.075 billion will close sometime in the second half of 2022 and comes with the rights to continue to use The Murage name and brand for three more years, allowing Hard Rock the time to determine just how they intend to re-brand The Mirage after that.
(1/11/21) Previous rumors had suggested that when Hard Rock sold their off-strip Las Vegas casino resort the chain actually had long-term plans to make a huge return to Sin City by purchasing an existing and bigger on-strip property. One the biggest early rumors suggested that Hard Rock may have actually entered into talks with Caesar’s to buy their Planet Hollywood casino property. There was also a whisper that Hard Rock may have also inquired about buying The Mirage from MGM Resorts at one point.
According to Casino.org, Hard Rock may have set their sights on an even bigger fish and could be in talks to buy The Venetian and Palazzo casinos from the Las Vegas Sands group. The rumored asking price is said to be in the $6 billion price range to take-over the side-by-side casino properties on the strip. The price here is steep and would be a big pill for Hard Rock to swallow, but perhaps they are just testing out the pricing for the dual-resorts while the market is still a bit soft due to COVID, as I would think that the price will only go up from here as the world recovers.
2028/2029 - Brightline West / High Speed Rail - Planned - (3/11/2023) The long stalled plan to build a high speed rail connection between Southern California and Las Vegas became another step closer this week. It has been a while since I’ve reported anything on this project, so catching up with what has happened since then, it now seems that Brightline is the rail company involved. That name should sound familiar to anyone who’s read our Florida / Orlando area news, as Brightline has been successfully building a rail system that will soon travel from South Florida all the way to the Orlando Airport, and then expand to run a line through the Orlando tourist district, with plans to try and expand beyond that all the way to Tampa connecting the states three major tourist destinations by rail.
Now on the other side of the country, “Brightline West” has now signed an agreement deal with the labor unions to build the 260-mile Brightline West line that will initially run from Las Vegas most of the way to Los Angeles, stopping short in San Bernardino where riders will connect via the existing Los Angeles Metrolink. Unlike Brightline’s Florida service that uses standard Diesel locomotives, the west-coast version will use electric high-speed trains capable of flying through the desert route at 180mph. From the sound of things, the plan will also likely build the rails to run through the middle of the existing I-15 freeway from California to Las Vegas. The run will start with a large main station right on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip and include an extra stop in the Victorville area that will eventually connect to another high-speed California rail system in Palmdale planned to run between the LA and San Francisco areas.
Currently the plan is to actually start initial construction on Brightline West later this year, though don’t look for service to begin until 2028 or later. In the meantime, look for hear more about Brightline sometime in Q2 2023 when service to Orlando’s MCO airport begins.
New 2022 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
MAD APPLE - New from Cirque du Soleil at New York, New York Hotel & Casino
ARCADIA EARTH - Immersive Art Exhibit
FLYOVER LAS VEGAS: Legendary Iceland - New Flight Film Added
FLYOVER LAS VEGAS: Winborne: The Call of the Canadian Rockies - New Flight Film Added
LIFTOFF LOUNGE @ Area 15 - Part Ride, Part Bar, All Fun
New 2021 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
NEW COASTER TRAINS on Big Apple Coaster @ NYNY
FLYOVER LAS VEGAS - Flying Theater Attraction Open On Las Vegas Strip
MEOW WORLD: OMEGA MART - Unique Experiential Attraction Experience
ESCAPE BLAIR WITCH - Themed Escape Room Experience
NEW RESORTS - Resorts World Las Vegas and Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (Opened 2021)
New 2020 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
AREA 15 - New attraction opened in late 2020
Circa Resort & Casino - New Fremont Street Casino Opened Late 2020
New 2019 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
Eataly - at Park MGM, essentially a 40,000 square-foot “amusement park for foodies”.
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition - at MGM Grand, the exhibit will feature costumes, props and recreated scenes including President’s Snow’s Office, District 13, The Hall of Justice, an interactive archery training experience and more.
“R.U.N” at Luxor - (CLOSED A Few Months After Opening) “The First LIVE Action Thriller by Cirque Du Soleil” that starts in the desert at dawn… at a quiet chapel where a “gangland wedding” is interrupted and a guy begins running for his life. From there the action is said to be non-stop for the next 75 minutes as we learn just what he has done as the two gangs and a bride lead the chase through a fictional dark underground Las Vegas world.
New 2018 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
Fly Linq - Ten side-by-side ziplines (so you can fly with your friends) starting 114 feet in the air that make the 1,121 foot run across the promenade to the landing tower located near the base of the High Roller observation wheel.
The Official SAW Escape - New escape room experience themed to the famous horror movie series.
Esports Arena Las Vegas - The first dedicated Esports Arena in Las Vegas opened at the Luxor. The space features a competition stage area, LED video wall, seating as well as daily gaming stations and production studios.
The Void (Closed In Mid 2020) - The VOID VR experience opened inside the Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian. Experiences offered the first year include Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ghostbusters: Dimensions, Nicodemus: Demon of Envanishment and Ralph Breaks VR.
New 2017 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
Fear The Walking Dead Survival – (CLOSED Mid-2019) A “dead”icated new and mostly walk-through adventure attraction themed around AMC’s popular Fear The Walking Dead show opened in the Fremont Street Experience over the Summer as part of a deal between AMC and TRIOTECH.
The Twilight Zone – Monster Mini Golf – A new themed indoor blacklight mini-golf attraction has opened inside the Bally’s casino themed around the famous Twilight Zone TV series. The site also features mini bowling, an arcade, gift shop and even a SciFi themed Wedding Chapel.
New 2016 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
Kiss – Monster Mini Golf – A new blacklight mini golf attraction themed around the famous rock band, KISS, is now open at The Rio casino. A previous version opened in a local mini-mall back in 2012, but they closed up shop and moved into The Rio instead as an all new attraction in 2016. The site also includes space for Birthday Parties as well as a Rock ‘n Roll wedding chapel.
New 2014/2013 Attractions Now Open in the Las Vegas Area -
High Roller Giant Wheel (2014)
Slotzilla Zip Lines (2014)
VooDoo Zip Ride (2014)
Cowabunga Bay (2014)
Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas (2013)
Are The Las Vegas Casino Resorts in Decline? -
Various other report over the last few years seem to think so, including my own rant from 2016.
(8/10/18) Much like I've been saying for some time now, I think the world is proving that they are sick of Las Vegas casino resorts “nickel and dimeing” their guests with excessive fees, and laughing with glee all the while. Daily resort fees, parking fees and now even some new fees being placed on already high Salon and Spa service fees by MGM Resorts. Yes, it has gotten to the point where you would almost think MGM stands for "Money Grabbing Management" these days.
The times are changing and guests are now finally voting with their wallets, opting to skip trips to Las Vegas for other options. One after the next, the big Vegas casino companies have been reporting declining numbers for their properties this year, including MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, where the RevPAR numbers (aka: Revenue Per Room) has already dropped by an average of 4% for the first half of the year, room occupancy rates are down 1% and Convention attendance is down 3%. The declining numbers, while not huge, have resulted in casino stock prices dropping double-digits as investors flee.
Oh... and gambling is also down, particularly because the payout rates for winning have been altered in many cases to now pay out less than they have traditionally paid for decades. It seems many of the big fish have opted to gamble closer to home, both domestic players as well as international, especially those prized Chinese gamblers who can now play Baccarat to their hearts content at the casinos in Macau. The news that the first casinos have finally been approved to come to Japan is certainly not good news for Las Vegas either.
I've said it here on Screamscape for a few years now... the perceived "value" of taking a vacation to Las Vegas has been lost due to corporate greed. We've already seen the Wynn resorts try to fight back against parking fees by offering to validate parking for guests who spend at least $50 on site. It also looks like Caesars and MGM may be ready to take a step in the right direction by lowering their room rates for the later half of the year. Most importantly, I think they need to take a long look at the parking fee issue as well, which was put into effect due to the opening of the T-Mobile arena.
(5/4/18) An interesting article was posted to the LA Times regarding the possible beginning of visitor decline to Las Vegas over the past 10 months, and goes into more detail with a local Vegas publication who claims guest irritation with outlandish daily “resort fees” combined now with the crazy parking fees that may be to blame.
Me? I have to agree… considering that resort fees alone, something that used to never exist, are now as high as $45 per night (with Venetian and Palazzo being the highest in the city right now, followed by $39 per night fees at the Caesars and Wynn properties). Add in daily parking fees and you are looking at a combined cost that is about even with what the average room rate alone used to be in Vegas… but then you get to add in the new higher room rates… and tax… don’t forget that… and it’s no wonder people are starting to realize Vegas isn’t the bargin vacation destination it used to be.
No wonder gambling profits to the casinos has also been reported to be in decline for years now… because they’ve been taking the money out of your pocket long before you even had a chance to get to the casino floor. Sometimes I think all it would take is one bright casino chain to see the light here, reverse the trends that have transformed the industry for the worse over the past 10-15 years, to see if a return to the old ways would brighten not only the guest experience, but also their own coffers as well. Win over your guest’s hearts and you’ll win their loyalty. Just a thought...
(2/22/18) Is the bottom getting ready to fall out in Las Vegas? Are tourism and convention business both ready to turn elsewhere due to rising costs and the overall impression that Vegas is no longer a value destination? A great bit of commentary was posted to the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that nails the potential problem on the head with the first hard-data that could show that 2017 was the tipping point.
Screamscape Rants - The Recession Is Not Vegas’ Biggest Problem
(1/12/16) CNN wrote an interesting article about how the overall business at the Las Vegas casinos was down and has been down for the past six years. They report that Vegas casino lost $662 million in 2015 alone, and lost a dumbfounding $6.8 billion back in 2009 when the economy got really bad. They go on to point out that there are plenty of tourists in Las Vegas, and they are all spending lots of money on hotels, restaurants, merchandise and entertainment… it’s the gambling side of things that is way down by comparison and as they point out, “if people aren't gambling as much, that means they're not losing as much.”
CNN blames the recession on this, but this is where I have to disagree and point out what they are blind to as someone who used to visit Vegas on a regular basis in the 90’s when it was a growing boomtown of opportunity. The Vegas of today and the Vegas of the past are two entirely different animals, and it seems that today’s Vegas has forgotten the lessons of the past and how the business model worked.
Today’s Vegas has forgotten that the best lure to increase gambling revenue was to make everything else as cheap as possible. Frequent free drinks, insanely low cost food and buffets everywhere, and to give the hotel rooms away as cheap as possible. For a good period of time, back when Circus Circus has just opened the Luxor they would run ads in in the San Diego paper every week advertising rooms as cheap as $13 a night at Circus Circus, $23 a night at Excalibur and $33 a night at the Luxor. Want something better? You could get a suite at the Mirage for $50-60 a night on the right night. Mix that in with $2-5 buffet meals, drink specials and tons of free or low-cost entertainment and you could go on one hell of a fun vacation without breaking the bank… which still left over a good bit of income in your wallet to spend some time to gamble and try to make your dreams come true. At the very least you could gamble with a rewards program and maybe earn yourself a couple of tickets to one of the big shows for fifty bucks.
Compare this to the price of a Vegas vacation today and you’re dropping top dollar just for the room itself quite often, paying anywhere from $10 to $25 a person (sometimes more!) for a buffet meal, and not to mention paying $100 to $150 on average for a ticket to see one of the big shows in Vegas these days that has almost become a mandatory part of the Vegas experience. Now do you wonder why the good old gambling revenue numbers are down?
Of course they are down… because people are spending everything they have on the rest of the Vegas vacation, much like you would on regular vacation, and have less cash to spend than before on gambling. I could spend four nights in Vegas in the 90’s for what I’d spend for just one night at today’s prices. I know that after I’ve dropped about $250 for the wife and I to see the latest Cirque show, in addition to another $50 to $100 on a nice dinner out before the show, the last thing on my mind is putting another $100 at risk at the Blackjack table.
Somehow the Vegas of today has forgotten that tourists wowed by the spectacle of the casinos, stuffed by cheap food and drink prices, who find themselves walking through the casinos feeling good (and maybe a little buzzed) with a fat wallet in their pocket are the one who are most willing to try their luck at the gambling tables before heading home. And don’t get me started on how many machines no longer drop coins as your payout… the sound of coins endlessly dropping throughout the casinos of old was like siren’s song to many a potential gambler, luring them in to try their luck.
So is the recession really the problem? I like to think that the problem goes much deeper than that.