Access Vegas Insider Vibe – April 18, 2001

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This Issue: Excalibur Tournament of Kings

Curious about a show, restaurant, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at (click):

EDITORS NOTE: Running very late this week. I was out of town on family business 14 out of 24 days ending last Sunday, and you can imagine I had quite a bit of catching up to do — Las Vegas never sleeps and the news and entertainment never stops as we prepare for future issues. A highlight of the past week was attending the opening of Wolfgang Puck’s Cili Restaurant at the new Bali Hai Golf Course (1/2 mile south of Mandalay Bay). Both the restaurant and the course are spectacular. We sifted through a ton of great suggestions and have our $100 lodging contest winner this week also. You have one more week to vote in our poll, but it looks like most of you aren’t going to let a little downturn in the economy stop you from Vegas!

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

LAS VEGAS CLASSIC – The Senior Tour hits Las Vegas this weekend, and our windy weather of late should make for some interesting play. CNBC will be airing the tournament. Story at

CBS – The television network is going to open a “Television City” inside the MGM. Two screening rooms with high-tech research computers will track audience reaction to possible new shows the network is thinking of running. No word yet as to how people will be chosen to participate. Story at

ENERGY SURCHARGE – Harrah’s / Rio (same company) and all of Station Casino properties (everything that ends with the word Station but Main Street Station downtown which is owned by Boyd Gaming) have tacked a $3 per night energy surcharge effective immediately. Energy is a cost of doing business, and if it costs more perhaps hotels should raise the published rates. Story at

HEALTHY DINING – can be found in Las Vegas, just not necessarily on The Strip. Restaurants ranging from health-oriented to vegan can now be found around the city. Story at

MORE HIGH END DINING – will be part of The Palms, a resort under construction across from The Rio. Of note will be AlizÚ, a rooftop restaurant by Andre Rochat, whose Andre’s French Restaurant in downtown Las Vegas is rated one of the city’s top high-end restaurants. Full story at

LAS VEGAS OUTLAWS – and the rest of the XFL say they will be back next season. They league has admitted to numerous startup mistakes including unusual camera angles, not using pure football announcers, and poor play early in the season stemming from lack of a preseason. This drove away some football fans and hurt Saturday night ratings expectations, although they also (duh) realized that their target audience of men 18-49 is usually out on Saturday evenings.

However, average league attendance was well above the expected 20,000 a game across the league and TNN and UPN were very satisfied with Sunday ratings. Las Vegas both sold the most season tickets and generated the highest ratings for the new league party because the flashy, loose style fits the city’s image and partly as our way of thumbing our nose at the refusal of major league teams to allow the city to have a team as long as sports betting is legal. Stories at and

HOT TALK RADIO – has returned to Las Vegas on 1140 AM KSFN. This marks the return of Don and Mike (Noon – 4 PM), Tom Leykis (4 PM – 8 PM and Midnight – 5 AM), and local favorites Johnson and Tofte (9 AM – Noon) as well as Loveline (10 PM – Midnight).

$25 HOTEL REBATE — you pick the hotel! Our partners at Hotel Reservations Network are giving you $25 back on any 2+ night stay in Las Vegas or any major city they reserve. Claiming your cash is simple:

1. Print out:
2. Book a room online at
3. Send in for your rebate when you get home.

It doesn’t get any easier than that, and you get their low price guarantee
to boot!


RITA RUDNER – had a fantastic run at the MGM but had to clear out for a new show they are developing. She’s moved her act across the street to the New York – New York where her run starts on April 20. Story at

“HAWAIIAN HOT LUAU” — Las Vegas’ only authentic poolside luau, celebrating it’s 10’th Anniversary, features a lavish buffet, unlimited Mai Tais, Pina Coladas and fruit punch, and a Polynesian revue by Rozita Lee’s “Drums of the Islands.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, weather permitting. Tickets are $31.95 for adults, $17.95 for children 4-9, and are available by calling (702) 794-3261.

LAS VEGAS JAZZ FESTIVAL – plays June 1-3 and features 25 bands. The Las Vegas Jazz Festival showcases music from the first 50 years of jazz history (1895-1945), including blues, gospel, Latin jazz, swing, western swing, barbershop and zydeco. Story at and details at

SHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Catch A Rising Star (Excalibur) –

SHOWS – See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at

SHOWS AND HEADLINERS – listings available at
CONCERT – listings available at

DINING RESERVATIONS – For a small service fee, you can now guarantee reservations for that “special night out” during your visit at


RESTAURANT REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Aqua (Bellagio) – and

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LAS VEGAS WEATHER – This 5 day forecast is courtesy of Weather.Com:

Saturday – 63 ░F / 48 ░F Scattered Showers
Sunday – 74 ░F / 48 ░F Sunny
Monday – 87 ░F / 52 ░F Mostly Sunny
Tuesday – 90 ░F / 57 ░F Mostly Sunny
Wednesday – 93 ░F / 60 ░F Mostly Sunny

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FEATURE STORY: Excalibur Tournament of Kings

Las Vegas still has a dinner show on The Strip, but it is a little more WWF than watching some guy croon “My Way.” Tournament of Kings takes us back to medieval Europe with fire-wizards, dragons, invading armies, and jousting.

The arena is surrounded by four tiered rows each with table room in front of you, so there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Take note of the section you are sitting in, as that is the king that you will be rooting for. Be there on time as dinner is served, and be ready to “rough it” a little when it comes to eating.

Dinner starts with a tomato-style soup that you drink straight from the bowl as well as an unidentified soft drink in a big plastic mug. Then comes a platter with a game hen, broccoli, and a roll. Wash up first, as you are eating EVERYTHING with your hands. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Actually, it is fun to be a little piggy and really gets you in that “set back in time” mood that helps bring added enjoyment to the show.

This is a play-along show and we are taught how to cheer, when to drink a salute and we get to cheer for our “country” section as the full cast enters in marching procession. The kings have their “feast” at the round table as we are finishing ours and then on with the show.

The kings compete against each other in jousting and other medieval fighting skills in a tournament for our viewing pleasure. Both the actors and the horses they ride are obviously well trained in stunt work and put on a serious show. Some audience members get into it more than others, but you do best to forget your inhibitions (hey, you are in Vegas) and yell, chant, salute, drink, and cheer along.

As the winning king takes his victory lap, the evil wizard appears with his followers in flash, fire, and smoke provoking an all-out war between the kings and the evil ones. This is a lengthy, dramatic finale that ends in true fairy tale fashion with good winning out and the heroes getting the maiden of their choice.

This is truly an all-ages show. You can take the kids to it but there is plenty of fun for the adults. The actors all really convey the look of the period, costumes and effects are impressive, the horses well trained and beautiful, and the action very realistic considering it is viewed fairly close up. Considering the rising prices of Las Vegas shows and that this one includes dinner, it’s not a bad value either.

Excalibur Tournament of Kings plays every night at Excalibur. Tickets are $39.95 plus tax (cocktails extra if you choose) and showtimes are 6:00 and 8:30 PM. Reservations available at (702) 597-7600


Paul Gurzynski wrote:

>I really enjoy your newsletter.
>I will be in Las Vegas on vacation during the Fourth
>of July. Do you know if there will be a fireworks
>display somewhere in Vegas?

The Stratosphere has the past couple of years and that is the only display on the Strip. A number of displays usually take place around the other areas of the city. If you are in town for the 4’th and have a car, grab the paper that morning and make your plans!

M. Smithson wrote:

> I thought that the whole point of doing a review or critique was to
> give an honest opinion why all the fuss about your review on the EFX?
> The reason that I read your letter is that you tell us the good news
> and the bad, rather than just being paid to advertise, we can all pick
> up the advert books when we are there do all these people want a bland
> advert, if they got that then your letter would be boring, just page
> after page of adverts. You give a good honest review, also some of
> the web sites that you give for Airlines, hotels, etc., are great. I am in the
> process of booking our next trip there, and it is all being done
> through the sites in your letter. Thanks.

Hey, if I had a reader of the month award, you’d get it! I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but if people enjoy the information I send out each week, and if it helps you make the most of your very valuable few hours you have to spend each time you visit town, all I ask is that you compare our rates for your travel needs both here and other destinations.

We have aligned ourselves with the best companies out there, with the lowest rates and most secure reservations. Do I trust our travel partners? I use them myself!

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at (click) While space doesn’t permit publishing every letter, we do certainly read them all and they help shape our content. Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc., if accepted.

$100 Suggestion Contest Winner – A couple weeks ago, we put $100 in lodging out there for the best suggestion for our sites. A big “thank you” to the great response and suggestions. We have already or will be implementing them including starting a page listing the big jackpots (as well as when and where jackpots have been hit) which many suggested. However, the winning suggestion is:

Evelyn wrote:

> I think a visitors section would be nice. We just got back from Vegas
> and was trying to find some info before we left. People that visited and
> what they liked and didn’t like. Reasonable but good places to eat,
> same for buffets, places to gamble and things to see. I think this
> would be very helpful to the occasional visitor to get hints from other
> ordinary people like themselves. We have been out there 8 times in last
> 16 years and was just told about getting over to see the Rio. Had we
> had this suggestion before we would have tried it out. Had the best play
> and food over every where on the strip. I think your readers would like
> something like this for tips. Thank you for listening.

Quite a few made suggestions along this line, but Evelyn was the first and as per the rules we picked the winning suggestion than checked to see who is the first who made it.

While we do have the one message board that we note at the top of each newsletter, over the summer we are going to build a complete way for you to post comments about each hotel individually. Once again, thanks to all who entered!

ONLINE POLL – Are you rethinking your Las Vegas vacation plans in light of the economy? Let’s hear your opinion at — results will be published next issue!

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
April 18, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770

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