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
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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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New to the list? Back issues and subscription info can be found on the web at:

Don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter to friends and associates, or better yet click here: to recommend it to friends with a chance to win $10,000!

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

Access Vegas Insider Vibe – July 12, 2000

Welcome to Access Vegas News and Reviews, the official newsletter of This is the newsletter that talks about the Las Vegas attractions, dining, and shows that YOU really care about. This is not spam. If you receive this by mistake, unsubscribe information is at the bottom. Please forward this to friends who may enjoy it!

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JULY ROOM SPECIALS – Harrah’s from $59.95 a night, Frontier from $55.95 a night. Details at (scroll down that page for all specials)

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Read Opinions:
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This Issue: Shark Reef

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:HILTON SALE – Silverton Casino owner Ed Roski, Jr. has agreed to buy the Las Vegas Hilton. Rosky is a part owner of the L.A. Kings, Lakers, and Staples Center has plans to change the target audience from higher end players to convention visitors. Stories at:

SUNDAY NIGHT PARTY – If you are a weekend warrior here who enjoys our “mega-clubs,” you are used to the long lines and crowds. So what happens the rest of the week? Many of those dealers, cocktail waitresses, and other service workers that worked so hard all weekend serving you have Mon. and Tue. off, and there is an all-out war for their business on Sunday night among the hot clubs. Book yourself a Sunday arrival and enjoy the club hopping on the night they go all out. Story at

COCKTAIL WAITRESS LAWSUIT – Six Imperial Palace cocktail waitresses sued after being temporarily given other, lower paying positions during their pregnancies. Settlements ranged from $21-30,000 and they waitresses continue their employment at the resort. Story at and this weeks poll asks what you feel the role of a cocktail waitress is. See our poll section.

HIGH ROLLERS – Ever wonder what your Las Vegas vacation would be if you had a gambling credit line of a million dollars or more? The R-J just did a great story with photos on some of the many high roller suites these big players are housed in at

REAGAN NATIONAL – America West and Las Vegas’ own National Airlines just got approved for new nonstop flights from the central D.C. airport to Las Vegas, and America West was approved for two flights from Reagan National to Phoenix, giving our friends in the nation’s capital more (and hopefully cheaper!) nonstop and one-stop options to Las Vegas. Full story at

WAYNE – Las Vegas Magazine has a nice write-up on the Mr. Las Vegas at

ALADDIN PREVIEW – Gaming today is running a two-part series previewing the soon-to-reopen Aladdin Hotel at We are booking Aladdin rooms at discount at (Aladdin link).

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Scenic Southwest Tours – by plane, bus, or even helicopter! You’ve seen the glossy ads in the tourist brochures. You’ve thought about it. You come all the way to Las Vegas — why not see one of the some of the most famous landmarks in the world! Don’t by tricked by web sites & magazines that offer discount tours. Taxes, park fees, permits can almost double the price. Our prices are inclusive – no hidden charges! Best Las Vegas Tours

Quick Concert and Show Notes: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

Nebulae – The European hit show has opened at The Venetian. The R-J’s review is at and general show details and tickets available at

Hard Rock Hotel – L.A. Guns, Ratt, and Warrant on July 22, “Weird Al” Yankovic on July 27, Lenny Kravitz on July 28, No Doubt with Black Eyed Peas on July 31, B-52’s on Aug. 5, K.D. Lang Aug. 11, Deftones on Aug. 13, Jimmy Page plus The Black Crowes on Aug 16, and Culture Club on Nov. 14. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Las Vegas Hilton – Engelbert Humperdinck July 11-16, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in their “Together Again” tour July 28-29, Reba McEntire Sept. 14-17, Kenny Rogers Sept. 22-23, Face To Face Sept. 30, Steven Wright Oct. 7-8, and Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in their “Together Again” tour Oct. 19-21 (return engagement) and Jeff Foxworthy Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. Tickets are available at (800) 222-5361 and Las Vegas Hilton discount rooms are available at (Las Vegas Hilton link).

Mandalay Bay – Dan Folgelberg on Jul. 14, Hall and Oats on July 21, The Fixx on July 22, LeAnn Rimes on Jul. 28, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill on July 29, the BB King Blues Festival 2000 on Aug. 1, Kiss with Ted Nugent Aug. 2, Brian Setzer on Aug. 8, Earth, Wind, and Fire on Aug. 16-19, Duran Duran Aug. 25-26, Little Feat Sept. 22, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Sept. 29. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

MGM – Penn and Teller July 27 – Aug. 9, Sting on Aug. 19, Carrot Top Sept. 7 – 13, and Pearl Jam on Oct. 22. Tickets available at (800) 929-1111 and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

Riviera – Rich Little on Oct. 6 and 7, Tony Orlando on Oct. 13 and 14, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling on Oct. 20 and 21. Tickets at (702) 794-9433 and Riviera discount rooms are available at (Riviera link).

Station Casinos – Paula Poundstone on July 28 at Sunset, and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes Aug. 4 at Sunset. Tickets at (888) 464-2468 and Station Casinos discount rooms available at (various Station Casinos links).

The Orleans – The Little River Band on Sept. 1-3, and The Everly Brothers Oct. 25-29. Tickets at (702) 365-7075 and Orleans discount rooms available at (The Orleans link).

Thomas & Mack – Korn, Powerman 5000 and Papa Roach on Aug. 9, Up In Smoke tour featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Eminem on Aug. 11, Red Hot Chili Peppers with Stone Temple Pilots on Sept. 13, AC/DC on Sept. 14, and Phish on Sept. 29. Tickets at (888) 464-2468. The Hard Rock hotel is within walking distance of the Thomas and Mack and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

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mandalay-bay-shark-reef-2.jpg (24789 bytes)Have you ever been to one of those seaside aquariums? “Baby, this ain’t one of those.” Mandalay Bay’s new Shark Reef features some of the most exotic and dangerous aquatic animals in the world and puts you right in the middle of it. They have built one of North America’s largest displays of sharks and other salt water predators.

The first part of the tour is through a tropical jungle, complete with lush green surroundings. You weave your way through a maze of a number of reptile displays, giving you possibly the closest ever safe look you’ll ever have at these intimidating creatures.

From there, you continue to walk through what looks like an ancient temple that has been claimed by the sea, eventually ending up underwater in part of a wrecked ship, surrounded by 1.6 million gallons of ocean water right here in the middle of our desert. These dangerous sharks, schools of fish, and displays of some of the most exotic marine life known to man aren’t just beside you, but above and below you as you walk through clear walls, floors and tunnels. (For the claustrophobic, let me note that the central rooms in the aquarium are very large — this isn’t like being stuck in an elevator).

mandalay-bay-shark-reef-3.jpg (27099 bytes)Shark Reef includes almost 100 different species including:

Sharks: Include blacktip reef sharks, bonnethead sharks, nurse sharks and lemon sharks. Some species of sharks at Shark Reef will grow to be more than 12 feet long.

Tropical and Fresh Water Fish: Include several species of angelfish, puffer fish and tang fish. Venomous tropical fishes include such species as the radiated lionfish and coral catfish.

Reptiles: Crocodiles, green sea turtles and ravenous water monitors are among the reptile species displayed at Shark Reef.

mandalay-bay-shark-reef-4.jpg (27925 bytes)Eels/Marine Invertebrates/Rays: Eels, invertebrates and rays each have exhibits to showcase their species at Shark Reef Moray eels, southern stingrays and hundreds of moon jellyfish are among these creatures.

We have a few minor complaints. Shark Reef is quite a hike from the main casino area (past the pool, the arena, convention area and then a little farther). They are looking to expand the resort in that part of the property, which will eventually feature a duplicate of their guests-only swimming area that will be open to the public. We hope they have some airport style people movers in the plans also.

mandalay-bay-shark-reef-5.jpg (15684 bytes)There are flat screen monitors throughout the display but they don’t say much. Perhaps more informative multimedia displays are planned. Also, the $12.95 price was drawing a few grumbles from people at the ticket booth (although none once they were inside). Perhaps a $10 ticket price in line with the Secret Gardens of Siegfried and Roy would be in order. (Our Secret Garden review with photos is available at ).

Still, it is a pretty captivating experience and if you have even a remote interest in natures more exotic displays, it will be money well spent. There were plenty of children and teens who were thoroughly enjoying it but it left us adults just as much in awe.

Shark Reef is at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Open daily from 10 AM until 11 PM, admission is $12.95. Children 12 and under and Nevada residents with ID are $9.95.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:Dina Pellatier wrote:

>The “Dr.á Naughty Comic Hypnotist” show at Bourbon Street is a
>terrible waste of money.á He and his staff are rude and physically
>abusive to those on stage.á For the sake of all those who come after,
>please do not promote the show — it should be closed.

We have yet to receive any requests to review it, and it’s not on our long term calendar. For those who want more info on Dr. Naughty the X-rated Comedy Hypnotist, you can find it at

>Hi Ted,
>I enjoy getting your e-mails about Las Vegas! á My friends and I go
>fairly often.
>We just got back yesterday evening & had a somewhat disappointing
>time.á We wanted to go salsa dancing but no one knew of any place.
>Although, we were recommend Rum Jungle at Mandalay Bay.á When we got
>there they weren’t playing anything in Spanish.

Good question and I have no answer offhand. Readers, if you can help, please drop us a line at

James R. Clayton wrote:

>Hi ….á I understand the reason for the casinos wanting to go
>coinless …á reduction of personnel in the cages, the floor cashiers,
>and their money handlers in nearly every aspect.á Also, just the
>removal of all of that coinage they have to mess with is a relief to
>them and I’m certain to their banking institutions.á And on, and on,
>and on ……
>HOWEVER!á ….á We have a relatively large “Indian reservation casino”
>near here and it is 100% coinless.á It sucks!á It is nearly no fun at
>all to go there and play.á We immediately miss the clank and clatter
>of the LV style of casinos when we enter there.á In fact, we have
>nearly abandoned going to play anything there in the past 18 months.
>It may be a pain for the LV casinos, but, that’s what makes it Las
>I suspect that most of the people who voted in your survey “for
>coinless” have never been in such a casino.á They will be the first
>and the loudest to cry when the casinos go “silent”!á Believe me: it’s
>like going to shop for a black suit at a funeral parlor.
>P.S.: Last words for you Las Vegans: There have been a couple of
>recent articles about “rowdies” and “rude players” in the LV casinos.
>Most of the time they are drowned out by the casino background noise
>(coins!).á When they go coinless, your nerves will be shot in ten
>minutes from the whooping and drunken yelling which will carry
>throughout the casino!

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at 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.

ONLINE POLL – “Do you believe a cocktail waitress’ job involves their looks?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published in two weeks! This is controversial — remember you are anonymous when you vote. I’m simply going to report the results.Results from last weeks poll “If offered, would you prefer coinless slots?”

Give me coins — I love the “ping, ping, ping”! 67%
I’m not particular as long as I get paid. 10%
Coins are dirty and heavy — coinless is for me! 22%


Rules (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest): You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 20’th entry in each contest will be the winner. Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.

Imperial Get-Away – Register to win 3 days and 2 nights at the Imperial Palace Free!
Deluxe room for two nights occupancy.
FREE Scratch Slotto Card. Over $1,200,000 in cash and prizes. Everyone’s a winner!
FREE Legends in Concert show, including two cocktails, in the Imperial Theater showroom Monday thru Friday.
FREE Emperor’s Buffet (Breakfast or Lunch) OR $5.00 towards food purchase in any of our fine restaurants.
Much more, enter at

SNAP LAS VEGAS – Trip for 2 to Las Vegas, including two round trip coach class airline transportation from the closest major airport to the winner’s home, 3 days/2 nights accommodations at the Luxor hotel, 2 day rental car and entertainment package, which includes Stratosphere Tower pass, Stratosphere lunch buffet, admission to The American Superstars and admission to Viva Las Vegas. Enter at

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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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New to the list? Back issues and subscription info can be found on the web at:

Don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter to friends and associates,
but please ask for permission before reproducing the content in any
form — we would just like to know who you are, that’s all. Thanks!

All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
July 12, 2000
ISSN: 1529-2770