Viva Las Vegas

Day 24

Arrived on a late flight to the sparkle of Vegas lights with my powerchair and Steve’s scooter waiting for us at the door of the plane! Such great service by Vegas Airport and United!! I got accessible cab (and friendly driver) quickly from the airport and Steve went with the support team and luggage to find our Dodge rental in the Airport car park. And it was HOT! Like I mean very very HOT! Cosmopolitan Hotel was the place to be seen. Our room on level 32 had great access and awesome views from the balcony of the famed Bellagio fountains! The roll in bathroom was huge and the space in the room was ample. We had to get the bed raised to accommodate the hoist but as they say in the US ‘not a problem’.

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The stunning view from our balcony

Day 25

We spent the day exploring the Bellagio, Caesars and Flamingos Casinos. This place is something else. Not really our cup of tea, but great to experience the madness just once. When we arrived back at the Cosmopolitan we cooled down with an ice cold drink at the incredible chandelier bar.

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The epic 3 level chandelier at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

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Pedestrian wheelchair access along the Strip we found tricky as it is via a series of footbridges with elevators. It quite often meant backtracking to find an elevator and one night they were out of service so that was annoying, and we ended up zooming along a smelly back alley way racing to get to a show. Classy. A highlight of our time in Vegas was the Human Nature Jukebox show at Palazzo in the Venetian, in the same room that the rat pack played!! After the upbeat, entertaining show I got to meet and chat with the boys – what a thrill!

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Meeting Toby, Mike, Andrew and Phil – what a thrill!
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The Venetian

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Day 26

Drove to Red Rock Canyon only 30 minutes from The Strip. Very accessible Visitors Centre and boardwalk with spectacular views of Red Rock Canyon….impressive and so quiet you could hear a pin drop – but it wasn’t the Grand Canyon…..so we continued our journey.

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Natural beauty was a welcome relief from the Vegas sensory overload

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After an enjoyable 4 hr drive sight-seeing via Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam and through the Joshua Forest we made it to the West Rim. The Hualapai Indians welcomed us warmly and took us on the Twilight Tour (all fully accessible coaches). After spotting coyotes and deer we arrived at the gigantic, awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Like nothing else we have ever seen. The helicopters flying in and out looked the size of flies. The Colorado River snaking 400 feet below. We struggled to believe we were witness to a wonder of the natural world! The sun was setting and there were barely any people about due to the lateness of the day, what a perfect way to see this incredible sight. It was made even more special by deeply connecting with ranger Cody who had tragically only  recently lost his brother. Of course I shared about the loss that Steve and I had experienced in our life, this moment was surreal. The Grand Canyon was absolutely a highlight of our trip and something we would encourage everyone to add to their bucket list.

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Lookout just after the Hoover Dam

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Wild deer in the Grand Canyon National Park
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Onboard the accessible coach on the 6 min drive out the the West Rim

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On the drive back to the highway we started to realise there had been no street lights, cars or buildings for over an hour. Then suddenly, Thelma and Louise style, our vehicle came off the bitumen onto a gravel road. Bizarre. A few miles further down the winding road we saw a body of water that we distinctly remember we did NOT pass on the way into the park. We all had that sinking feeling that we had taken a wrong turn, and immediately we checked our fuel level (half) and our cell reception (none). Yes we were lost in the Arizona desert! It was dark now, the moon was full and we literally told each other (and ourselves) not to panic, that we had simply taken a wrong turn, and just needed to head back the way we had come. As someone mentioned that we must be near Area 51, there began talk of aliens and all of a sudden a light flashed in front of our car – the first light in ages kind of spooked us all. “What a story this would be….one day” we laughed, as we eventually found our way back to Dolan Springs, and then onto the Highway to Boulder City, and back to Vegas. Lesa (our driver), Steve and I all agreed that this was one of our most memorable and fun days on our trip.

NOTE: We were very disappointed to learn that the brand new Grand Canyon Skywalk is NOT wheelchair accessible – I reckon but our experience was better!

Day 27

After recovering from our massive day at the Grand Canyon, we spent another hot day exploring the sights ‘n sounds of the Strip. What a contrast to the natural beauty of one of the 7 Wonders of the World. We particularly enjoyed the New York New York casino after having just spent time in the real thing. After some souvenir shopping and a quick visit to the Hershey’s shop, we had tickets to a Burlesque Show at the retro Flamingo – it’s not Vegas if there’s not a tacky adult show right?!

Day 28

We didn’t think it could get any hotter or more seedy or tacky but a 20 minute drive away the old Vegas at Freemont St was a sight to be seen. The original ‘Strip’ with anything goes buskers, people flying above along the zipline and a pretty great band, made for an entertaining afternoon. And there were a few sights we tried hard to un-see. The highlight of the afternoon was being married by Charles – the Marcel Marceau style wedding celebrant for $10 – what a bargain!

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We said ‘I Do’ not believe how tacky is Vegas!

Our final night in Vegas was spent at Mandalay Bay to see the The One Michael Jackson Cirque de Soleil – it literally was so incredible, I have named it the best show ever!!! Think parkour, aerial stunts, musical, rock concert, fantastic effects and moving tribute to the King of Pop – we were both in awe (and tears) the entire 2 hours. Then dinner with my love at the Libertine Social gastropub chatting to delightful barman all night. Delicious parmesan churros, duck spring rolls and ricotta pancetta……we did not want this night to end; it was hard to believe but Vegas was actually growing on us. We rode the monorail back to our hotel to have drinks with our mate Pete from Sydney who was in town for a Poker Tournament! From Viva Las Vegas to a 7th Wonder of the World, the Nevada & Arizona desert is something spectacular and a time I will never forget.

Day 29

Leaving Vegas, a road trip down Route 66 towards Anaheim was a bucket list item. And what better place to stop for lunch than at Peggy Sue’s Diner in the middle of the desert. We ordered the biggest meatloaf sandwich ever! (Glad we shared it). What a great collection of rock n roll memorabilia and lots of famous faces on the walls. Quintessentially American.

 

Transport options

 

Las Vegas International Airport 800-456-1371

 

Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals

Reservations: 866-859-8880

5757 Wayne Newton Blvd,

Las Vegas, Nevada 89119

https://wheelersvanrentals.com/index.php

We paid a little extra to pick up in Vegas and drop off in LAX. This allowed us to have transport whilst in Vegas and on the roadtrip to LA, and around LA.

Vegas Monorail was very accessible and convenient

Accessible taxis fairly available

Wheeling around most of the strip is do-able – and going in each casino for air-con a must in summer!

Accommodation details

 

Cosmopolitan

Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV, United States

Terrace Studio Fountain View with balcony, king bed and roll in shower – exceptionally large and accessible!

Support crew stayed in a City room 4 people – in another lift tower so that was a bit awkward. When I booked the person said they would be in same tower but when we arrived no they were in another high rise.

Checking in and out took a while as this place was super big and busy, but the room was great!

There were great facilities including accessible toilets, bars, cafes, restaurants, buffets, Starbucks, shopping and pool. And self and valet parking.

Length of stay 5 nights – that was enough for us!

 

Attractions Booked Human Nature and Cirque de Soleil in advance from Sydney. This allowed us to plan our time in Vegas. You could even book accessible seats on the online seating map for the Cirque de Soleil show, and via phone call and email to the Palazzo for Human Nature. Excellent wheelchair accessible seating at both venues.

Red Rock Canyon Visitors Centre

Grand Canyon West Rim

 

 

 

 

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