In addition to a massive casino gaming area, the hotel, which cost $1 billion to build, included many other amenities, among them, numerous shops and restaurants, a pool area and spa, video arcades, the Grand Garden Arena seating over 16,000 people, and an outdoor theme park called Grand Adventures. In 1998, Studio 54 and a huge conference center were added, and in 1999, the Mansion, featuring 29 private villas, opened on the property as well. Another new addition in 1990 was a Lion Habitat, around which guests could line up and enjoy a free view of up to five lions prowling about. The Lion Habitat became a very popular tourist attraction
Unfortunately, Studio 54, Grand Adventures, and the Lion Habitat have all closed down. Studio 54 was replaced by a larger facility, the Hakkasan Nightclub, Grand Adventures never caught on with the public, and the Lion Habitat simply experienced the same fate as an ever growing number of free attractions along the Vegas Strip. Today's visitors to the MGM Grand will have to be content with the sight of the majestic 45 foot tall, 1,000 lb. bronze statue of the MGM mascot, Leo the Lion, which is impossible to miss as one enters the hotel. By the way, the Wizard of Oz characters are also gone. The interior of the 4 Diamond MGM Grand is now very similar to that of other hotels in its class, except for being bigger.
The MGM Grand is rated as an AAA 4 Diamond Hotel, so it is certainly more than adequate for most guests. Even so, just as you would expect of a hotel this size, the type of accommodations varies greatly from small and barely okay to so ultra luxurious as to be fit for a king or queen and entourage. In fact, the MGM is very popular with the rich and famous, including Prince Harry. Particularly, if the Grand Garden Arena is holding a special event like a major fight or other big celebrity draw, A list personalities will show up in huge numbers. There have been sightings of Robert de Niro, Mark Wahlberg, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Jay-Z and Beyonce, just to name a few. That is not to say visitors of that stature won't also make a visit at other times. There is no telling which celebrities you might encounter during the course of your stay.
Prices vary considerably, not only for the different types of accommodations, but also for the same accommodations, depending on season, day of the week, and overall demand. We suggest booking as far in advance as possible and also checking the website for special deals. Also, keep in mind that the MGM Grand participates in the M Life Player's Rewards Program, so if you are an active cardholder and especially if you are a rated player, you can probably secure a much better hotel rate than those quoted for the general public. Qualifying players can even stay for free.
Assuming that you, like most guests, will be paying for your room(s), the prices shown online are based on double occupancy, so if three or four guests will be staying in the same room, the daily cost increases by $35 plus tax for each extra guest. Additional beds or cribs, if available, (website says they are not, but some reviewers report they are) will also increase the cost. The mandatory tax of 12% and daily resort fee of $33.60 will bump up the cost even more. The following are a few examples of accommodations that you might consider for your family and the approximate cost, not including the tax and resort fee, (for two people although these rooms can accommodate up to four).
Grand Queen Room
446 square feet
Although the size of this room is only average rather than grand, according to the website, it can accommodate up to four guests. However, only two beds are provided. These rooms offer the following amenities:
- 2 queen size beds with Presidential pillow-top Serta mattresses and plush linens
- 40" flat screen HDTV
- High speed Internet and Wi-Fi access
- Media Connecting Hub
- Fully stocked minibar
- Lap-top size safe
- Automatic blackout shades
- Marble adorned bathroom with deep soaking tub and large backlit vanity mirror
- Iron and ironing board
The price per night, as shown online varies from under $100 to close to $200. If you want a room with a Strip view, expect to pay a little more.
Executive Queen Suite
675 square feet
The Executive Queen Suite can also accommodate up to four guests, but the accommodations are considerably more spacious. In addition to all of the amenities that the Grand Queen Rooms offer, you get the following extras:
- Spacious living area
- Additional pull-out sofa
- Second 40" flat screen TV in the living room
- Separate shower in bathroom
According to the website, for double occupancy, you can probably expect to pay from $150 to over $200 per night, not including the aditional charge for more than two guests or tax or resort fee.
If anyone in your family is in need of a handicapped accessible room, the MGM Grand is a good choice because those kinds of rooms are plentiful. The only drawback to staying at the MGM Grand is the enormous size of the hotel, which will almost necessitate renting a wheelchair for anyone with difficulty walking long distances. The good news is that the accessible rooms do not cost any more than comparable rooms for non-handicapped guests. The Grand Accessible Queen Room is the same size as the regular Grand Queen--446--square feet--but offers the following additional accessible features:
- Close to elevator
- Lowered safety/amenity bars
- Shower spray with extension
- Lowered temperature control and A/C wall unit
- Soaking tub/shower option
- Retractable shower/bathtub bench seat
- Electronic drapes
- Lower closet rods
- Push-button nightstand lamps
- Fire alarm with strobe flashes
Grand Accessible Queen Roll-In Shower Rooms have the same amenities as the above plus a roll-in shower and protective sink sleeves.
When Money is No Object
Naturally, there are larger and more expensive accommodations available. For families where money is no object, those other options include Penthouse Suites, Skylofts (with 1-3 bedrooms), and the Signature at MGM Grand. The two-story Skylofts are located on the hotel's top two floors, while the Signature at MGM Grand consists of three towers, each housing 576 suites, mostly with private balconies.
Those who wish to avail themselves of the ultimate luxury that the MGM Grand has to offer will find it at the Mansion. These accommodations, which are in a separate part of the resort complex, but in walking distance of the main hotel and casino, consist of richly appointed villas, a grand salon and other elegant sitting rooms in which to relax, and a private walkway and swimming area outside. Ordinarily the Mansion is reserved for whales, but non-gamblers who are willing to fork over $5,000 to $15,000 a night won't be turned away.
We assume that price does matter for most readers of this article, so we offer this advice. Don't be in too great a hurry to book your room without first taking the time to make sure you are getting the best price possible. Certainly you should look at the special offers posted on the website to see if you can get a better deal than you would otherwise. The following are some special offers that are available now. All offers are subject to availability and possible blackout dates.
Play the Smart Hand
Book with hotel directly between now and 8/31//16 using Offer Code MGMD15W to receive the guaranteed best rate for a particular type of room. In addition, you will receive complimentary admission for two adults to Hakkasan nightclub on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday plus a 30% discount on tickets to KA.
- Of Course You'll Over Do It
Use the Offer Code MBFPK15W for rooms starting at only $75. You will also receive two passes to the Buffet. This offer is valid through 8/30/16.
Vegas At Its Best
This offer sounds almost too good to be true, but you can book a suite starting at only $115. Remember that the rate is based on double occupancy and does not include the tax and resort fee. Use Offer Code MGMSTE20 between now and 5/30/16.
AAA members receive 10% off the hotel rate they would be charged otherwise.
Any special requests such as a nonsmoking room or room near the elevator should be indicated at the time of making the reservation. Because of the lack of clarity on the website about sleeping arrangements for your kids, be sure to inquire beforehand and make sure that the accommodations you book will be adequate. You might have to book more than one room. Unfortunately, the rooms don't come equipped with a coffeemaker or refrigerator, although the latter can be ordered for $25 plus tax per day. If anyone in your family requires a refrigerator for valid health or dietary reasons, be sure to indicate that, and you can probably have the cost waived. Don't make the mistake of using the minibar as a refrigerator for personal items. There won't be room to accommodate them without moving the existing items around, which will result in extra charges even if you don't consume those items.
The normal check-in time is 3 p.m. and the normal check-out time is 11 a.m. If the room is ready, you an request an early check-in, and if a late check-out is desired, that can often be arranged as well. In both cases, an extra charge is imposed. However, if you are a rated player, any such charges should be waived.
One mandatory charge for all guests is the daily resort fee of $33.60 (including tax). The fee covers the following amenities:
- In room high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi
- Daily copy of USA Today
- Free local and toll-free phone callas
- Limited business services (e.g., outgoing faxes, copies, notary service, and boarding pass printing)
- Free access to the Spa Fitness Center for guests age 18 and older
As mentioned earlier, MGM Grand is one of the hotels participating in the M-Life program. If you already have an M-Life card either from the MGM Grand or another participating casino and are a rated player or have at least done some playing during the past year, you are probably already receiving special online or mail offers. Usually these offers are for a better room rate than the website shows for the general public. You might even receive invitations from time to time to stay for free. If you have a host or would like to request one, call at least a month before your trip and see what arrangements can be made for you. Even if your recent play has been minimal and/or you have not received any offers lately, you have nothing to lose by calling Card Services anyway to try to get a reduced rate on your room.
If you don't have an M Life card yet, when you arrive at the hotel, you can get one. Since it is completely free and puts you under no obligation to play, there is no reason not to have it. However, any rated play you do register during the course of your stay at the MGM Grand or any other M-Life casino will count towards possible comps you can use towards meals, shows, or other hotel expenses. Simply charge any such costs to your hotel room, and by the end of your stay, you might have enough comps to cover some expenses. In any case, just for having stayed at the hotel, your name will be placed on the list to receive special offers in the future.
Children are welcome at the MGM Grand, not in the casino, obviously, but there are many other activities at the hotel that will keep them happily occupied, and the Hollywood theme itself will appeal to children. In addition, the hotel is very conveniently located. Besides being close to the airport, there are multiple other casino hotels within walking distance. Kids will also enjoy riding the Monorail, which has a stop at the MGM Grand. That's assuming your family has the time to explore other parts of the Vegas Strip. Your kids might be having such a grand time at the MGM Grand itself that it will be hard to get them to leave. The following are some of the activities at the MGM Grand that are perfect for kids.
All of the major hotels in Las Vegas have swimming pools, but the Grand Pool Complex is in a class by itself, featuring no less than four outdoor pools, three whirlpools, a lazy river, cascading waterfalls, and first-rate amenities.
The pools and lazy river are open seasonally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both adult-size and small kid-size tubes can be rented so the whole family can float down the lazy river.
Seating is available on a first come-first served basis, and the Cabana Gill restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks poolside. Items on the breakfast menu that might appeal to kids include the Cabana Breakfast (eggs, bacon, and potatoes) or Breakfast Burrito. The lunch menu is also very child friendly, with pizza, burgers, and a wide variety of sandwiches all available The burgers and sandwiches are served with a choice of fries, kettle chips, or harvest vegetable chips. Soda and lemonade comprise the nonalcoholic beverages.
Families that would like to relax in more upscale surroundings can reserve a cabana. Each cabana has a private patio and comes equipped with a flat screen TV, private safe, mini refrigerator, complimentary lazy river tubes, and personalized service. Reservations should be made in advance by calling 1-702-891-3086. Rates vary depending on the season and day of the week. Guests must check in or confirm by 11 a.m. on the day of the reservation.
World's Largest Coke Bottle and Everything Coca-Cola Store
2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the world famous coca cola bottle. If your kids love this popular drink, they will be excited to see and have their pictures taken in front of the world's largest coke bottle right by the MGM Grand. They will also have a fun time checking out the memorabilia in the Everything Coca-Cola Store and sampling different cola drinks from all around the world. The Everything Coca-Cola Store is located just steps away from the hotel at the Dryers Ice Cream Showcase Mall at 3785 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas attractions that are perfect for all kids and kids of heart from 2 to 92 are hard to find, but M&Ms World is one of them. The colorful décor, upbeat music, and sight of candy and more candy will instantly energize anyone walking through its doors. The main floor is where you will find the perfect souvenirs for yourself, your kids and anyone else on your list. But the three upper floors are the areas that will delight your kids the most. On the second floor there is a rainbow made entirely out of 22 colors of M&Ms. On the third floor, head to the station called "My M&Ms" where you and your children can customize the candy you purchased with a personal message all your own. Another not to be missed feature is a 10 minute movie in 3D called "I Left My M in Vegas."
M&Ms World is located next to the Everything Coca-Cola Store just steps away from the MGM Grand, so it is impossible to miss. It is open every day of the year from 9 a.m. to midnight, so pick whatever time of the day or evening is most convenient. However, for obvious reasons, we don't recommend right before dinnertime. Also keep in mind that the place gets really crowded in the afternoons.
The candy at M&Ms World is a lot more expensive than the M&Ms sold in your local store, but don't fret it. Admission is free and so is the entertainment, so whatever you spend on candy will be a very small price to pay seeing the big smiles that light up your kids' faces.
In addition to the shopping at the Showcase Mall, and especially the Coca-Cola Store and M&Ms World, there are a lot of shops on the MGM Grand premises. These are the ones that are most likely to have merchandise that would appeal to children.
This vintage-inspired shop features merchandise from all of the major professional sports leagues.
CBS Television City
This store is filled with apparel and souvenirs from both classic and current TV shows. Open daily 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
One stop shopping for specialty souvenirs, clothing, and accessories for the whole family. Open daily 9 a.m.-11 p.m.KA Boutique
After you and your family have seen the Cirque du Soleil show KA, you might want to stop by this store next to the KA Theater and pick up some Cirque du Soleil merchandise or souvenirs. The KA Boutique is open Sun. and Mon. from noon to 8 pm. and Tues.-Sat. from 2 pm. to midnight.
This store, which is open 24/7, is your go-to place for all of the basics--souvenirs, sundries, snacks, and beverages.
If you have more extensive shopping in mind, consider an outing to the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm, NV. This mall is a bargain hunter's paradise with store after store of top quality merchandise from high end retailers at greatly discounted prices. There are also many inexpensive family-friendly places to eat at the mall, including a huge food court.
There is a daily shuttle to the Primm Fashion Outlets leaving directly from the MGM Grand at 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 2 p.m. and returning from Primm back to the MGM Grand at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. Ordinarily the shuttle costs $15 for a round trip ticket, but guests of the MGM Grand ride free!
Check with the MGM Grand concierge a day in advance to make sure these times are still accurate and to make your reservation.
MGM Grand Entertainment
There is no shortage of family-friendly entertainment at the MGM Grand. In addition to the options listed below, all of which are expected to be long-running, keep checking the calendar to see if any headliner acts will be performing at the Grand Garden Arena during the time you expect to be in town.
A concierge is on hand daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., who will be happy to recommend and assist you in planning and reserving suitable activities and entertainment for your family both in and out of the hotel. The concierge can help with tickets to shows, concerts, and other events, make dinner and cabana reservations, arrange day trips, and handle special requests.
Unfortunately, none of the MGM Grand shows appear to offer special pricing for children. However, you don't have to pay the high prices listed on the website and quoted below. Visit the Tix4Tonight booth located next to the MGM Grand where you will find discounted prices for many shows, including CSI: The Experience, David Copperfield, and Jabbawockeez at the MGM Grand, along with long running popular shows at other casino hotels. Other good places to find discounts for both shows and meals are online and in the free Las Vegas magazines you can pick up all over town.
CSI: The Experience
CSI: The Experience is recommended for older children and teenagers. They will have a unique opportunity to play the role of a criminal science investigator in this fascinating 60-90 minute show complete with state-of-the-art forensic crime labs and amazing side effects. CSI: The Experience is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the last entry at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $28.
CBS Television City Research Center
This is another activity that older children can enjoy. The CBS Television City Research Center at the MGM Grand welcomes visitors to come in and view and give their feedback on proposed new shows. CBS Television City is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The center is located near the pool at the end of the Studio Walk. No advance reservations are necessary, and viewing is completely free. However, we suggest you call or stop by ahead of time to get the schedule to make sure you pick a family friendly show. Your kids will appreciate knowing that their own opinions will count in deciding which shows should go on the air and which should go on the chopping block. After the show, you can visit the CBS Television City store and buy T-shirts and memorabilia from your favorite shows. Allow about an hour and a half for the show, completing the survey, and shopping.
KA by Cirque du Soleil
This extravagant production includes acrobatics, martial arts, pyrotechnics, and jaw-dropping aerial feats. Performance times for the 90 minute show are 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily. Prices start at $75.21. However, you can take advantage of a special online offer to buy one category B, C, or D ticket and get another for $50.
What a treat it will be for your kids to see this world famous illusionist perform. You can catch the 90 minute show almost any evening at 7 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. or also at 4 p.m. on select days. Tickets start at $77.79. Children must be at least 5 years old to attend.
This new 90 minute show at the MGM Grand is suitable for all ages, and the mesmerizing music, choreography, and special effects should make it especially entertaining for children. Show times are Thursday-Monday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., as well as at 4 p.m. on select dates. Prices range from $54,49 to $119.90. Children under age 4 are admitted free.
Child Friendly Activities Nearby
As you can see, the MGM Grand is bustling with enough activity to keep any child happy. But if you have the time, by all means explore what some of the other nearby casino hotels have to offer. We list below the family friendly attractions and entertainment options that are closest to the MGM Grand, but if you prefer, the Las Vegas Monorail will transport you quickly and cheaply to many more. No need for expensive taxis.
- Fun Dungeon: More than 150 games for the whole family
- Castle Walk Shops: The Las Vegas equivalent of Toys R Us
- Tournament of Kings
- Australian Bee Gees Show
- Mandalay Bay (take the free tram from the Excalibur)
- Shark Reef Aquarium
- Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil
- The New ILLUSIONS
Most of your time in Las Vegas will be spent enjoying activities as a family. But there will also be a few occasions when some alone time away from the kids is desired, so it is important to plan ahead and know what childcare options are available to you. While the MGM Grand does not offer any childcare on the premises for visiting families, the concierge can contact the highly recommended Nannies & Housekeepers USA on your behalf and make the necessary arrangements.
Nannies & Housekeepers USA is a licensed, bonded, and insured service that has been reviewed very favorably. You can learn more about this service on their website www.nahusa.com or by calling 1-702-451-0021. We also refer you to our own review of Nannies & Housekeepers USA in the article "Recommended Childcare in Las Vegas: Children with Special Needs" elsewhere on this website. Nannies can be requested 24/7 to come to the hotel to take care of your kids. Whatever their ages, they will be in good hands because all of the nannies have at least two years of experience, are CPR and first-aid certified, and have passed extensive background, reference, and screening checks. The only possible drawback that we can see is that the service might be too expensive for some families. The fixed rate is $45/hour for up to three children, with a four hour minimum. If you are looking for a more affordable childcare alternative, consider taking your kids to drop-off center. Another article on this website suggests a few such places.
Finding a child-friendly restaurant at the MGM Grand won't be a problem, but be forewarned that this hotel also showcases many high end restaurants which from both a price and menu standpoint would not be a practical choice for a family with young children. We also suggest that you charge your meals to your room because if you play in the casino, there is always the possibility that some of your meal costs can be picked up. Unfortunately, while the menus for most of the MGM Grand restaurants are included on the hotel website, the prices are not, so we cannot give precise prices in most instances. Also, unless otherwise indicated, there is no special pricing for children. However, all of the restaurants listed below are inexpensive to moderately priced and should be sufficiently affordable for most families. In addition to the Cabana Grill, open seasonally, which was mentioned in a previous section as a good place for breakfast or lunch, here are some other family-friendly restaurant options at the hotel that are open year-round.
The brightly colored blue and tan décor and choice of tables seating four or high-backed booths provide an attractive and comfortable setting for an unhurried family breakfast or lunch. Avenue Cafe is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 pm. and offers traditional diner fare. Some of the breakfast items that children might like are steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar, cream, and raisins, two eggs with bacon, ham, or sausage and hash browns, an open faced grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and buttermilk or red velvet pancakes. A good choice for lunch would be the chicken tenders appetizer or a burger or sandwich with fries, cole slaw, or fruit salad. Soup can be added for an additional $3 or a milkshake for an additional $6. However, the 8 oz. serving size of the burgers might be too much for most children. Similarly, macaroni and cheese with grilled chicken and green peas is another child-friendly dish, but probably enough food for two children. The meal can be topped off with a sundae or "bowl of ice cream" for dessert, but again figure on one dessert being more than big enough to serve two kids easily.
MGM Grand Buffet
Whether you go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this place is appropriately named because it truly is grand. The hours of operation and recently reported prices for each meal are shown below. Expect to pay a little more than the prices shown on holidays. However, there is special reduced pricing for kids for all meals, and discount coupons are also readily available. Children under age 4 eat free!
This eatery is designed like a pizza factory. Your kids will love this place because they are in charge of designing their own pizza, picking their choice of dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings. There is a two minute "pizza in progress" wait, after which their customized-baked pizza comes out of the oven piping hot and ready to eat. Hours of operation are Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
This Las Vegas branch of the famous deli with the same name on Seventh Avenue in N.Y.C., is open round the clock on weekends and from 6 a.m. to late at night the rest of the time. In fact, all of the meat is delivered directly from the East Coast. The huge menu offers enough variety to please anyone from a hungry teenager to a youngster with a finicky appetite. Prices aren't cheap, but portions are huge.
Breakfast choices are limited, but your kids can have a bagel and cream cheese with or without smoked salmon or a bagel with egg and ham or bacon and cheese. Freshly squeezed orange juice and milk are also available.
The lunch and dinner menu is much more extensive. All sandwiches come with a pickle on your choice of bread, but any sides like fries or potato salad cost extra. The two most popular sandwiches are hot corned beef and hot pastrami (or if you want both, you can order a "Daily Double." Other sandwich choices include brisket, roast beef, turkey breast, ham and cheese, tuna or chicken salad, and chicken liver. Or your kids can have a hero size hot dog. After all that food, your kids probably won't have room for dessert, but if they insist, a Krispy Kreme donut or a cookie should satisfy them.
MGM Grand Food Court
When you don't mind fast food on the go, the MGM Grand Food Court is packed with reasonably priced, family-friendly options, including all of the following:
- Pan Asian Express
- Bonanno's NY Pizzeria
- Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
- Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs
- Original Chicken Tenders
McDonalds is open 24/7. All of the other restaurants have extended hours from morning to late at night.
Blizz Frozen Yogurt and Desserts
This self-serve frozen yogurt place has been popping up in casino hotels all over town. Simply help yourself to whatever combination of flavors and toppings you want. Smoothies and crepes can be ordered as well. Hours of operation are Sun.-Thurs. from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Summing Up: Is the MGM Grand Child-Friendly?
The MGM Grand is the kind of place that kids should love because the sheer variety of activities, restaurants, and entertainment makes boredom practically impossible. The hotel offers an abundance of exciting things the whole family can do together without even leaving the premises. But at the same time, the hotel is close enough to other places your family might enjoy to diversify your experience even more. Virtually every hotel on the Strip is either within walking distance or a short Monorail ride away.
Of course, like every other hotel in Vegas, this one has certain negatives, which we would be remiss if we didn't point out. In making your decision as to whether the MGM Grand is the right hotel for your family, you therefore need to take factors like the following into consideration.
- Lack of clarity about availability of extra beds and cribs, probably necessitating booking two rooms or a suite for a family to be comfortable.
- There are no refrigerators or coffeepots in the rooms.
- The hotel seems to want to nickel and dime guests, adding extra charges for everything from an extra guest in the room to early check-in and late-checkout.
- The tremendous size of the hotel will make navigating the property difficult for anyone who has trouble walking long distances.
On the other hand, you will have a hard time finding another place in Las Vegas that is as well suited for a family on vacation. If you can afford the relatively high priced rooms and are prepared to pay more than you think you should for meals and entertainment as well, the MGM Grand is probably as child-friendly as Las Vegas gets.