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Making Magic on the Strip

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A night on the town with my mini-me

Generally speaking, seeing a show in Las Vegas makes for a special evening. Certainly, there’s a wide range of spectacles to behold, but chances are you’re going to be at least mildly amused no matter what you do. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a variety of Las Vegas shows over the years and have always enjoyed myself, but it was the experience earlier this month with my son Enzo, who just turned 7 on Friday, that I’ll cherish forever.

I have to admit that it was sort of designed to be this way. This past May or June, when we heard about the Katy Perry residency at Resorts World, we jumped at the presale and got tickets for my wife to take both of our daughters (ages 8 & 10) to see her new show ‘Play’. We ended up keeping it a secret until Christmas morning, then after all of the presents had been opened we broke the news about the show.

Christmas morning

Since the girls in our family had such a big night planned on Saturday, January 8th, I decided to do something special that same night with our son Enzo. He had been expressing interest in seeing a magic show, so I bought tickets to see David Copperfield, which I also revealed on Christmas morning. He was excited and couldn’t wait to get back to school and tell his friends that we were going to the biggest magic show on the strip!

Show weekend

The day before the show I received an email confirming our tickets, and everything was looking good, but later that afternoon I received an email saying the show had been canceled. I was devastated. There was no explanation given regarding the cancellation, just an assurance that a refund was being issued.

I quickly started looking for another magic show. Shin Lim? Sold out. Mat Franco? Sorry. I was set on finding a magic show for Enzo and ended up discovering The Mentalist. It was a mind-reading show, so not your traditional style of magic, but the reviews were good and the clock was ticking, so I purchased two tickets.

Breaking the news to my son about David Copperfield was tough. He started to cry, which made me feel worse, and the news that we were going to a mind-reading show instead wasn’t exactly mitigating the situation. Instantly he felt like he was getting the short end of the stick compared to his sisters, and I didn’t blame him but promised that I would do everything I could to make it a special night.

The next day was show day and we decided to leave early. The show didn’t start until 7:30 pm, and we live only 20 minutes from the strip, but we left the house at 3:30 anyway. I wanted plenty of time to wander and see where the day took us.

Out on the town

Even though Copperfield was canceled, we still started things off at MGM Grand. We checked out the Jabbawockeez theater and gift shop, before doing the same at the Copperfield theater (Turns out the 5 of us are seeing Jabbawockeez next week so look out for that review coming soon). We looked in the window of Joël Robuchon and marveled at how perfect everything was set up. Even the peppers on a tray near the kitchen were perfectly color-coded. The place settings were all so perfectly laid out, and the crystal glassware all looked spotless. I spent my 20s working in fine dining so these kinds of things always stand out to me.

We walked up to the MGM Sportsbook and I used this as an opportunity to explain a little about the illegal sports gambling operation his Grandpa (my Dad) used to run out of our house when I was a kid. I don’t know how much he understood (or retained) but it felt like one of those right place, right time moments.

We left the MGM and decided to strut our stuff on the strip for a little bit. Between Enzo’s red leather jacket, and the dance moves that naturally flow out of him at any given moment, he gets a fair amount of attention and comments. He acts like it’s nothing but I know he’s an entertainer at heart.

Dinner at Nacho Daddy

We ended up having dinner at Nacho Daddy, and although I’ve heard mixed reviews, I can honestly say that we both enjoyed it very much. We waited about 20 minutes for a table, but now that I’ve introduced Enzo to the Madden Football video game, he’s a lot more interested when there’s a football game on TV. We watched the Cowboys while waiting for a table, as Enzo recited to me all their most important statistics in the Madden game.

A couple of years ago my wife and I switched to a plant-based diet, and although we’re not the strictest vegans on the block, we try to follow an all-plant diet as much as possible. We had heard Nacho Daddy had a variety of plant-based options on their menu, so I was eager to try. I ended up getting their Vegan Loaded Nachos and was quite happy with it. Enzo enjoyed his quesadilla as well, plus the service was good and the prices were reasonable. I would go back to Nacho Daddy, especially if I’m looking for plant-based Mexican food.

Exploring Bellagio

We finished dinner but still had a couple of hours before showtime, so we walked across the street to watch the Bellagio fountain show. Enzo had never seen anything quite like it and was very impressed. I figured if he liked the outside he would probably like the inside as well, so we walked all over, seeing everything Bellagio had to offer. By the time we were leaving Bellagio, Enzo was calling it one of the top 3 days of his life, and we hadn’t even made it to the show yet. As we strolled down the strip towards Planet Hollywood, I think we were both overcome by the sights and sounds from this lively Saturday night.

Enzo seeing his first Bellagio fountain show

The Mentalist

The Mentalist plays at the V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. It’s a small theater with no production going on in the show, but that didn’t stop it from being exciting, even nerve-wracking at times. I don’t want to give too much of the show away, but there was a part with a collection of nail guns that had my heart racing. I had never been to a mind-reading show before but it turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining event. He tells you how he’s coming up with all of the answers, but it’s still on the verge of unbelievable.

Not only did Enzo enjoy the show, but I can’t believe how much of it he continues to retain. He frequently tells people details of the show, as well as about his experience getting to meet Gerry McCambridge, The Mentalist, immediately after the show. We ended up buying a magic kit from Gerry, as well as a copy of our photo that was taken before the show. They got me for an extra $50 in the end, but it’s all stuff the Enzo proudly displays in his bedroom, so it was money well spent in my opinion.

Enzo meeting The Mentalist after the show


As we made our long walk back to the car, Enzo was overcome with joy from the evening. He was tired, as it was past his bedtime, but that didn’t stop him from thanking me profusely for making this such a special night. No longer was it just top 3; we had officially made it to “Best Day Ever” status in his mind. Well, the pleasure was all mine, and seeing him living his best life gave me a sense of joy that only a parent would understand.

In the end, I made a promise to Enzo that we would still see David Copperfield live, and that’s certainly a promise I intend on keeping. The great thing about living here is that you’ve always got so many options for world-class entertainment. Before that, however, we’ve got the Jabbawockeez show to look forward to next week.

For those that have never had a night out in Las Vegas with their child, I highly recommend it! I realize it’s not the type of evening we normally associate with Las Vegas, but in my opinion, that’s the beauty of Las Vegas; there’s something for everyone regardless of age. While this isn’t the kind of thing we do all the time, it’s always an option, and when you do it right, you just might have the night of your life, even when the show gets canceled.

Michael Pellegrini is the owner of Vegas Showbiz, LLC. He and his wife Jessica enjoy blogging and vlogging about Las Vegas. Their 3 kids, Ava, Elise, and Enzo frequently make appearances in his content as well. You can follow Michael at

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