Entertainment in Las Vegas

Entertainment in Las Vegas

21 February 2020 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Valerio Mazzoli /

Sinful Las Vegas, the world’s gambling capital with an economy focused entirely on its 24-hour casinos, is now almost just a memory. The city has changed its face (and the process is far from over) focusing on entertainment, also for families. Without losing its propensity for the superlative and the glittering.

Valerio Mazzoli, theme park & attraction designer

The first time I visited Las Vegas I was 19 years old. My brother had surprised me, he came home with 2 plane tickets: an adventure that lasted 40 days. I remember that after hours of driving in the desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a magical city of lights appeared out of the dark. A fantastic vision! A thrill I will never forget.

Decades have passed since then, but Las Vegas is still an incredible city, always in constant transformation following the various trends related to gambling, live shows, and now more than ever for family entertainment.

I remember that already back in 1969 the Circus Circus hotel & casino had an area dedicated to amusement, with rides and various shows. MGM (owners of Circus Circus until a few months ago) took a risk at the time: on the land behind the hotel & casino they built a large theme park, a sort of Disneyland with a Main Street and various attractions with different themes. Unfortunately it was not successful, and after a few years it was dismantled.

The problem of having different visitors, including entire families and not just gamblers, has become increasingly pressing in Las Vegas over the years. In the 1990s, with my company that had an office in Las Vegas for about 5 years, I created a large part of Magical Empire for the Caesar Palace, based on a design by Landmark from Los Angeles, a major construction project. Families could safely visit this area without going through the casino. The project was divided into various experiences: a restaurant with private rooms and the appearance of a magician to entertain guests, various shows with special effects and much more.

A photo taken in the 90s showing guests enjoying an eatertainment experience at Magical Empire in Caesar Palace.

Another unforgettable attraction back then was the entrance to the Treasure Island Hotel with an incredible show: the reconstruction of the famous Tortuga Island, complete with combat between ships and the sinking of a galleon. I personally believe that was one of the most exciting Las Vegas attractions ever.

However Vegas needs to continually transform and renew itself, just like the leading fashion designers. For several years the changes have been enormous: just think of the Venetian Resort, where almost by magic you enter a lagoon with gondolas and gondoliers. The same for the Paris, the Bellagio, the New York New York and others. The shows are spectacular and unique and the need to increase the entertainment offering is growing more than gambling, so as to attract more visitors.

Personally, I don’t like gambling, so attractions and entertainment other than traditional casinos are more than welcome in Las Vegas. However, I hope that the city, even if it is no longer ‘sinful’, remains in a general imagination as a destination of adventures, a little risky and extravagant, as it was to me back in 1969.

Taken from Games&Parks Industry February 2020, page 72

Valerio Mazzoli /  theme park & attraction designer / info@valeriomazzoli.com