Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT

On our recent up and back Roadtrek trip to Connecticut in one day, we went at night to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut is near Ledyard, Connecticut. I am not a gambler. I would like to be but it is an extravagance that I really cannot afford. I have been known to drop some nickles in a slot machine or even a few quarters, but slot machines are not what they once were and now are video games that you put five and ten dollar bills into and push buttons to play credits. This takes the psychological factor away of the money actually leaving your fingers as you pull the handle - oh yes, there are no more handles - as you push the button. But I do like the atmosphere of a casino, particularly the tables and pressure and excitement of lots of money being risked, lost, and occasionally won. I get just as much entertainment walking through a casino floor and watching the play, as sitting down and worrying that when I leave, I will not have the payment that needs to be made that month on the Roadtrek. Meryl has never been a gambler. But we do go to casinos.

What I especially like at casinos are the buffet restaurants, and that was what we were doing at Foxwoods on this night. Before I tell you all about the casino, I want to tell you about this casino and your RV - Roadtrek, other Class B, Class C, or Class A - or travel trailer. Foxwoods has a parking lot for RVs - and you are permitted to stay overnight at the Foxwoods RV parking lot in your RV. I was very interested in seeing the RV parking.

We arrived having an idea where the RV parking lot should be as we have been to Foxwoods before and have driven past a lot that seemed to be it. But there are three parking areas at Foxwoods, each connected to the other by a road that runs along the front of the building, and we were not sure which one the RV parking was in. We drove into the middle entrance - three entrances from the road that the casino is located on - and did not see any outdoor lot, just an indoor parking garage. The height clearance in the three garages is not even close - no way the Roadtrek will fit in. We drove along next to the building to the last parking area. This is at the third entrance coming from north to south on Route 2 which is the access road to the casino. The entrance is called on the signs, Rainmaker Parking. The RV parking if you come into the Rainmaker entrance is on the left side about half way to the casino building. There is a large parking lot here for vehicles in general and at the far lower corner is the actual RV parking lot. It is nothing fancy. It is a paved parking lot with large spaces marked out. You are asked to park close to other RVs to allow spaces for others. There are no hookups. No electric, no water, no sewer and no dumping station.

This is what the lot looks like. As you can see there were not many RVs here and it did not change any later that night when we came out. In this lot you are about a five minute walk to the casino building. There is a shuttle bus that seems to run all night to take you to and from the lot to and from the Foxwoods building.

We actually parked in the lot across from the RV lot. It was almost empty. There was a truck camper parked in one of the spaces. I don't think there would have been any objection had we stayed there all night as the Roadtrek took up only one regular parking space - though I parked head in up against a curb with a grass apron and the front hung over the grass and the rear of the Roadtrek could then be completely in the space without sticking out. At the shuttle bus stop there was a large sign that said RVs must be registered with Security and directed you to the security desk in the Foxwoods building. We were not staying all night, and we did not register that we were there. The intent is that the security car that patrols the parking lots will keep an eye on your safety all night. Rather than take the shuttle bus we decided to walk up the path for the not very long walk. When we got to the building we were not seeing where to go in. Later we found that if you turn right at the building and walk to the middle of the side of the parking garage you will see a large entrance there that will take you to stairs that go right up to where the Hard Rock Cafe is inside the building. We did not see this when we arrived and turned left, went around the side of the building and found an entrance - which took us directly into the Poker Room. There was no problem - unless you are coming in with children as there is a sign at the door that says no one under 21 may enter. You will not have this problem at the entrance by the garage. While we are talking about the RV aspects of Foxwoods, I will skip to when we were leaving. It was about 11 pm - perhaps a little later. We walked to the lot and the Roadtrek. The photo above was taken at the end of the night. You can somewhat make out the RV specific lot in the distance with a few RVs still there. You can also see that we only have cars around us. We got into the Roadtrek and I wanted to see what digital television signals would come through the antenna on the Roadtrek and also if there was any wifi service to be found.

I turned on the battery disconnect switch - a miss-named switch that actually connects and turns on the battery power - and then pushed the inverter switch to have 110 volt power in the Roadtrek. Meryl cranked up the antenna while I unsecured the television and got the remote out of the cabinet. I turned on the TV and with the antenna in its start position, I set the TV to scan for channels. After several minutes only two channels were found. We spent about fifteen minutes turning the antenna, scanning for channels, and then repeating the process. With the antenna directed east we picked up 20 digital channels. There was a good assortment of entertainment channels but none of the big three networks. For a one night stay these were good enough, if we come back and want to stay overnight. We closed all of this down, cranked down the antenna - with a small bit of excitement when inside it seemed that the antenna should have been fully down and when I looked outside it was still half up. Oh boy - you can't drive with it up for so many reasons. I went back in and saw that the direction adjustment wheel was not in the correct position to lower the antenna. I cranked up it to full height, turned the arrow to face exactly where it has to be to lower the antenna and cranked it down. I went outside hoping it was down - and it was.

Before we left I wanted to find out about a wifi signal. I have a small tablet that I brought with us and I turned that on. There was no wifi signal to be found. I assumed that since there is a large hotel in the building that there would be a wifi signal that might reach into the parking lot. It does not - then again, I don't know if there is any signal even in the common areas of the building. And I have been in some casinos where even cell phone service was blocked. We did not try the laptop which we did have with us. That has a stronger wifi antenna than the tablet but most likely there would be no wifi found on the laptop either.

While we were inside the Roadtrek doing all of this the shuttle bus passed us maybe ten times making its rounds. There is good as there is someone passing by regularly to see that all is well.

So let me tell you about Foxwoods. The complex is made up of three buildings all connected to each other. At one end is the MGM Grand at Foxwoods - an MGM casino and hotel. This is connected to a middle and the original building of Foxwoods that is called the Grand Pequot Tower. This large complex is connected to the Great Cedar Hotel and Rainmaker Casino. There are more than four casinos including various casino rooms attached to each. There is a non-smoking casino but be aware that there is smoking allowed in many areas of this complex including common areas. The fourth casino is on an upper floor and is for "high rollers".

There are several entertainment venues in the complex. There is a bandstand in the middle of the rainmaker area that is open for all to enjoy and this starts to get rocking at about 9:00 pm or so. There is a theater for concerts. There is a comedy club. On one of the upper floors there is a bowling alley that is open to all. There are many restaurants and restaurant stands. My favorite restaurant here - and the one we came here for - is the Festival Buffet which during the week is $18.95 and on Friday and Saturdays is $19.95. These are all you can eat, all inclusive meals from soup to dessert and includes unlimited soft drink beverages, tea, and coffee. The menu selections change. On Friday and Saturday nights there is an extensive seafood section added with snow crab legs. (No lobster - not for this price up here in lobster country.) There is really a large assortment of things to eat on every night.

There is a game arcade for children complete with a tree house. There is also a little New England street set up with building facades that are actually shops. There is an assortment of nice but very expensive shops. There is a Rolex store here as well. That is across from the diamonds sold at the jewelry shop. There is also an Apple store next to the MGM Grand casino floor. I guess they would like you to transfer your winnings into gifts to bring home.

If you are a gambler, you will find every game you would like to play. I mentioned the poker room and Texas Holdem was being dealt on a room full of tables. There is black jack, roulette, baccarat, and craps - among other table games. There are huge rooms full of slot machines. No one under 21 is allowed in any casino room.

Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Native American tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. In the complex there is a small exhibit room about the tribe and their history. On the grounds of the complex there is a separate building that houses a large museum about the tribe. Admission is charged to visit the muesuem. I have not been to it, myself, but I am told by an historian who has been in it that it is quite good. On some return trip - especially now with the Roadtrek and the ability to stay here overnight in it - we will visit the museum and I will tell you if my friend was right.

If you are visiting Connecticut and want a place to stay for the night, you can come to Foxwoods, park in the RV lot, enjoy the complex, eat in one of the restaurants, and stay in your RV all night. I do not know how crowded this gets in the summer. This was the beginning of April. It may be that there is no place to stay - but your Roadtrek will fit in a regular space and if you park as we did, you probably will not have any problem getting a spot to stay in. If you leave the next day and come back again at night, I don't think there would be any objection. They want you inside gambling or spending money - and this is how they enable you in your RV to do that.

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