Excalibur Hotel and Casino - Wikipedia

Excalibur Hotel and Casino - Wikipedia

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Edit linksThe Excalibur occupies approximately 50 acres (20 ha),1 located along the Las Vegas Strip at the southwest corner of the Tropicana – Las Vegas Boulevard intersection.2 The property was once the proposed site of the Xanadu, a 1,730-room resort announced in 1975. The Xanadu was never built, as its developers could not secure a deal with the county on the sewer infrastructure such a large project would have required.3

Circus Circus Enterprises purchased the vacant site in May 1988,45 and announced plans a month later to build a castle-themed resort on the land.6 The company held an international contest to determine the name of the new resort. More than 180,000 entries were made, and the winning name, “Excalibur”, was selected from more than 33,000 names.78910 It is named after King Arthur’s mythical Excalibur sword.1112

Groundbreaking for the Excalibur took place on October 7, 1988.1314Marnell Corrao Associates served as the general contractor.15 The $290 million resort opened on June 19, 1990,111617 receiving 30,000 visitors on its first day.18 The Excalibur was among new entertainment-oriented megaresorts to open on the Strip, continuing a trend started by the Mirage in 1989.12

On March 21, 2003, Josh Ford of Los Angeles hit the largest Megabucks Jackpot to date of US$39.7 million at Excalibur.19

Circus Circus Enterprises became Mandalay Resort Group in 1999,20 and ownership of the Excalibur was passed to MGM Mirage in 2005, after it acquired the company.21 The resort’s new owner was subsequently renamed MGM Resorts International in 2010.22 Ownership of the Excalibur, along with many other MGM properties, was transferred to MGM Growth Properties in 2016.23Vici Properties acquired MGM Growth and its properties in 2022, while MGM Resorts continues to operate them under a lease agreement.24

Designedit

Decorative interior work The medieval castle theme was conceived by Circus Circus founder William Bennett,13 and the resort was designed by Veldon Simpson.25 Bennett studied old castle renderings, and he and Simpson visited castle sites in England and Germany for design inspiration.1626 Simpson’s Excalibur design was inspired particularly by Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.2726 Trademark experts were hired to avoid replicating the castle designs at Disneyland and Disney World.16 The Excalibur’s medieval architecture includes stone turrets, and a moat and drawbridge.28

Yates-Silverman handled the interior design.2930 The firm conducted library research into castles and also visited such buildings in Europe, in addition to film studios. According to Michael Erickson, design director at Yates-Silverman: “We were basically looking for the same level of design that you would find in film. If you designed rooms as they literally looked during the traditional period, they would be dark, dingy and dirty. You have to romanticize it a little bit and take more of a theatrical approach.“31

Featuresedit

Exterior of the hotelCasino floor The Excalibur has 3,981 rooms,3233 spread across four 28-story towers built out in a square footprint.1116 The resort originally opened with 4,032 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the world.1116 This record was surpassed by the 1993 opening of the MGM Grand, located diagonally across from the Excalibur.34 A hotel remodeling project began in 2006, and was scheduled to conclude four years later. In accordance with guest feedback, the multi-phase project removed castle-themed elements from the rooms in favor of an understated design.35

The Excalibur’s casino measures 92,389 sq ft (8,583.2 m2).36 It opened with 2,630 slot machines,11 and more than 100 table games.37 In 2008, the Excalibur removed its live poker dealers and replaced them with automated tables manufactured by Pokertek, through a deal that lasted 10 months. The new tables appealed primarily to a lower-paying clientele and beginners, prompting the resort to bring back live poker, which was preferred by experienced players and those willing to spend more.38

Upon its opening, Bennett described the Excalibur as an upgrade from the Circus Circus resort in Las Vegas, while still targeting the same family demographic.16 Family friendly attractions included an arcade, an indoor medieval-themed midway, and motion simulator rides taking place in two theaters, each seating 48 people.1637

South of the Excalibur are two other MGM properties, the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. The three resorts are connected via the Mandalay Bay Tram.39 Of the three, Excalibur is considered the low-budget property.4041

Restaurantsedit

The Excalibur included 17 restaurants upon opening.11 In 1997, the resort added the Steakhouse at Camelot, which would go on to become a Zagat award winner.42 At that time, it also included the second-largest buffet in Las Vegas, seating more than 1,300.43 In 1998, the Excalibur announced a partnership with World Championship Wrestling to open a wrestling-themed restaurant at the resort.4445 The $2 million WCW Nitro Grill opened in May 1999, and operated for 16 months, featuring regular appearances from professional wrestlers during that time.4647

In 2007, Dick’s Last Resort opened an 11,000 sq ft (1,000 m2) location at the Excalibur.48 The band Lynyrd Skynyrd would also license its name to a new restaurant at the resort.49 Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer opened in December 2011, along with American Burger Works, both managed by the same company. The two restaurants operated for nine months, eventually closing due to financial problems.50

Buca di Beppo opened at the Excalibur in 2011.5152 A year later, the resort debuted its Castle Walk food court, which introduced several eateries not already on the Strip. At 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m2), it was among the largest food courts on the Strip.5354 Because the Excalibur had an exclusive deal with Pepsi, the food court housed one of the few McDonald’s in the world to vend the soft drink rather than its competitor, Coca-Cola. The McDonald’s eventually closed in 2016.5556

Johnny Rockets opened in 2014, taking the space formerly occupied by American Burger Works.57 Later that year, the resort completed a $6 million renovation of its buffet, which seats 610.585960Fatburger opened its first Strip location in 2022, at the Excalibur.61

Live entertainmentedit

Medieval showsedit

Main article: Tournament of Kings Tournament of KingsThe Excalibur has featured two medieval-themed shows since its opening, both taking place in a 900-seat dinner theater. Jousting has been a signature aspect of both shows.1162 Performances take place in a dirt arena,6364 and meals are served medieval-style, without utensils.656667

The original show, King Arthur’s Tournament,68 included 45 actors and 15 horses upon its opening.37 The show closed in January 1999, after approximately 5,600 performances. It was replaced a month later by a revamped version known as Tournament of Kings.6365 More than $2 million was spent to update the show and remodel the arena.66 Both shows were created by the French-born producer Peter Jackson, who died shortly before Tournament of Kings was launched. His son, Patrick Jackson, took over as producer.636569

Tournament of Kings incorporates pyrotechnics and various stunt work, including sword fights.6470 As of 2008, the cast included up to 38 humans and 11 horses. The show had a total of 30 horses, kept in an air-conditioned facility behind the resort.71 As of 2010, it was the only show in Las Vegas to feature horses.72King Arthur’s Tournament had featured female horse riders, although it would not be until 2014 that Tournament of Kings introduced its first female rider.737475

Tournament of Kings is popular among families.7176 It is the Strip’s longest-running dinner show,76 and also one of its longest-running shows in general.64 The Excalibur is the world’s top buyer of Cornish game hens,69 having served 6.7 million of them through the show from its original opening in 1990 through 2018.64

Dragon showedit

In 1993, the resort debuted a three-story animatronic dragon, part of a show in which it faced off against a mechanical statue of Merlin. The show took place at the moat entrance, and was performed hourly each night.777879 The fire-breathing dragon was created by Alvaro Villa’s company, AVG Inc,80 and took nine months to build.7778 A six-story dragon had previously been considered.81 The dragon and Merlin effects were generally considered underwhelming. In 2002 and 2003, readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal named the show as the city’s worst attraction.7879 The show ended around 2003,82 although the dragon remains intact, hidden beneath the drawbridge.83

Other showsedit

Thunder from Down Under opened at the resort in July 2002, and is the longest-running male revue in Las Vegas.848586 Since 2011, the Thunder from Down Under venue has also been host to The Australian Bee Gees Show, a tribute to the original Bee Gees musical group.878889 The venue originally seated 375 people. It was renovated in 2019 and named the Thunderland Showroom, with seating expanded to 425. Magician Hans Klok began performing in the space later that year, sharing it with Thunder from Down Under and the Bee Gees show.8590 Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Klok departed the property in 2020, as he felt that pandemic-related restrictions would hinder revenue.91 Magician Mac King took his place in 2021, starring in a comedy magic show.9293

Other shows at the resort have included the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, a group of Lipizzaner horses which performed various maneuvers for spectators during the 1990s.949596Catch a Rising Star, a chain of comedy clubs, opened a location at the Excalibur in 2001, operating there for nearly three years. The club was added in response to guest feedback.979899Louie Anderson also performed comedy acts in the resort’s showroom, starting in 2006.100101 He entertained there until 2010.102103

Fuerza Bruta, a show featuring acrobats, opened in March 2019. It was performed in a 3,800 sq ft (350 m2) on-site tent,104105 with a standing-only capacity of 950 people.105 The show was signed for a six-month run, but ended a month after its debut,106107 due to poor ticket sales; each performance had an average of only 50 guests.105

In 2003 and 2004, the Excalibur was used as a filming location for the television program Fear Factor.108109 The 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features fictional resorts based on those located along the Strip, including a castle-themed property modeled after the Excalibur.110

Galleryedit

  • The Excalibur’s main entranceThe Excalibur’s main entrance
  • Overlooking the main entrance from New York-New YorkOverlooking the main entrance from New York-New York
  • View from a hotel room, looking southwestView from a hotel room, looking southwest
  • Same view at nightSame view at night
  • Roadside sign along the StripRoadside sign along the Strip

Referencesedit

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