Living Like a High Roller
Want to be a High Roller in Vegas? Let us tell you about the easiest way without breaking the bank.
The newest attraction in Las Vegas towers over everything on The Las Vegas Strip. At 550 feet, it is 9 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris Casino/Hotel and is taller than all other buildings on The Strip. Only the Stratosphere, which is technically not on The Strip, is taller at 1149 feet.
The High Roller, part of The Linq Hotel and outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment promenade, is the tallest Observation Wheel in the world.
The Observation Wheel, commonly known as a Ferris Wheel, was invented by George Ferris, who designed and constructed the world’s first for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. At 264 feet, it was the center-point of that World’s Fair and has become, on a much smaller scale, the center of all fairs and carnivals, large or small.
There are currently six wheels across the world standing 394 feet high with five others exceeding that mark; The Orlando Eye at 400 feet, The London Eye at 443 feet, The Star of Nanchang (China) at 525 feet, The Singapore Eye at 541 feet, and the High Roller at 550 feet. But we are not stopping there! There are two more in the works that dwarf all of these. Scheduled to open in 2017 is the New York Eye at 625 feet and the Dubai Eye at 689 feet in 2018. How far can this go? Is the sky the limit? There is probably an amusement park engineer designing how to build one the size of a small planet!
The actual “wheel” of the High Roller is 520 feet in diameter and carries 28 motor-balanced pods which can each accommodate up to 40 passengers. Each of these spherical pods weigh approximately 44,000 pounds and have a diameter of 22 feet and 300 square feet of glass.
The wheel is supported on a massive five legged base and rotates once every 30 minutes on two spherical roller bearings each weighing approximately 19,400 pounds with an outer diameter of over 7.5 feet and are over 2 feet wide.
Illuminated by over 2000 programmed multi-colored LED arrays with constantly changing colors and patterns, it is a spectacular sight in the Las Vegas night sky..
But, what you really want to know about is the experience. We enjoyed a night ride this spring along with Deb’s daughter Kellie. Deb, who is afraid of heights, was cajoled by us to come along. Much to my surprise, and emboldened by a couple rum and cokes, she agreed.
The rotation of the wheel and the pod is very smooth. The only sense of motion is seeing the ground and surrounding buildings slowly sink away. Then rise again on the downward half of the rotation.
Each pod can be equipped with a roll-in portable bar set up and bartender for those who purchase the “Happiest Half Hour” option. Riders can enjoy an open bar with unlimited drinks for the duration of the rotation.
The views are spectacular! All the lights on The Strip and the city beyond. But, our bartender, Jeremy, said he liked the daytime better. “You can see well beyond the city, all the way to the surrounding desert and mountains.”
I asked Jeremy, who has been working on The Wheel since it opened about two years ago, if he has ever had anyone freak out because of the height. He said he has not personally but, there have been a couple in other pods. I advised him Deb was a possibility.
There have been many celebrities ride The High Roller. So, pay attention to your fellow passengers, you never know who may be along for the ride.
The posted cost of a ticket is $23 for a daytime ride and $37 for night, which starts at 7 PM. Cheaper tickets can be found on sites like Groupon.com, Livingsocial.com, and BestofVegas.com. There are special holiday rates and be sure to check with your hotel or resort concierge for special pricing. Jeremy mentioned Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are very busy because Moms & Dads with families ride free. And, on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, active and retired military ride free with one paid ticket.
The cost of the open bar option was $10 for daytime and $15 for night. Probably the cheapest drinks on The Strip, unless you are gambling, when they are usually free.
Also , do not miss the shopping and dining options in The Promenade Shops at the base of the wheel. The Yard House and Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery for grub and brews, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop for your sweet-tooth, Flour & Barley for brick oven pizza, and Chayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar for your south-of-the-border cravings. And, only in America could this exist, Sprinkles Ice Cream & Cupcakes with its 24 hour Cupcake ATM!
How did Deb do? She was fine. She stayed seated in the center of the pod, nervously talking with Jeremy and enjoying the view. And her rum and coke.
Take a spin on The High Roller, it may be the highlight of your visit to Las Vegas. Go to BestofVegas for tickets.
If You Go:
Kids 12 and under always ride free. Show your local Nevada ID at the Box Office and receive more than 50% off your ticket purchase!