One would think by now that the creative minds in Vegas would be running out of ideas to lure visitors back to the city over and over. Think again. Year after year, construction on the Strip is keeping things fresh from the not so creative shopping outlets to the more creative, unique experiences. The world’s tallest Ferris wheel, named the High Roller, definitely falls into the second category and has arrived in Las Vegas in what is yet another impressive attraction in an effort to lure visitors to Vegas. But is it worth the ride?
The 550-foot tall observation wheel is located within an open-air retail, dining and entertainment district known as The LINQ which is located between The LINQ Resort & Casino and Flamingo Las Vegas, directly facing Caesars Palace. Although it lays claim to the title of world’s tallest Ferris wheel, it is a temporary honor as larger wheels are to be constructed in New York and Dubai. But hey, it is still great to be number one even if it is short lived.
Open 365 days a year, riders are treated to a 30 minute experience at a cost of $24.95 during the day or $34.95 at night inside one of the 28 pods which each hold 40 people. The extra $10 for the night time ride is definitely worth it considering the views of the Strip at night are spectacular. If incredible views aren’t your thing, this isn’t the ride for you as with the High Roller travelling at one foot per second you won’t be screaming out in fear of the speed. From the ground, the wheel is equally as cool at night as 2,000 LED lights create an eye catching display.
The big question becomes, is it worth the money? For me attractions like this come down to the entire experience from purchasing tickets through exiting the ride. Upon arrival you can choose to purchase your tickets at a kiosk or one of the two ticket windows. From there, depending on the crowd, you may end up having to wait in what I refer to as “pre-pre-boarding” where you wind around through a maze structure waiting on a bag check and ticket taker.
Once through security you enter the High Roller lounge. It is very important to note that outside drinks are not allowed. You can purchase a High Roller drink in a souvenir cup for $17. The cheapest beverages are draft beer or a soft drink for $7. From the lounge you head to the “pre-boarding” area. TV screens provide instructions along with various other videos. Time to take out my phone and wait.
From there it is onto the pod itself. There is bench seating but I found myself standing and moving around a lot so no need to worry about the perfect seat. There are video monitors within the pod pointing out Strip attractions and providing other insights of the wheel itself. One last important note, use the bathroom prior to boarding the pod or be prepared to wait the 30 minutes.
This is Vegas so one expects the line-ups and the high drink prices, so no surprise there. As with most amusement park rides it is what you have no control over which could potentially ruin the experience. It is not hard to imagine finding yourself on a pod with a group of drunk people or those who decide to lay claim to one spot in the pod and not move. Although the view is 365 degrees, you can’t escape the fact some locations are better than others, however slight. Smelly, loud obnoxious co-riders could also make this a disappointing experience.
Odds are you won’t run into any trouble makers and end up having an incredible time. It is hard to not be impressed by the engineering itself and yes, you may end up being a little apprehensive as you climb to new heights. But when all is said and done it is the view itself which is really incredible, making this an absolutely must do at least once Vegas attraction.