Excalibur vs. Circus Circus Resort

If you are planning to go to Vegas and are looking for a place which may be suitable for the whole family (where there are children), you are probably going to ponder booking the Circus Circus or the Excalibur, in the hope that your children won’t hate you forever because you dragged them to an adult-oriented place. This page will also discuss pros and cons of these 2 Vegas resorts for the adult-only visitors.

First of all, I have to highlight that Las Vegas (and in particular all the main resorts and casinos), is not the place I would take children (for reasons that range from the heavy smoke everywhere, to the high level of alcohol-related ‘bad’ behavior). However, if you really need to take your children there, then you’ll probably want to offer them something that they will also enjoy. Therefore, the budget resorts Circus Circus (now with many remodeled rooms) and Excalibur will be on the shortlist, understandably. But… Which one is best for your family?

In terms of ‘things do to’ for children, Circus Circus has the best set up, thanks to its huge Adventure Dome: here you have a wide range of rides which cater to all ages, from toddlers to teenagers; the more sophisticated rides are great fun for adults too and, I must admit, I would have stayed there all day if it weren’t for my partner who literally had to drag me away. Even if you decide not to stay at Circus Circus, if you have children you will probably want to take them there for a full day of fun: they will thank you for it.

However: their pool (though remodeled) is relatively small though absolutely great for those who actually want to swim, since it has a deeper area (a welcome change from the usual hip-deep shallow waters of so many Vegas resorts pools) and it certainly does not offer a range of rides which would be ideal for children; the rooms are very clean and now offer a range of comforts above the most basic (the ‘Manor’ rooms): we found the West Tower rooms (only a few dollars more than the Manor rooms) very comfortable, very spacious, remodeled in a tasteful way and very clean. The Circus Circus casino used to be far worse than Excalibur’s, but these days it has improved significantly, with new slot machines and an overall new, more modern ‘feel’.

Despite the Disney-esque look, Excalibur is really not suitable for children. Yes, they do have a basement area where children and families can find games to play together, but they certainly cannot even compare to the great Adventure dome of Circus Circus. I view Excalibur as a mediocre compromise for those who seek budget accommodation with something for children in a better location than Circus Circus’. A positive feature is, however, their huge pool area, one of the largest of any Vegas hotels, with a large enough section designed for children, with kids water slides (which can be used by adults too, of course).

The rooms and the corridors at Excalibur could hardly be described ‘child friendly’: all of them are smoking (well, the non-smoking floors have people smoking in the rooms, as in the case of so many low-to-mid-range Vegas resorts, and everywhere you go you can smell and breathe smoke, no matter how hard you try not to). If you don’t mind your children breathing smoke, then Excalibur is worth considering by families. However, bear in mind that it’s extremely loud, with semi-naked girls dancing on several casino tables (some times) with extremely loud music, and it’s filled with drunk middle age men holidaying on the cheap; we were surrounded by them on the ‘non-smoking floor’ (filled with smoke). Recent Update: mid week has been pleasant change for us: the atmosphere is not so ‘crazy/loud’, and I saw a large variety of couples of all ages staying, which made the environment a lot less hectic.

A key positive feature, however, is that the Excalibur casino is undoubtedly much larger (though much more filled with smoke) than Circus Circus; children are not allowed on the casinos floors but, if you manage to get a baby sitter whilst you want to gamble nearby, and if you don’t mind the smoke, this casino will provide plenty of fun.

Presumably you are considering these 2 options (Circus Circus or Excalibur) also because you may be on a budget, of course. We stay at all main Vegas resorts and we have stayed at both these resorts as well, especially when all other Strip resorts were running ‘impossibly high rates’. If you don’t mind the location (neither resort is on the best area, which would be mid Strip, of course), Circus Circus may offer the edge because of the Adventure Dome and the newly remodeled rooms, although Excalibur does have some remodeled rooms and suites which will be perfectly acceptable to most. The rest of the resort (Circus Circus) is not luxury, of course (far from it), but neither is Excalibur! As per security, at Circus Circus it is absolutely top class, actually, and they take customers’ complaints very seriously and act very quickly on it; unfortunately this has not been our experience at Excalibur, where it more or less feels like it’s all a big messy place and it’s ‘people-doing-whatever-they-like-all-the-time’ approach.  Excalibur, however, has so many rooms that you may actually be lucky to find a good room in a good location for a great price; if you do, then Excalibur is a great deal.  We stayed at Excalibur many, many times.

What about other ‘child-friendly’ Vegas resorts?

MGM pool area does have a family-kids-oriented section, the river ride, which is fun, but apart from that I would not say it’s family-oriented. This because the whole, massive, super crowded pool area has been remodeled and geared towards young party-type crowds, although there are sections for all ages.

Mandalay Bay is now attracting a large number of families who are not on a budget, given the large wave pool and the lazy river. It is also attracting young party crowds, though, boasting 2 beach-pool-party-clubs (one of the top-less) and lots of ‘sexy’ venues… This means that Mandalay Bay has become very loud; bring your own ear plugs if you want a restful night. If you found this page useful, please share it by clicking on the share buttons below.

More details on Excalibur  –  More details on Circus Circus  –  Affordable Vegas Resorts on Weekends  –  How to Find Free Rooms in Vegas  –  Must-do & Must-See in Vegas