We flew out to Las Vegas for 3 nights before gathering at my sister's place in St George for Christmas. We went to St George via Vegas 2 years ago (on Christmas Eve morning), and that travel experience was harrowing (Katie's temporarily-missing blankie, massive US Customs lines, nearly missed flight, stare-down with Russian car-rental agent, etc).
This experience was different in nearly every respect. We arrived 2 hours early for out flight and found all the line-ups empty. The real challenge was entertaining our children for the extra time that we had in the terminal -- especially Katie, who sobbed that she wanted to go get on the plane IMMEDIATELY. Scott peacefully tore his way through about 52 dot-to-dot drawings while we waited.
Sadly, the plane seats were arranged in groups of 3, so we couldn't reserve our seats all together. Scott sat next to the window, Katie sat on the aisle, and I sat inbetween them. R was across the aisle, which was actually a half step behind us and a bit out of view of the action. Scott was really excited about watching the jet out the window, but he was ultimately disappointed that the roaring plume of flame he expected never materialized. Katie was a bit disappointed that they kept turning off Toopy and Binoo to make announcements and do the pre-flight safety demonstration. As for me, I just wanted to see who was going to win the basketball game. I never did get to see the end, since we got out of range the satellite before the game was ever. Sad.
Fortunately, we had packed our portable DVD player, which was useful once Scott tired of dots. Katie went over to visit Mom for a while, since there was an empty seat.
Once we arrived in Vegas we still had a small adventure. We did not rent a car this time, but we still took the shuttle to the car rental building because our hotel was located just behind it. Elbowing our way onto the shuttle was a bit stressful, especially given the lateness of the hour (pushing 11:00 pm). Once there, we loaded our bags onto a luggage cart and bolted out the back door of the building. We passed row upon row of parked rental cars, eventually making our way over some curbs and across a road into what appeared to be wash bays -- probably somewhere we weren't supposed to be. A car with some rental employees asked if we needed directions. I am sure that we looked hopelessly lost.
Finally, after removing some bungee cords to open a gate that was blocking our way, we made it to the hotel parking lot and managed to check in. What looked like a short walk on Google Maps was a lot more challenging near midnight with a load of luggage, two exhausted children and rapidly-dropping temperatures.
But we made it.