TI Treasure Island : The VegasTripping Review 2008
Review, Photos and Video Walkthrough of the New Rooms at TI Treasure Island
Enough time has passed since the 1993 opening of Treasure Island : The Adventure Resort for the children of families it was originally marketed towards to bring children of their own to TI. Perhaps you were one of those kiddies, holed up in a hotel room watching the hour long infomercial Treasure Island : The Adventure Begins on closed circuit TV as your folks gambled away the mortgage payment downstairs. Maybe you spent some time peeking out the window to try and catch a glimpse of the King of Pop through the curtains of the Michael Jackson Suite at the neighboring Mirage. Maybe you passed the evening by beating the crap out of your siblings with the plastic machete purchased at the gift shop.
One thing is true, the TI of today is not your parents' Treasure Island. In fact the TI of today didn't exactly know what it was until relatively recently. Treasure Island's quasi-identity crisis can be traced back to it's initial conception - perhaps one of the only reactionary projects in the canon of forward thinking casino developer Steve Wynn and his (then) company Mirage Resorts.
The opening of Treasure Island's big brother property The Mirage in 1989, with it's many 'family friendly' attractions, dislodged the first boulder in a massive building boom, most of it focused on Las Vegas' new 'bring the family' marketing credo. Within a period of four years, a tidal wave of family centric resorts bloomed from the desert floor, putting the squeeze on The Mirage's visionary success by offering similar features, but realistically priced for actual family budgets. Excalibur, Luxor and MGM Grand all preceded the opening of Treasure Island or commenced production at roughly the same time. Facing a full court press by two of its largest competitors - Circus Circus Enterprises (Mandalay Resorts) and MGM - Mirage Resorts literally fired cannonballs across the bow of their competitors with the announcement of Treasure Island : The Adventure Resort. Treasure Island would be built where the Mirage's parking garage was and would feature a Strip facing, Disney-esque pirate production show of similar grandeur to the Mirage's volcano a few hundred yards south.
Pirates weren't the only ones doing battle over Treasure Island. In 1990 - three years before Treasure Island at the Mirage opened - another casino named Treasure Island was opened by the Prairie Island Community of Mdewakanton Dakota tribe in Minnesota. Upon applying for trademark for the Treasure Island name in 1997 (four years after the Vegas outpost opened) the Prairie Island application was denied - ooops - Mirage Resorts had trademarked the name even though they knew there was already a Treasure Island casino in operation. Of course lawsuits ensued, in the middle of which Mirage Resorts was taken over by MGM, who inherited the problem from Wynn and company. Three or so years later, the Las Vegas Treasure Island changed its name to TI Treasure Island and began to slowly dismantle it's passe swashbuckling family friendly theme in favor of a more risque interpretation of "pirate's booty." Buccaneer pirate battle? Gone, to be replaced by the sexy Sirens of TI show. In the ensuing period, the Frankensteinian vision of Treasure Island as buccaneer paradise and TI as bootylicious archipelago have coexisted in a cauldron of thematic question marks whilst parent company MGM Mirage elected to fry other city-within-a-city sized fish. Visitors, us included, have stood by - or walked past - not knowing what to make of TI's unfinished business.