I've never stayed at Excalibur or Mirage, we've stayed at Paris, Madalay Bay and South Point. South Point was VERY inexpensive, VERY nice, off the strip, and a great place to end our vacation with the kids as it had it's own huge pool, game room, movie theater, ice cream shop, etc. It really catered to families but staying on the strip is so much fun. My kids were blown away and just wanted to walk around all the time at night.
We loved Nobu at Hard Rock and Mesa Grill at Ceasar's, I look forward to eating at those two places whenever we're there. DH's sister and her husband live there and the rest of his family surround that area so it's the easiest airport to fly into.
We didn't hike as we had all 3 of the kids with us so our goal was just to let them see the parks and get an idea of what it was like in that part of the country, they'd never been out West. Since my DH grew up there and lived in NM as well he's hiked all around there and looks forward to doing it again. He rock climbs too but there's no way I'd do that!
I'm so jealous that you're seeing The Beatles show! I'd LOVE to see it! I hope it's wonderful and that you all love it.
Dry heat?!?! It's still just HOT, HOT, HOT!!!