The Little Things
Souvenir shopping at the Walt Disney World Resort is nearly as exciting as one of the entertaining attractions for adults and kids alike. With such a selection of stores, specialty shops, kiosks, and street vendors, it’s hard to decide what you should shell-out your hard earned Disney dollars for as a lasting memento of your vacation.
Among all the obvious choices, like the classic plush toys, click pens, trading pins, apparel, and accessories that can be found at countless locations throughout the Resort, lies a pearl of a souvenir, tucked away in the Epcot theme park, that you may not have considered or even known about that’s suitable for everyone. It’s quite unique, and in fact, it is literally a pearl!
The Pick-a-pearl experience at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion is one of the BEST and little known opportunities to score an uncommon keepsake from your Walt Disney World Vacation. For a mere $18-plus tax (as of the writing of this article), Guests get the opportunity to select an oyster from a fully stocked water tank, which will then be ceremoniously opened—by a very theatrical Cast Member—revealing the prize inside. In most cases, one pearl is discovered, but it has happened (to us) that TWO pearls are found inside the oyster shell. “Twins” are cause for celebration and the Cast Members do a great job of making the experience, be it one or two pearls, positively exciting.
After the big reveal, they will wash the pearl, measure it for you and place it in a small plastic zipper baggie, noting the size. At this point you have the option to be on your merry way or have the pearl placed in a setting, which comes with a sizeable price tag. In the jewelry cases are rings, necklaces, charms and cages, to name a few, that you can have your pearl(s) set into. Depending on how busy they are or the type of setting you choose, it could take about an hour to complete your order. On the other hand, Etsy has a wonderful selection of crafters that sell beautiful and much more affordable options to showcase your treasured pearl. If you are considering this experience for your next visit, preemptively browse online to view some options. This is the route that I took and I am very pleased with the quality and price of my purchase.
While Pick-a-pearl counters can also be found at Disney Springs, the Yacht and Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, the most memorable and fun experience (there will be drumming) happens in the Japan Pavilion inside of Mitsukoshi located just underneath the Teppan Edo restaurant.
If you aren’t certain if it’s for you, stop-in and watch the fun. The counter is in the middle of the store and Guests often gather around to see the show. There usually isn’t a long wait, unless it’s raining outside. In which case (which was ours) our turn came after about 30 minutes. Totally worth the wait!