There are so many fun activities and souvenirs at Disney. It can be really hard to choose what you want to do. Do you want to purchase souvenirs at the parks or bring your own? Do you want to have t-shirts made? Do you want to ride the hot air balloon at Downtown Disney?
We always consider all of the options before we leave for our trip. Since we use our Disney Visa throughout the year, we typically use our reward dollars as our souvenir money. For our last trip to Disney, I wanted to do something different that we hadn’t previously done.
After looking around the DIS boards and perusing some other Disney blogs, we came across Pick-a-Pearl. It looked like a really fun experience and who doesn’t want to come home with a nice piece of jewelry at the end of the trip?
There are four locations at Disney where you can Pick-A-Pearl: inside Mitsukoshi store in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, Downtown Disney and the Yacht & Beach Club resorts. I’ve read on different blogs that they have a location at one of the water parks, but some say Typhoon Lagoon and some say Blizzard Beach so I’d recommend trying one of the other three places. They are all the same concept, but I believe they are all owned by different companies so the experience might be a bit different at each location.
We visited the Pick-A-Pearl at Mitsukoshi in the Japan Pavilion. We knew we would have time before our dinner reservation at Teppan Edo (review coming soon!) so it was the perfect time and location to try something new. We arrived about an hour before our reservation and walked around the whole Japan pavilion before we went to the Pick-A-Pearl counter.
When you arrive at the counter, and just be forewarned – if you are visiting the one in Japan, it can be quite busy, visit the register and let them know how many oysters you’ll be picking. We picked two, one for me and one for Anniston. Pay for those and they will give you a number. Waiting time will vary by the time of day and the number of customers that are also there to pick-a-pearl.
Once they call your number, you step up to the counter and you choose your oyster from the oyster tank. There are tons to choose from. We just randomly picked ours but I’ve heard that people are more likely to get a pretty pearl or a set of twin pearls from the grayest, ugliest oysters.
When they have your oysters, they make a big deal about opening them – think chanting and drums and such. Then they make an even bigger deal about the size, color and cleaning of the pearl. If you want to have them set into a setting, after you receive your pearls, you check out for that separately.
Anniston and I each had our pearls set into a necklace. Just remember, if you have them do it (if you bring your own setting, you’ll have to do it yourself. They won’t set it into your own jewelry.) you’ll have the cost of the setting, plus if you are getting a necklace the cost of the chain. Before we went, I had no idea that you could pre-buy settings online. I definitely would have done that if I had known. It took about an hour to set the pearls. We left for our dinner reservation and they were completed by the time we were finished with our meal.
For two pearls, two necklace settings and two chains, I believe our total cost was around $120. Not terrible but we could have definitely saved some money by ordering the settings and chains online.
It really was a fun experience. It’s one that we will most likely repeat each time we go. I wear my pearl necklace at least once per week, sometimes more. It’s my favorite souvenir that I’ve brought home by far. I’d recommend this experience for people of all ages – boys included. They might not care about the actual pearl, but it would be a fun experience for them. And, hey, maybe they’ll just have something made for mommy!