Disney World is famous for many things, but it is not always known for offering truly great deals. Except when it comes to the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Not only is the Japan Pavilion one of the most beautiful and tranquil, their "Pick a Pearl" shop is actually a great value for the experience and, ultimately, the pearl.
When we arrived at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan Pavilion, we headed straight to the Pearl counter to see how long the line is. Sometimes there are many many people just watching, which is totally fine too, but before you sign in, make sure the line isnt too crazy! To sign in, you simply head to the cashier and let them know that you would like to pick a pearl. The cost to pick the pearl is only $18. For the $18, you can keep it or take it home (or maybe lose it...). There are settings that you can purchase to have the pearl set into necklaces, rings, etc., but those obviously cost more. I have heard of people taking the pearl home and ordering a setting from Amazon or eBay. I actually have yet to choose a setting for mine and so I have two pearls just hanging out in my jewelry case!
Once you have paid the $18, you will be given a number. You can browse the Department Store (which I highly recommend. Its one of my favorite shopping experiences in Disney World!) or watch the guests before you choose their pearls. Once your number is called, you will step forward and choose which oyster you would like. Here is a tip: try to pick the ugliest, oldest, nastiest looking oyster in the case. They tend to be the largest and the most exotic!
After you have selected which oyster you would liked opened, the Cast Members perform a short ceremony on the drum and have you help them count to three in Japanese. They will then crack open your oyster revealing a pearl (maybe two!). They will measure it and note if it is an unusual color. At this point you have a pearl!
As I said, I love this experience. Its fun and unique, but also worth the $18 price tag as you get to walk away with a souvenir I don't rush to do the Pick and Pearl every time I'm at Epcot (if I did, I would have a LOT of pearls...), but this is one that I can easily and highly recommend if you are looking for something fun and different to do!
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!