Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unique Souvenir Ideas: "Pick-a-Pearl"

Lets talk souvenirs.  When you think Disney souvenirs, you probably picture mouse ears, t-shirts, and antenna toppers.  While these are quintessential mementos all guests should have, I also like to find something unique to help remind me of my vacation memories.  One of my favorite things to do is "Pick a Pearl."

At Walt Disney World, there are three locations to experience this- Downtown Disney, Beach Club, and inside the Japan Pavilion at Epcot.  My favorite is the Japan location, which can be found inside the Mitsukoshi store.  You'll know where to go if you follow the banging drum and cheers.

The first thing you do is pay for an oyster - about $17.  You will be given a number that will be called when it is your turn.  I've found that going early in the day when it first opens is easiest- it can get pretty busy later in the day.

While you wait, scour the tanks for the oyster you'd like to pick.  I've been told to find an ugly, hairy oyster, as they hold the large and pretty pearls.  I'm not sure if this is true, but I've loved the pearls I've received, and have been told that my colors are rare.  Many pearls will be white or cream, but there are also a variety of colors hidden in the oysters- such as pink, gray, blue, gold, and black.  Most oysters have a single pearl, but some have two, or twins.  The excitement is that you have no idea what your oyster will hold!

When it is your turn, show the cast member which oyster you have selected, and she will make a grand presentation of fishing out and opening it to reveal your pearl, counting down in Japanese.  Then it is rubbed in salt and measured- pearls normally range from 6-9mm.  If yours is large or rare, they announce it to the crowd and bang the drum.  The entire process is fun and celebratory, and all the cast members are full of energy.

Next, you can choose a setting for your pearl. There are a variety of options- rings, earrings, and necklaces- at a wide range of prices.  I've seen options as low as $20.  You can choose and pay for your setting, and pick it up within a few hours.  If you would rather bring it to a jeweler at home, you may do that as well.  The pearl comes with a cardboard box, or you can purchase one more secure for traveling for a few dollars.

This is one of my favorite souvenirs to bring home from Walt Disney World.  Since pearl jewelry is a little more subtle than Mickey ears, it is something I can wear everyday and be reminded of my favorite vacation memories.  Give it a try on your next trip!

Carissa



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