A Surprise in Every Shell – Pick A Pearl in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

I’ve always loved surprises. Back in the 80’s when I collected stickers, I can’t tell you how many “goodie bags” my mom bought me in the local sticker shop just because not knowing what was in there made it that much more exciting and enticing for me. I can’t say I’ve changed much since then – I still love mysteries where you get a prize in the end. So of course I love special things like the Pick a Pearl station in Japan’s Mitsukoshi store in Epcot. I still have the first pearl I got at a similar set-up in Silver Springs with my sister. I finally decided my kids should get to experience the fun so a little while back they got to pick their own pearls and see what awaited them inside.

Here’s how it works:

pick a pearl
First, you go to the register and pay for the pearls you want to pick.

pick a pearl
Then, wait your turn if it's busy like this. They do a really nice little ceremony highlighting some Japanese etiquette too.

pick a pearl
You get to pick your oyster from either tank.

pick a pearl
Next, she carefully cuts open the oyster...

pick a pearl
Ta da! A beautiful little pearl was inside!
pick a pearl
Next, she cleans any debris off the pearl in a bowl of salt.

pick a pearl
Choose carefully - when we were there, two sets of people in a row got TWIN pearls in their oyster!

Once your pearl is born, it gets measured and put into a little baggie with its size on it. You can then take it home, or purchase a jewelry setting there at the stand. They will set your pearl for you and you can pick it up before you go. Our pearls were 7 1/4 and 7 3/4; a little above average, but there were some people getting even bigger ones there. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try your luck with this particular surprise!

Have you picked a pearl? What was your experience?

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  • The day after our wedding me and hubs and 20 people all went to Sea World as a Honeymoon day to celebrate. Hubs decided that he wanted to buy me an oyster so I went to the huge tank where the people would dive down for you and pick a handful of oysters, bring them to the top and you would choose yours. I picked mine right away and we took it inside and low and behold, TWIN, yellow 8 1/4 BEAUTIFUL pearls!!!! I have not had them set yet because I have no idea how I want them set (its been 3 years) But I have them in a cute little bag and am madly in love with them!

  • this is something i MUST do every time i go to disney! at least, I’ve done it every trip since 2003! Once i get like 10 or so pearls, I think i’ll make them into something. I even have the video from my last pearl picking hehe it’s such a fun thing for me 🙂

  • How cool! For our 10th anniversary my husband had me pick a pearl and we had it set into a necklace at the booth on the beach at Beach Club. It was a great treat!

  • Oh yes, I'm now totally addicted to Pick A Pearl. My first one was 8mm and beautiful. We got it set in a cherry blossom flower pendant – see it here: http://memoryanddream.livejournal.com/693789.html – and then I knew I was in trouble. Not only did I love the experience but I was spoiled by such a big, beautiful pendant on my first try.

    For my birthday, I also did another and picked two that time. One was a golden color, the other more pinkish. I had them set together so you could really see the color difference in a very simple silver loop type pendant.

    I get huge compliments on both!

  • That's so cool! I'd never ever seen twin pearls until our recent trip, but I guess they are out there!

  • That's a great idea – I heard that on twitter too. Not sure why I never thought of doing that. I'm going to have to find all my others and start collecting too I think! 🙂

  • That sounds wonderful! 🙂

  • Oh that's right, I remember that cherry blossom pendant now – beautiful!! Thanks for sharing. I think my Silver Springs pearl was when I got a greyish color – I love that one!

  • KramNebuer

    Twin pearls! I didn’t know there was such a thing!! This is amazing. My brother did this several years ago and there was only one tank and it was a lot smaller than it is now! He got a small pearl, but it had a little color to it, I think it was slightly pinkish.

  • Mighty Megs

    What a great article! How neat would this be as a gift idea! I should do this for Christmas for my mom & sis! Do you ALWAYS get a pearl?

  • Unewillow

    Great article 🙂 This is something I *have* to do everytime I go to WDW. There’s just something so magical about not only the surprise of what your pearl will look like, but then having a beautiful piece of jewelry to take home as well.

  • CapeMike

    My fiance(well, I’d proposed to her the day before at the MagicKingdom) and I had both already picked out a pearl there in August 2008, and by sheer coincidence, saw the same oyster and decided to go in half on it for a 3rd try….

    Was a 7 1/4″ ‘monster’ pearl, and among the biggest they’d seen all day; they banged on a little drum and showed it off to everyone around us!

    Once we got home, we promptly had it set into a ring, doubling their combined value! 😀

  • Tiffany Zysk

    I picked my first pearl just a few days ago. My mom decided we should go to Disney. On our last day we went to Epcot Japan and I decided I wanted a pearl as a souvenir. I got a pretty 7 1/4 pearl with a pink/gold tint. It’s so pretty! I want to pick a pearl every time I visit!

  • Ricecakekitty

    Just got back from Epcot, I picked an 8.5 mm pinkish hue pearl!  Biggest they had all day 😀 (I checked at the end of the day and still had the record).  I had it set in a necklace pendant that looks like a shell opening up to reveal the pearl, but the pearl is so big it takes up nearly the whole bottom half of the shell!  I love it to death, I am proud of my large pearl!  A little girl who went ahead of me picked a rare blue pearl, she was really excited, even the lady who opened it for her was surprised, and she had it set in a dolphin pendant.  Perfect for all ages, and the price is right!  The whole thing for me (pearl and setting) was only $35 and I got a cheaper silver chain when I got home to wear it on.  Good stuff!

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  • Jojo 4790

    HELP !  I’m looking for a representative…………  I live in Newington, Conn.  here is my email… jojo.4790@gmail:disqus.com  
    I have 4 pearls that my husband had bought me and now I would like to put them in a setting. 
    they are earrings.    

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  • Sky9324

    I was in fifth grade when i picked my pearl. I recently got married and just had it set into a necklace with a chocolate diamond. I cant wait to get it back! Mine was a 7 3/4 yellow tinge pearl.

  • Rayne

    When I went two Christamases ago a little boy picked two oysters for his mom to get earrings. They ended up having the EXACT same sized pearls in them. The lady was totally surprised and showed them off to everyone. I have never seen a little boy so happy and proud of himself.

  • Kelsey

    My mom and I just got back from doing this! She got a 7 mm gold pearl. I got a 7 mm blue pearl! We didn’t do anything with our pearls while we were there, and I wish we had, because I don’t know where to start now that we’re home. I’m interested in having them drilled and put onto a simple chain. Does anyone have any idea where I can begin looking? Thanks.

  • MrsDisneyPrincess14

    My daughter did pick a pearl& got a very rare silver pearl 8mm. Staff said it is one of the rarest they have seen.

  • Denise

    My kids just picked some. My daughter got a 7 1/4 pinkish one and my son got two 6 1/2 twins!