Gigi Rates Mitsukoshi Pick-a-Pearl Experience

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As is my job as a responsible parent, I am raising my 6 year old to love all thing Disney. This includes a healthy appreciation for Epcot and all of the unique shopping ( Shopping in the Epcot Countries – Get to Know Japan) and eating (Takumi-Tei Chef’s Table: New Best Meal at Walt Disney World?) experiences it has to offer. Although we’ve passed it countless times on our path through the Mitsukoshi shopping mecca, we have never tried the Akoya pick-a-pearl experience until recently. Gigi’s feedback and reaction to the experience surprised me and made me think of some Disney experiences for little ones in a new light. Before we get to her rating, let’s discuss the basics.

You can find the Akoya Pearl counter inside the first entrance to the Mitsukoshi shopping area just behind the Hello Kitty wall on the right.

If you’ve ever been through these doors, you can probably smell the incense just by looking at the picture. Top 5 Disney smells of all time in my opinion.

 

At the time of this article, the price for one oyster is $16.90 plus tax. Like all other merchandise purchases in Japan, no annual pass discounts are accepted. As with any Disney event or pricing, this is subject to change at any time.

 

After paying for the oyster, we were given a number and waited for less than 5 minutes before it was our turn to move to the main counter.

After our number was called, the cast member performing at the pick-a-pearl counter began her show by asking Gigi to walk around the tank to select the oyster she wanted to open. After making her selection, the cast member reached in with a pair of long, silver tongs and grabbed her pick.

Next, the cast member made a very dramatic and very loud show of opening the oyster for Gigi to reveal the pearl inside. I’ve been well inside the candy / sake section of the Mitsukoshi merchandise location at the other end of the building and have still been able to hear the drums and yelling that accompanies each pearl reveal.

After the oyster was opened, the cast member used the scale above to measure Gigi’s pearl at 7.5mm. She then polished it and placed it in a small, clear bag – all with significant volume and drama.

After Gigi was handed her pearl, we were directed to the counter immediately to the right where we could select a jewelry setting for an additional fee.

   

The cast member at the jewelry counter explained that certain settings would take an additional hour to complete and would require us to return for our purchase. I was shocked that Gigi wasn’t interested in any of the rings or charms and was prepared to leave with just our little plastic bag and one pearl when the cast member showed us small glass bottles filled with “pixie dust” for a much less expensive price.

Gigi selected purple pixie dust bottle for $4.95 plus tax and we were on our way. Below is a picture of the finished product.

Gigi’s Review: 

Two out of five unicorns. We discussed this at length and while she loves the little glass bottle with pixie dust and her pearl, the volume of the presentation and amount of “stranger attention” focused on her was overwhelming. In her words “I felt like everyone was staring at me while she screamed.” Eek.

Mom’s Review: Gigi has never been described as shy or retiring in any setting, but this was too much even for her. I found myself immediately mentally crouching into “protective mom mode” while we were there. I could tell her little shoulders were tense and I could barely hear her voice when the cast member asked her questions. This is a child that cannot ever be described as quiet so I was on alert. My advice would be to prepare little ones for the noise and attention in advance. Overall, I’d say the glass bottle is a great value for $4.95 but I would think twice about doing this experience with another little one.

On a research day in Epcot the week after Gigi’s experience, I stopped back in Mitsukoshi to ask if they could do a different presentation for people with sensory processing issues and the staff member on duty assured me they could alter the volume and eliminate the drums.

Have you ever done the Akoya Pearl experience at the Japan pavilion in Epcot? What did you think? Have you ever asked for a more toned-down version? Please share your experiences in the comments! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christina Harrison

Christina worked for TouringPlans as a youngster and is back on the team now weighing cupcakes, stalking the Hello Kitty section of Mitsukoshi, and getting social media footage for our rad Instagram feed!

12 thoughts on “Gigi Rates Mitsukoshi Pick-a-Pearl Experience

  • July 25, 2019 at 5:44 pm
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    I’ve never done this at Disney World, but I did it at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. The settings at Disney are so much more affordable than the settings in Hawaii. The cheapest setting in Hawaii was $115. I would definitely do this the next time we go to Epcot.

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    • July 25, 2019 at 5:46 pm
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      I also really like the $4.95 Pixie Dust option, especially if you don’t pick the color pearl that you were hoping for.

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      • July 30, 2019 at 9:11 am
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        Exactly!

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  • July 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm
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    My DD & I have done it twice and love it!! They really get everyone involved with the clapping and counting down, I think that’s what really drew us to it. They make it special for each guest. I didn’t even see the pixie dust bottles when we were there… next time, I guess! lol

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  • July 25, 2019 at 10:06 pm
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    We did it with our granddaughter when she was 9 and she loved it. She watched others ahead of herself so she was prepared for what was to come. Having said that, it’s a good idea to know your child and for them to get an idea of what will happen if, and only if, they choose to participate.

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    • July 30, 2019 at 9:12 am
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      That’s a good point. Gigi wasn’t prepared and just wasn’t in the mindset to be on stage. It’s wise advice to have your little people watch others first.

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  • July 26, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    We did this with my two daughters, but, bought necklaces off of Etsy similar to the Cinderella coach above, but, Mickey’s head.

    Do they still have a pick-a-pearl at Disney Springs? That might be a calmer option for children who would like to still get a pearl.

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  • July 26, 2019 at 5:41 pm
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    I’d never read that there’s a “quiet” option before. That is very useful info.

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    • July 30, 2019 at 9:14 am
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      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • July 29, 2019 at 6:19 am
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    I like what you & GiGi did! That gives you the option to do something different later! 🙂 <3

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    • July 30, 2019 at 9:13 am
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      Cute ears!! Yep – hopefully she wants to get a pendant or something when she’s a bit older.

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  • August 25, 2019 at 9:04 pm
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    There is a pick a pearl stand outside the Beach Club on the beach. It is much more low-key. The few times we’ve been, the CM was very nice.

    Reply

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