Enzymatic prenyl and glycosyl transfer are seemingly unrelated reactions that yield molecules and protein modifications with disparate biological functions. However, both reactions employ diphosphate-activated donors and each proceed via cationic species: allylic cations and oxocarbenium ions, respectively. In this study, we explore the relationship between these processes by preparing valienyl ethers to serve as glycoside mimics that are capable of allylic rather than oxocarbenium cation stabilization. Rate constants for spontaneous hydrolysis of aryl glycosides and their analogous valienyl ethers were found to be almost identical, as were the corresponding activation enthalpies and entropies. This close similarity extended to the associated secondary kinetic isotope effects (KIEs), indicating very similar transition state stabilities and structures. Screening a library of over 100 β-glucosidases identified a number of enzymes that catalyze hydrolysis of these valienyl ethers with kcat values up to 20 s–1. Detailed analysis of one such enzyme showed that ether hydrolysis occurs via the analogous mechanisms found for glycosides, and through a very similar transition state. This suggests that the generally lower rates of enzymatic cleavage of the cyclitol ethers reflects evolutionary specialization of these enzymes toward glycosides rather than inherent reactivity differences.