When I cruised earlier this year with the Social Media Moms Celebration, we participated in the Fish Extender Exchange with a couple of other families traveling with us! This is something we had never done before and I thought I’d share all the details on how to add just a little more fun and excitement to your Disney Cruise Line vacation.
What is a Fish Extender?
Outside of every stateroom door on the Disney Cruise ships is a number and a “fish” adornment that can be used to hang something from. The Cast Members use it as a place to attach adult dining reservations, excursion tickets and such. But leave it to Disney fans, among the most creative people I know, to come up with another use for the fish clip with the advent of the Fish Extender gift exchange. This guest run program has cruisers participate by hanging a bag or pouch from their “fish” adornment in which to collect gifts from other cruisers, hence the name Fish Extender. Think of it as a secret Santa exchange where you put little treats in the fish extenders of other cruisers.
How to join a Fish Extender group?
To participate, you first need to join a Fish Extender group. Go to Facebook and search for your ship and sail date to do so. (ie. Disney Dream May 21, 2018) Once you join the page you will see the rules and be assigned to (or join) a group. They usually cap the groups out at 10 staterooms each. Do this early because they do close them down as it gets closer to sailing. Also, you will need time to pull together your fish extender and items for the fish exchange.
What can I use for my Fish Extender?
Now that you have joined a group you will need something to hang outside of your stateroom door as a Fish Extender. You will see all sorts of things, from reusable shopping back to incredibly fancy personalized pouches. Great places to look for ideas or to purchase one are etsy and Pinterest.
I went with a pocket organizer (amazon link follows) and added some cute nautical ribbon and chalkboard clips for our names (Michael’s). >> 3 Pocket Door Hanger <<
Whatever you choose, you will want to make sure it is big enough to hold your treats, but not so big that it impends your ability to get in and out of your room or for guests to pass in the hallways.
What types of things do I give in the Fish Exchange?
Throughout the cruise, you will give and receive little gifts in your Fish Extender. Some will leave one gift for the family and others will leave one per person. I did a mix of both, depending on what the gift was. The gifts are small and could be things like cards, magnets, chapstick, candy, etc. Most will have a Disney theme or be representative of the giver’s home town. The very best place to find ideas is Pinterest!
Since I was in a really small group, I did personalized sandwich containers, game pads, bag tags and a dice game that I made up. Some guests will get really creative and others will purchase small items for the exchange.
Whatever you choose, you will need to bring all of it in your luggage and then take your gifts home after the cruise so keep them small and light weight.
Participating in a Fish Extender group is completely optional but a fun way to add a little extra pixie dust to your sailing. My boys loved coming to the room at all times of the day to find new treats!
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