What is a Fish Extender? Disney Cruise fun

What is a Fish Extender? A Fish Extender is A BIG part of Disney Cruise fun!

The Educational tourist and young lady wear Mickey Mouse ears on a Disney Cruise

Our fist Disney cruise was out of Port Canaveral, Florida during the summer of 2016. I was thrilled to share the experience with the family because I had been on one of the very first Disney cruises WAY back in the late 80s! I knew we were in for a treat because no one does magical family experiences like Disney.

When I called upon the Pixie Dust Queen to look into options for our first Disney Cruise she mentioned the fish extender. I had never heard of such a thing but took her advice and looked into it online. What I found made for a FUN and really WONDERFUL part of our Disney cruise. Who knew that Disney could be even MORE magical?

cruise ship, what is a fish extender


What is a Fish Extender?

Outside of each cabin door on a Disney cruise is a small clip shaped like a fish. The Disney cast members use this clip to leave important information for you like tickets for reserved events, etc. but someone “once upon a time” had the brilliant idea to use this fish extender for a Disney version of ‘secret santa’. A fish extender is a pocket that you hang outside your cabin door when you travel on a Disney cruise. This pocket is used to collect small gifts that you exchange with your fellow travelers.

What is a Fish Extender gift?

A fish extender gift is small gift that you give to fellow Disney cruise travelers and leave in the fish extender pocket outside the cabin door.  As soon as you are scheduled on your Disney cruise you can get started. Go to Disboards and look for the dates of your Disney cruise.

Online at Disboards you can sign up for groups that will be on the same ship with you. Inside your group, you’ll exchange information on the age of your travelers, favorite Disney characters, and any special events being celebrated on board like birthdays and anniversaries. This information gives you ideas for the gifts you’ll pass out. The Disboards group set up a page on Facebook just for our group. In addition to the fish extender information we also coordinated meet ups for our kids!

What is a fish extender? Disney Cruise

What is a Fish Extender? – How many fish extender gifts do you give?

Check with your group so you know how many gifts everyone is planning on giving. We gave 2 gifts for each cabin. There is no ‘rule’ for how many. Some people give one gift for the cabin to share and others give one small gift per person in the cabin. Use your imagination and have fun with it! We sure did!

What is a Fish Extender – When do you give the fish extender gifts?

You can give the gifts any time or day you like. We chose to give one gift to our group on the first day of our cruise. The second gift was related to the Pirate’s night so we waited until the night before the Pirates’ night celebration to pass out those. Since there is no official schedule for giving them out you never know when the gifts will come. The surprise of finding is a big part of the fun! What treats will you find the next time you arrive at your cabin door? Kids LOVE this part.

What is a Fish Extender? – What sort of fish extender gifts did you receive?

We had so much fun checking on our fish extender when we arrived back at our room. Did someone leave us a gift while we were gone? It was a little like checking on your stocking Christmas morning to see what Santa brought! We loved all the wonderful little gifts we received and appreciate the care people took to personalize.

fish extender gifts disney cruise

We received:

*magnets – This was such fun because the walls are metal so you can use them right away.

*nail polish – All the colors you need to make Mickey Mouse finger nails.

*bank – Great to save money for the next Disney vacation!

*ear buds – Who doesn’t love a pair of these?

*notepads, notebooks, and pencils – All with a fun Disney theme

What is a Fish Extender? Where can I get ideas for creating fish extender gifts?

Getting ideas for fish extender gifts is a big part of the fun! Pinterest has a million ideas because people are just so clever! You can start looking here on my pinterest board for fish extender gifts.

We considered these things for choosing our fish extender gifts:

*They had to be inexpensive. The cost for lots of gifts can add up.

*They had to be small. Leaving room in your suitcase for a lot of gifts can take a lot of room.

*They had to be lightweight. Suitcases can only weigh 50 pounds before they charge extra to put them on the plane. It is hard to leave lots of weight just for the gifts.

*I wanted the gifts to be personal. We are from Texas, for example, and I wanted our personalities to be a part of the gifts.

What is a Fish Extender? What sort of fish extender gifts did you give on your Disney cruise?

I had so much fun looking for ideas that I put them all on a pinterest board. After reading so many clever ideas for fish extenders I decided I wanted to give something with a flavor of our home state – Texas. That spring when the state wildflowers started to bloom I had a brainstorm! I picked some flowers and dried them for a Texas themed bookmarks.

In case you are from Texas and have only heard the MYTH that it is illegal to pick Texas bluebonnets – read here how that is just not true.

Disney bookmarks DIY fish extenders disney cruise

The first gift that came to mind was a bookmark. Everyone can use a bookmark! They are small, lightweight and inexpensive to make. This idea was so much fun. We made bookmarks using the Texas state flowers (bluebonnets) that we dried ourselves and wrote a poem to go with them. There are so many Disney themed papers to choose from at craft stores like Micheal’s and Hobby Lobby.

Then we made bookmarks using quotes from Disney movies. Choosing our favorite quotes was really a lot of fun.

Bookmarks for disney cruise fish extender gifts with Dory and Just Keep Swimming

We also gave a Pirate Night theme bag. Inside this bag was an ear-ring, an eye patch, and an aged treasure map to help you choose your pirate name for the night!

list of ideas for a fun pirate name for pirate night on Disney Cruise

Read how to make your own dried flower bookmark and pirate night theme bag.

Disney cruises are so much fun and a GREAT family vacation. Read more about Disney cruise vacations before planning your cruise adventure!

Disney Cruise Tips

Disney – DIY Mickey Mouse ears

Overwhelmed with all the details of planning your Disney vacation? Relax, sit back and let the Pixie Dust Queen do all the  Disney vacation planning for you – FREE!

travel agent The Educational Tourist and The Pixie Dust Queen

Happy Disney cruise travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo

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3 Responses

  1. Kristi says:

    I’ve never heard of this! So cool!!! I love it!

  2. Kirsty ~ Travel With Meraki says:

    What a gorgeous idea. I just love how Disney always go above and beyond.

  1. November 16, 2017

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