smoother than that first margarita
Fish Extender Gifts are a fun way to enhance your Disney Cruise. Coming up with good ideas, though, can be difficult.
Often, people join fish extender groups to build anticipation and to start meeting others on their Disney cruise. They have aggressive expectations of cute DIY gift ideas that eventually become another pre-cruise responsibility weighing on your shoulders. With each passing day, the chances of us searching the attic for our glue gun and sequins get lower and lower.
NOTE: Throughout this post, we use the terms “Fish Extender” and “Fish Exchange” synonymously. Hardcore Disney cruisers will likely scoff at this. Technically, a Fish Exchange (FE) is the process of gifting and receiving presents with other Disney cruisers. The Fish Extender is the actual device hanging outside a cruise cabin door in which gifts are placed.
Not to worry. We have the best fish extender gift ideas that you can easily buy on Amazon. Some even look homemade! In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to check this off your Disney Cruise “to-do” list and move on to bathing suit shopping or whatever is next.
Before we jump into our list of best fish extender gifts, let’s first clear up some things for our Disney cruise community.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about fish extender gifts. Feel free to reach out to us on our facebook page for any more help.
It’s not a surprise that an unofficial Disney program with a curious name, “Fish Extender,” causes some confusion. We hope that this helps clarify some things when it comes to “gifts” and the FE process.
What are fish extender gifts?
As part of a Fish Exchange, gifts are left inside of a Fish Extender placed outside of a cruiser’s Disney Cabin. These presents are typically small in nature (so easily transported) and are often, but not necessarily, Disney themed. They can be handmade or purchased, cruise-specific or generic, and purchased for an individual or a family. Below you’ll find some of the most popular gift ideas found in a Disney Fish Exchange.
How many fish extender gifts do I buy?
This will be determined by your Fish Exchange group. Often, you’ll be included with 5-10 other cruise cabins and you’ll distribute a gift (or multiple gifts) to each on the list. The group administrators will make sure that you have the relevant info you need. This typically includes cabin numbers, names, ages, and sometimes specific interests & preferences.
How much should I spend for a Disney Fish Exchange?
This is a very “hot button” topic and has some cruise forums up in arms. There’s no easy answer here, except that there’s no real answer. Just remember, that the Fish Exchange is supposed to be fun. Don’t get stressed about spending money and don’t go beyond your comfort zone. Some of the best gifts we’ve seen have been homemade. Many of the items below can be purchased for around $5.
How do I package fish extender gifts?
You don’t have to package your gifts in any particular way. You’ll want the recipient to know who it’s from, though. Typically, gift-givers will include a label on fish exchange gifts. These tags will show the recipient who gave the gift, including name and cabin number (both optional). For clarification, ask your FE group for details.
How are fish extender gifts delivered?
Unless stated specifically by your FE group, this is entirely optional. Use your discretion. If it’s a gift they’d like to use on their cruise, consider delivering it early in the sailing. If it’s a long cruise (2 weeks for example), you can spread the love throughout the cruise. The recipient will be getting multiple gifts from others. We prefer when others stagger gifts so we have surprises throughout the week.
This fish extender gift is for kids aged 3 and up. The word “magic” on the front of this book is not an overstatement. The ink somehow only ends up in the book. You can gift this and be assured you won’t see squiggly lines up and down the hallways of your cruise ship.
It’s very common to play “dress up” on Disney sailings. With these cute sunstaches, kiddos can be instantly transformed into Aladdin, Pinocchio, Minnie Mouse, and many other favorite Disney characters.
Children love this game because it’s easy to play, fun and can be played alone. Parents love this game because it’s compact and keeps their little ones’ entertained while they visit the Lido Bar.
This is similar to the Eye Found It game above, but for kids aged slightly older (4 to 8 years old). They’ll be immersed in a Toy Story world while their parents indulge on lobster and / or bingo.
This is one of our fish extender gift ideas that always gets a “Wow” reaction. Over 3 feet tall when fully stretched out, this Mickey wall decal will be a child’s favorite showpiece for years to come.
Whomever invented this is a pure genius… like, the Elon Musk of children’s products. It solves the issue of picky eaters while also eliminating the problem of spilled meals and sticky floors. Kids love it and parents love it even more.
This fish extender gift idea can be enjoyed immediately. Cruise cabin walls are made of metal, as are the doors. Children will have a blast decorating the stateroom with their favorite Disney characters. They also serve as great souvenirs to live their post-cruise lives on your refrigerators as a reminder of great times.
Drawstring backpacks are great for carrying things back and forth to the pool, arcade ,dinners and cruise ports. They’re functional but also “cool.” Children of all ages will love their very own Mickey backpack.
Madlibs are fun for the whole family. And Mickey Mouse Madlibs are a perfect way to get into the Disney mood. In a world of digital entertainment, this is a breath of fresh air and a throwback to the good ol’ days of family fun.
If you want your recipient to be the most popular kid on the ship, consider this fish extender gift idea. Once he slaps on that stormtrooper tattoo and hits the kids club, it’s over. Girls will want to hold his hand and boys will want to share their gummy bears.
This gift could be for boys of all ages…even Dad-age. In today’s world, many people are worried about robots taking over. If that does happen, we can only hope they’re similar to the lovable R2D2. And having this keychain on hand will hopefully win them over pretty quickly.
When she pulls this out of the fish extender, her smile will say it all. This is a no-risk gift in that we’ve never seen a girl who didn’t absolutely love her “princess” necklace. For an 18 karat gold-plated item, it’s actually very reasonably priced.
It’s much easier to make new friends on a cruise when all tatted up with princesses. She’ll be the “belle” of the ball with her Cinderella and Snow White sleeves. Fortunately, this package has enough tattoos for her to share with all of her new buddies.
When she meets her hero, she’ll have something in common. These beautifully sequenced Minnie Mouse ears may even give her an edge up on the real thing. You might consider getting a matching set for her mom.
Kids love to leave their mark wherever they can. These Princess stamps make it easy for them to do just that. Every itinerary, daily planner, menu and napkin will have a Disney Princess on it before the day is done. You can take credit for that with this fish extender gift idea.
If you’re a frequent cruisers, then you know how common it is to pick up “stuff” along the way. Every day is full of arts and crafts, shopping at port, seashells at the beach, and more. Extra carrying capacity is always appreciated.
Nothing starts a party like a set of eye patches. With this gift, the family will be instantly transformed into a team of pirates. If hoping for the perfect fish extender gift, you arrrr on the right track. Just click below.
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. These days, it’s super trendy. Hipsters, techies and everyone with a comfort animal… all are coloring books. May as well start them young with this gift.
Disney cruise ships recently got rid of plastic straws and you can now provide reinforcements. They’re environmentally conscious and fun for kids to use on the ship and at home. Every time they use these, they’ll be reminded of their Disney vacation.
Kids are weird. They honestly believe that food taste better or worse depending on how it’s cut. Rather than trying to convince them otherwise, it’s sometimes best to bend to their will. These Mickey cutters will ear-ify cookies, sandwiches, pancakes and more.
You can never go wrong gifting candy. Here you have a wide assortment of Disney-themed candy, from Pez to chocolate. These are great for filling a fish extender and also for gifting to cruise staff.
If you’ve cruised before, you know how dark cruise cabins get at night. A stubbed toe at 2am can wake up the family and slow you down at port. This cruise cabin nightlight sticks to any wall, magnetically, and lights up with motion to guild your way at night.
The top deck gets windy and you’ll often see a pile of wind-blown towels in the corner of the ship. Don’t let that happen to you. Use these cute towel clips to secure yours to your pool chair. They’re also great for distinguishing your spot in a sea of otherwise similar chairs.
Cruise cabins are tiny. Families have a lot of stuff. The combination makes for a very congested and messy situation. The key is using vertical space. This hanging organizer is one of the best cruise hacks out there and a great fish extender gift idea.
With all of the excitement, it’s easy to lose your Disney key card. A cruise lanyard makes it much less likely that you’ll be in the cruise’s “lost and found” or “passenger services” line. There’s a style for every member of the family.
Stich is a loveable blue alien creation owned by Disney. It’s also a cute luggage tag and a great idea for your FI gift swap. At this price, you might want to get one for everyone in the family.
In a perfect world, we escape our addiction to electronics while cruising. If we’re being real, though, we still need our phones, ipads, cameras, video games, hair dryers, chargers, speakers, etc. Your Disney cabin has just two outlets. This little cruise hack keeps all electronics charged and ready for action.
Parents may hate you for gifting Disney’s greatest hits, but you won’t be around when they finally snap. This soundtrack will quickly become the kid’s favorite playlist and best gift they’ve received in a while.
Mom and dad deserve something too. While they’re a bit too old for candy and socks, they do still appreciate Mickey. Combine their love for Disney with their need for the essentials with these Disney socks.
Even though it’s a vacation, parents don’t always get the rest that they deserve. To combat those late nights and early mornings, there’s coffee. The cruise line provides tiny cups. This fish extender gift will be appreciated more than you could know.
“Water” comes in a close second to “coffee” in a paren’t list of priorities. To help keep mom and dad well-hydrated, consider this Disney Water Bottle. This is one gift that will get continued use long after the cruise is over.
Whether headed to Castaway Cay or other gorgeous port, this wet bag will come in super handy. Phones, snacks, toys, magazines and all other goodies will be safe and dry in this Mickey bag.
This handheld fan will keep parents cool no matter where they are on the ship. It’s great for bed-side or pool-side use. Pro tip – for a dollar, you can typically get a kid to hold and aim it while napping.
On a ship with 1,000 families, you can imagine why this might be the best fish extender gift on the list. With a couple of these, the recipient can block out the world… at least for a little bit.
Now it’s possible to capture those epic water videos while also keeping your smartphone dry. You’re not just giving the gift of a waterproof phone case, but the amazing media possible with this product.
When collapsed, the bag will fit in the palm of your hand. When unfolded, this travel tote will hold towels for your entire family. It’s waterproof so perfect for the beach and can be used as a shopping bag once home from paradise.
Walt Disney was an extremely interesting gentleman and many questions surround his path and empire that he created. In this book, the author answers all of the most frequently asked questions about the life and efforts of Disney.
This item is one of our best fish extender gift ideas for a number of reasons. It’s beautiful, compact, sentimental and useful far beyond your cruise. It helps capture the wonderful memories and is a gift that keeps giving for years.
We hope that we’ve made your Fish Exchange a bit less stressful with these gift ideas above.
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