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Fish extender sign up

  • Thread starter MELISSA WILSON
  • Start date Mar 26, 2017

MELISSA WILSON

Earning my ears.

  • Mar 26, 2017

Hi everyone. We have been on two Disney cruises, and we are about to go on our third in October. My family and I have decided to partake in the fish extender fun. Does anyone know where to sign up? Thanks a bunch  

PrincessShmoo

PrincessShmoo

Dis veteran.

MELISSA WILSON said: Hi everyone. We have been on two Disney cruises, and we are about to go on our third in October. My family and I have decided to partake in the fish extender fun. Does anyone know where to sign up? Thanks a bunch Click to expand...

elvispursley

elvispursley

Dis veteran.

PrincessShmoo said: Fish Extender exchanges are handled on cruise meet threads. IF (that's a big "if") your cruise group wants to set one up. Not all cruise meet groups do FEs. Click to expand...

WeLoveDisneyAlways

WeLoveDisneyAlways

  • Mar 27, 2017
elvispursley said: This! I tried to get signed up in my meet-up group to no avail. There was a lot of interest and someone had "volunteered" to organize the exchange but after giving her my info, there was no more contact. It was really frustrating and I ended up having to go to the place that-shall-not-be-named to join a FE exchange. It was a lot of fun and a LOT of work. I took an extra suitcase with just FE junk. I went way overboard and think that next cruise I either need to scale it way back or skip it all together Good luck with it! Click to expand...

Shanti

  • Mar 28, 2017
  • Feb 24, 2020

Tasmen

Crazy Cat Lady

MLC007 said: Hello Everyone! My husband and I are taking our second DCL cruise and we are SO EXCITED for Norway! We are from San Diego, California. We are definitely interested in joining the FE group. We didn't do it on our first cruise (to Mexico) because we didn't know about them. 187 days to go! Click to expand...

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Disney Cruise Fish Extender

Home » Travel » Disney Cruise Fish Extender

Published: Mar 9, 2020 · Modified: Jan 10, 2024 by Jessica · This post may contain affiliate links · 11 Comments

One of the best parts of a Disney Cruise is participating in Fish Extenders ! Here is everything you need to know from what fish extenders are, to how you sign up, to what you put inside and everything in between!

fish extender hanging next to a stateroom door on disney cruise line

We recently returned from the Disney Creators Celebration and to say the whole week was a dream would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. We spent the first three days at Walt Disney World and the last three on board the Disney Dream with Disney Cruise Line ! 

Everyone had different favorite things about the trip, but one of the things the kids had the most fun with was the fish extenders on the cruise! It was so fun "pixie dusting" other families, and the kids loved coming home from all the different cruise festivities to find fun goodies in our extenders! 

If you want to learn more about Disney Cruising check out this post ! Or check out how to make your own cute Minnie Ears , or our fun and simple Pirate Night Costume ! 

Okay, now let's get down to business! 

image depicting why a fish extender is called a fish extender

What is a Fish Extender?

First things first. One of the most common questions we are asked is why it  is called a fish extender! Well it's actually pretty simple. Outside every stateroom on Disney Cruise Line is a fish shaped hook (or sometimes a seahorse) where the cast members  leave important mail or announcements. 

The pouches hang on this hook, thus extending the mail fish! See photo below. 

a full fish extender hanging by a stateroom door on a disney cruise

Does Disney facilitate Fish Extenders?

A common misconception is that the fish extenders are put on by Disney, or facilitated through them. This is actually not the case! So, if Disney didn't start this fun tradition, who did? 

How did fish extenders start? 

Fish extenders were actually started by cruisers on an early DCL sailing (2005 Panama sailing on the Disney Magic), not by Disney Staff! It was a long sailing and people going wanted to get to know each other better, so they decided to use a gift exchange to facilitate that. Enter-- the first ever fish extender group! 

This Disney sailing tradition spread like wildfire, and is now a common practice on all Disney ships! 

How to find a Disney Fish Extender group

Once you are booked for a sailing on a Disney Cruise ship, search facebook for the group for your sailing. There you will be able to connect with other cruisers on your sailing and sign up for fish extender groups! 

If you are going with a family reunion or other large group, you can also totally form your own group and pixie dust each other! There is nothing official about it, just make sure all parties involved are aware of what the plan is! 

two kids looking in a fish extender outside a disney cruise stateroom

Fish Extenders: What is Pixie Dusting?

Speaking of pixie dusting... what the heck does that mean? Well, when you drop gifts in someone else's extenders cruisers named that pixie dusting! When you come back from a yummy dinner at the Enchanted Palace to find goodies in your pouches, you've been pixie dusted! 

What do you put in a Fish Extender (Disney Cruise)?

The short answer to this is, anything you want! Gifts can be small or large, homemade or store bought! Most groups will set some guidelines as to roughly what the rules will be for their group that sailing. 

For example, on the sailing we just went on we decided as a group that if we were going to give nicer (ie: more expensive) gifts, we would just give one during the duration of the cruise. If we were going to give smaller less expensive gifts we could pixie dust multiple times. Some people gave something small every day and some opted for a bigger gift once and it worked out really well! We had a fun mix of nicer things and still a lot of volume, which is what the kids cared more about ;). 

*This post contains affiliate links. 

a fish extender stuffed with gifts and prizes outside a stateroom door

Fish extender gift ideas: 

Here are a few things we got in our fish extenders that we loved to get your juices flowing! For more details about our fish extender experience and to see some of the unique items we received, check out the video below! 

  • Inflatable light sabers 
  • Star Wars socks and Princess socks
  • Character chapsticks
  • Re-usable straws to use while on the ship
  • Pirate night gear like these eye patches
  • Sprinkles and toppings for the soft serve ice cream
  • Beach toys for Castaway Cay
  • Sunscreen , Dramamine , or other cruise essentials 
  • Cruise lanyards

Where to get Fish Extender Pouches

Many people make their own pouches, but you can also easily buy your own! I made the ones in this post, but here are a few really cute easy options on amazon! 

  • Simple Three Pocket Nautical Fish Extender
  • Natural Cotton Four Pocket Fish Extender
  • Navy Polka Dotted Four Pocket Fish Extender

Any of these could be spruced up by adding names or Disney paraphernalia! 

a full fish extender hanging by a stateroom door on a disney cruise

Fish Extenders - Everything You Need to Know

  • Fish Extender
  • 1 Fish Extender Pouch for Everyone in Your Stateroom
  • Gifts to Put in Other Cabins Pouches

Instructions

  • Why is it called a fish extender? First things first. One of the most common questions we are asked is why it  is called a fish extender! Well it's actually pretty simple. Outside every stateroom on Disney Cruise Line is a fish shaped hook (or sometimes a seahorse) where the cast members  leave important mail or announcements.  The pouches hang on this hook, thus extending the mail fish!
  • A common misconception is that the fish extenders are put on by Disney, or facilitated through them. This is actually not the case! So, if Disney didn't start this fun tradition, who did? How did fish extenders start?  Fish extenders were actually started by cruisers on an early DCL sailing (2005 Panama sailing on the Disney Magic), not by Disney Staff! It was a long sailing and people going wanted to get to know each other better, so they decided to use a gift exchange to facilitate that. Enter-- the first ever fish extender group!  This Disney sailing tradition spread like wildfire, and is now a common practice on all Disney ships! 
  • How do you find a fish extender group?  Once you are booked for a sailing on a Disney Cruise ship, search facebook for the group for your sailing. There you will be able to connect with other cruisers on your sailing and sign up for fish extender groups!  If you are going with a family reunion or other large group, you can also totally form your own group and pixie dust each other! There is nothing official about it, just make sure all parties involved are aware of what the plan is! 
  • What is pixie dusting?  Speaking of pixie dusting... what the heck does that mean? Well, when you drop gifts in someone else's extenders cruisers named that pixie dusting! When you come back from a yummy dinner at the Enchanted Palace to find goodies in your pouches, you've been pixie dusted! 
  • What do you put in a fish extender?  The short answer to this is, anything you want! Gifts can be small or large, homemade or store bought! Most groups will set some guidelines as to roughly what the rules will be for their group that sailing.  For example, on the sailing we just went on we decided as a group that if we were going to give nicer (ie: more expensive) gifts, we would just give one during the duration of the cruise. If we were going to give smaller less expensive gifts we could pixie dust multiple times. Some people gave something small every day and some opted for a bigger gift once and it worked out really well! We had a fun mix of nicer things and still a lot of volume, which is what the kids cared more about ;). 

Where do you get the fish extender pouches? 

grey and white fish extender hanging outside a DCL stateroom

Now you should be all set for your first fish extender experience! Get excited friends, Disney Cruising is an experience unlike any other! If you have any questions that I missed please drop them below in the comments! 

disney cruise fish extender sign up

More Travel to All the Places

big collage of disney fish extender gift ideas optimized for pinterest

Reader Interactions

Leave a reply cancel reply.

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May 30, 2023 at 11:03 pm

Do you have a pattern for the fish extender? I love the idea of adding to it for adding family members.

Cheryl Lenochan

April 16, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Is there any way to join a group without Facebook? I do not have a Facebook account

April 16, 2023 at 9:24 pm

Unfortunately not that I know of :(

Krissy Allori

March 09, 2020 at 3:50 pm

March 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Yay! I'm so glad, you will have so much fun doing it!

March 09, 2020 at 2:57 pm

You are so welcome!

March 09, 2020 at 2:33 pm

March 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm

I almost didn't but I'm so glad we did! Your kids will LOVE it!

Carrie Robinson

March 09, 2020 at 2:19 pm

It really was so fun to get to know some other people on board! Plus, it gives your kids instant friends in the kids clubs!

Disney Insider Tips

Disney Cruise Fish Extenders Guide

By: Author Kristi

Disney Cruise Fish Extenders Guide

Something you might want to add to your Disney Cruise packing list is Disney Cruise Fish Extenders. These pocketed treasure holders are a great way to add extra magic to your Disney Cruise. Never heard of Fish Extenders? We have everything you need to know to participate in an exchange.

Disney Cruise Fish Extenders Guide

Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

When you arrive at your Disney Cruise stateroom door, you will find that there is a fish marker that tells you the stateroom number.

Disney Cruise Stateroom Door Fish

This “fish” is not just decorative, often room stewards attach tickets, bills and other written information to the top of it.

Over time, guests began using it as a way to communicate with other guests and as time went on, it developed into an actually set of pockets that attached to the “fish,” or as we call it now, a Disney Cruise Fish Extender. 

Disney Cruise Fish Extender

This pocketed Fish Extender is a device that has pockets for the purpose of allowing other guests to leave goodies, gifts and treats for other cruisers.

What is a Disney Cruise Fish Extender Exchange?

The Disney Cruise Fish Exchange is when a group of fellow cruisers sign up to send gifts to each other while on the cruise.

These fish exchange groups are usually set up on a message board and involve between 10-15 families.

Each family is responsible for buying or making gifts to give each person in the other groups. 

During the cruise, you deliver the gifts to their stateroom by placing them in the Disney Cruise Fish Extender that hangs beside their stateroom door.

How do I Participate in a Disney Cruise Fish Extender Exchange?

There are a few different places to sign up for a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange, but the most popular is through Facebook groups.

Just do a search by the cruise ship name & date of cruise. For example: Disney Dream November 29, 2024 will give you this result.  

Another great resource for finding a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange Group is to look on DisBoards.com .

You can search to find the ship and date of the cruise and usually, someone in the message boards starts a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange.

Disney Cruise Halloween Decorated Stateroom Door

Where do I buy Disney Cruise Fish Extenders?

The BEST place to purchase Disney Cruise fish extenders is on Etsy.

They have the best selection and can be custom-made based on your likes and needs.

One of my favorite shops selling Disney Cruise Fish Extenders is Thread in Stitches .

disney cruise fish extender sign up

You can also make your own.

You don’t have to be a seamstress to make one. All you really need to know is how to make a straight stitch. Use this Disney Cruise Fish Extender sewing tutorial . 

Mickey Mouse Anchor

What type of Gifts do People Give for a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange?

Handmade disney fish extender gifts.

Some people give handmade Disney-themed items like the Mickey Mouse anchor magnet shown above.

A gift like this could be personalized with the ship name, cruise date, or person’s name for an added touch.

People love handmade Disney fish extender gifts because they are very unique and gifts they appreciate. 

Some of our favorite Disney fish exchange gifts have been handmade Disney ornaments.

If you are crafty and have the time, these gifts are always well-received.

Disney Cruise Gifts for Fish Extenders

Purchased Disney Fish Extender Gifts

Not everyone is crafty or has the time and energy to devote to creating Disney gifts and that is okay!

Sometimes you have to do what is easy (and affordable) and no one is going to judge you about that. 

Over the years, we have done both types of gifts.

There are great items you can purchase on Etsy as well as on Amazon.

10 Disney Cruise Fish Extender Gifts on Amazon

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Character Felt Masks for Kids

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Lilo & Stitch No Show Socks

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Lip Smacker Disney Princess Flavored Lip Balm

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Mickey Ears Scrunchies

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Stampers

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Cartoon Keychain

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Reusable Mickey Drinking Straws

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Pens

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Mini Bubble Wands

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Pirate Eye Patches

What else you need to know about disney cruise fish extender & exchange groups.

  • Remember that every gift will have to be packed. I’m always amazed at the effort some people will go to in these Disney Cruise fish exchange groups. For example, if you plan on giving 25 plastic tumblers, just remember that you will have to pack 25 plastic tumblers in your luggage. 
  • Make sure that you label each gift with your name & room cabin number. This will make things much easier for you when you make your deliveries. 
  • Bring a bag to deliver your gifts. It is much easier than trying to carry them all over the ship by hand. 
  • Disney Cruise ships are enormous. Make a delivery plan before heading out to give out gifts so that you can save yourself time and energy. 
  • Be sure to plan out when you are going to deliver Fish Exchange gifts based on downtime on the cruise. Many people choose the day at sea or at the end of the evening.
  • Don’t have expectations as far as gifts go. Some people will go crazy and spend a ton of money, while others will go on the cheap. People simply do what they can afford. Don’t spend time in judgment, just be thankful for the effort!

Have you taken part in a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange? What was your favorite gift?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Friday 23rd of August 2019

Iwe are going on a 15 day cruise; our first with a Disney, in March 2020. With that said, with the fish extender-if I’m in a group of 10 families, I will need to purchase 10 gifts for those 15 days?

Saturday 7th of September 2019

You will purchase a gift for each person in the group.

Eileen Caraballo

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

We are taking our first Disney Cruise on the Wonder to Alaska in August. What do you recommend to pack?

The Magic For Less Travel Blog

The Magic For Less Travel Blog

Making vacation dreams a reality

A Guide to Disney Cruise Line Fish Extender Exchanges

Sharing is caring!

A unique activity that many Disney Cruise Line guests like to participate in are fish extender exchanges.  These exchanges are a great way to get to know other cruise guests, exercise your creativity, enjoy receiving some magic, and explore the ship.

What is a fish extender?

Fish extenders are typically fabric pouches that guests hang from a hook/small shelf outside of each stateroom door.  The hooks can be various shapes, like fish (thus the name), or seahorses, sea stars, and even woodland creatures.  Disney Cruise Line leaves your room keys upon embarkation and other important notices or papers throughout the sailing on this small hook/shelf.

Participating guests bring their own fish extender to hang outside their door.  Fish extenders styles range in everything from beautiful, custom made embroidered extenders to shopping bags.  Typically, a separate pouch that serves as a mailbox for each person is on the extender.

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Where do I find a fish extender?

Disney Cruise Line does not sell or provide fish extenders, so this is something you will want to pack with you .  Many guests purchase them on sites like Amazon or Etsy where there is a myriad of options available.  You can purchase blank pouches and personalize them  or buy them with each person’s name on their respective pouch.  Check out the same one my friends purchased on Amazon and each made their own!

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Where do I sign up for a fish extender group?

Social media is a great place to sign up for a fish extender group.  Many Facebook users can search their ship and sail date to find cruise planning groups to join.  Within these groups there are often fish extender exchange groups organized.  The Magic for Less has a fan site, The Mouse for Less, that has a planning community where you can find other cruise passengers too:   The Mouse for Less Community

What do I give to other cruise passengers in their fish extenders?

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Things to keep in mind

  • This is a commitment of both time and money. You will spend money on your own fish  extender and for the gifts you take.  It is also time consuming to plan for your exchange.
  • Each group has different rules, number of participants, types of exchange, etc.
  • You will need to have space in your luggage to take what you plan to give and bring home what you will be given.
  • The goal of these groups is to create fun and camaraderie amongst cruisers, so don’t stress too much about your planning and have a good time with it!

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Fish extender exchanges are a super fun way for the family to add more fun to an already amazing cruise!  It is also fun to give gifts and come home with some great souvenirs from new friends.  If you have questions on how to plan your next cruise, contact me or our of agents waiting to help !

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The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

So…what brings you here, fish extender 101.

Need the basics? We’ll explain it all.

We make it easy. Dozens of ideas.

Gift Tag Templates

Free. Downloadable. Easy to personalize.

Find a Fish Extender Group

Search by ship & sailing date.

Disney Cruises are Magical

Everything about them. The characters, the boat, the destinations, all the adventures and activities you can do on-board ship. (Oh yeah, the food ain’t bad either.)

Want to make your Disney Cruise EVEN MORE memorable?

Join a disney cruise fish extender group.

disney cruise fish extender sign up

What is a Disney Cruise Fish Extender?

Fish Extender Example

Example of a Fish Extender in Action Image: A Little Bolt of Life

Outside of every Disney cruise ship cabin, you’ll find a metal fish next to the door.

Aside from looking cute and nautical, this fish serves as a holder for important communications and messages from the Disney crew to its passengers. Think of it as your mailbox for your journey.

Fish Extenders Gift Swaps Since 2005

Since 2005 (we share more of the history of fish extenders later), passengers come together to create Fish Extender groups on each sailing to create a Disney cruise gift exchange .

Metal Fish Extender outside Disney Cruise Stateroom

Outside each stateroom is a fishy friend. Image: Flickr

Hang Your Fish Extender Off Your Metal Fish

The Fish Extender (or FE for short) is something you hang off your metal fish during your voyage.

Everyone in your Fish Extender group makes or buys gifts and places them in the pockets of your Fish Extender. And you do the same for them!

How Fish Extender Gift Exchanges Work

Each sailing will have a group of passengers that want to participate in a Fish Extender Gift Exchange .

After you have booked your Disney Cruise , you will be able to find your group online ( skip to how ) of those that are travelling on the same ship.

Once you’ve found your fellow voyagers, you can join the Fish Extender group for that sailing.

Once You’ve Joined Your Group…

Each cabin creates a Fish Extender (you know, the door hanger to hang off the fish that we described above).

Your Fish Extender organizer (a volunteer that deserves a big hug when you meet) will assign you a group of cabins for which you should give gifts. He or she will let typically let you know the first names, ages, and genders of the participants who have given permission to share this info.

Basically, you are committing to provide at least one gift for every cabin in your group. You can place the gift in the pockets of their Fish Extenders any time during the cruise.

At Least One Gift For Each Cabin

Some people give a gift just for the cabin, but many cruisers like to truly enhance the experience by coming up with separate presents for the adults, teens, kids.

For us, it’s been really fun to pick or create gifts for each individual and try to personalize the experience. Again, this is completely optional . Just have fun with it!

A Word About Privacy

3 reasons to participate in fish extenders.

1 If you’ve ever participated in something like a Secret Santa, you can probably understand how fun this can be. It is truly a thrilling experience to come back to your cabin and discover a new treasure from a fellow Disneyphile. The magic just keeps growing and growing!

Connect with Others

2 While it varies from group to group, fish extenders are often combined with some sort of meet and greet. Many gift givers choose to put their names on fish extender gift tags making it fun to talk with them when you do finally meet.

Gifts are Interesting

3 Since Disney cruises attract people from all over the world, your gifts often come from people who live in other states or countries. The gifts they give often reflect their personalities and culture. It is just another way that a Disney cruise can expand your horizons.

Sign Up As Soon As Possible. Here’s Why.

Don’t dilly-dally when signing up for a fish extender group.

FE group organizers use their own discretion on deciding when to close the group, but typically the deadline will be 2-6 months before date of departure. This gives the organizer time to share the groups and also provide plenty of time for everyone to make or purchase their gifts.

When to Deliver Fish Extender Gifts

There’s usually not a set gift exchange time. It is completely up to you when to deliver your fish extender gifts. Some super-organized group administrators might recommend a day and time to deliver your gifts so they are spread evenly throughout the cruise.

If your group doesn’t have a suggested schedule, here are some delivery strategies you could consider:

  • Pick a day at sea and deliver all at once during some slow time. 
  • Most people deliver gifts on the first or second day of the cruise. You may need to wait until later in the day if you chose the first day because people may not have their luggage yet or have not unpacked.
  • If you have multiple floors, you may want to either start from the top deck and work down or the bottom and work up.
  • To spread out the love, you could wait until later in the cruise so they get a nice surprise on day 5 since most people gift theirs early on in the cruise.
  • You could gift a pirate themed gift and deliver it in the afternoon of Pirate Night . Or gift beach toys and deliver them the night before your Castaway Cay day (or other beach day).
  • Deliver all gifts before the last night. Everyone needs time to pack up before turning in their luggage for disembarkation.

What is Gift Price Limit?

How much you spend on your Disney Cruise Fish Extender gift s is completely up to you.

There is no price floor or ceiling. With no minimum or maximum dollar spending requirement, let your imagination be your guide!

Both homemade fish extender gifts and store-bought are welcome. Whether you are crafty, thrifty, over-the-top or grab it off the shelf, everyone is welcome in the Fish Extender exchange.

Will People Back Out?

Yes, life happens, as they say. Sure, a small minority of people will not be able to fulfill their participation in the Fish Extender group, for whatever reason. Most people let the organizer know. (You should too, if you have to back out.) Should something goes awry with your group, don’t let this ruin your fun. If you have more gifts than expected, find a random cabin (maybe your neighbor?) with whom to share the love.

4 Tips When Selecting Fish Extender Gifts

Avoid anything breakable and elaborate packaging.

This takes up too much room in your suitcase and often gets crushed in transit.

Keep 'em small

Each gift needs to easily fit into the pockets of different types of fish extenders. And, again, remember the luggage space situation. You need to get them there and your FE families need to be able to get them home.

Put a gift tag on every gift

While they are optional, we are big believers in using gift tags. We love to know who the gifts are from. You can make simple labels or use our free gift tag templates .

Don't load up with candy or Dollar Store junk

(Or Oriental Trading for that matter.) We say, if you’re going to do this, do it right! Put some thought into it. Make it fun for your recipients. Don’t worry, we have tons of gift ideas for you .

World’s Biggest List of Fish Extender Gift Ideas

As you are likely a first time Fish Extender, you might be wondering what to give for fish extender gifts.

We have created the world’s most comprehensive list of creative Fish Extender gift ideas all in one place.

We’ve got you covered.

Diy fish extender gift ideas.

  • For the whole cabin or family
  • For teen boys
  • For teen girls
  • For younger boys
  • For younger girls

Off the Shelf Fish Extender Gift Ideas

Now, about that fish extender door hanger…, optimal fish extender dimensions.

Typically, a Fish Extender has pockets that will easily hold the gifts. Ideally, your FE will have a pocket for each person in your cabin. Deeper pockets are preferred, as they keep items from falling out or curious passer-bys from reaching in.

Fish Extender should be 8-12 inches wide and no longer than 6 feet

Buy or make your fish extender, no sew fish extender: our choice, where to buy a personalized fish extender.

Some of our favorite online Fish Extender options are here . Selected because of their style, design aesthetic (aka, they look awesome) and they can be personalized. Pay attention to how long the seller needs to both create and ship the item to you. It’d be a shame to not plan ahead and not have your Fish Extender with you on your voyage.

How to Make a Disney Cruise Fish Extender

Sew your own fish extender.

Other DIY fish extender options:

  • Savingthefamilymoney.com
  • DisneyInsiderTips.com
  • One Crafty Mama
  • Krafting Kreations

Fish Extender Gift Tags

Gift tags on fish extender presents are 100% optional..

Many (us included) believe, however, that they are awesome. It’s so great to learn who the thoughtful family was behind each gift and makes it more meaningful when you do finally connect and meet up on the ship.

Free Fish Extender Gift Tags Templates

To make it simple for you to create your own personalized gift tags, we custom-made more than 50 editable PDF templates and customizable Avery label templates.

We make all of our Fish Extender gift tags available to PicturetheMagic.com visitors as a free download. Click the button below to get started.

download-now-box

Share Your Fish Extender Gift Tag Template!

Are you willing to share your template with others? If so, email us here with a link to the file.

How to Find Your Fish Extender Group

Search by your cruise ship and year of sailing below:

2019 Fish Extender Groups

  • Disney Wonder
  • Disney Fantasy
  • Disney Magic
  • Disney Dream

2020 Fish Extender Groups

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Search For Your Group

Use the links here to find your Facebook group.

Join the Facebook Group

When you find it, click “Join.” Each is a “Closed Group” and requires the moderator to accept you into the group.

No Group for Your Sailing?

If there’s no Facebook group for your sailing, consider creating the group yourself and get the ball rolling!

Become a Fish Extender Organizer

Want to score yourself some Disney karma? Volunteer to organize a Fish Extender group.

Duties of a Fish Extender Group Organizer

Gather information from each participant.

1 You’ll want to obtain info such as stateroom numbers, ages, genders, allergies, favorite Disney characters and anything else that might be interesting.

Create rules for participation

2 The general guidelines are outlined in this document but it is your prerogative to establish any other rules you deem important. Possible rule variations include number of gifts, delivery schedule, min/max price of gifts, number of cabins per group.

Establish cutoff date for accepting new participants

3 Best practice is to allow participants 2-6 months to obtain their gifts and Fish Extenders. In order for group members to have enough time, you’ll need to finalize the groups well before sailing and get that information to them in advance.

Act as administrator of your Facebook group

4 Or if you find this overwhelming, you might solicit help from one or two other volunteers from your group to manage this task. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Our Favorite Pinterest Fish Extender Pins

Fish extender history.

According to An Open Suitcase , the first Fish Extender group was formed on a Panama Canal Cruise in 2005 when a member of Disboards.com named Debbie rallied a group and started the phenomon:

Credit for the original Fish Extender belongs to a woman named Debbie, who comments under the name EpcotKilterFan on Disboards.com. She posted this comment: “When I handed out the first fish extenders on the 2005 Panama Canal Cruise, never in a million years did I think it would turn into this. Yes, I am the one responsible for starting this madness.” I have seen many articles about fish extenders, but none that credit Debbie, so as someone whose family has enjoyed every minute of our fish exchanges, I am saying thanks to Debbie and the first fish extender group for mirroring the creativity of Walt Disney himself and adding some extra magic to so many voyages! Well done!” AnOpenSuitcase.com

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The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

Mama Cheaps®

The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders + Lots of Ideas and FREE Printables

This post may contain affiliate links and ads. Read our disclosure policy here .

disney-cruise-fish-extenders

Whenever we have a Disney Cruise planned, I find myself fielding a common question from friends:  Are you going to participate in the Fish Extenders?!  And during our 3 night Magic sailing and our 3 night Dream sailing , my answer was always, “No, I can’t handle one more thing besides packing for a massive road trip to the ship and several days in the Parks.”

But this year, I was totally ready to give it a try.  And it was a BLAST!

Whether you’re a Fish Extender Pro or a total rookie like we were, I hope that this post gives you some good ideas as you get ready for YOUR Disney Cruise!

What ARE Fish Extenders?   Fish Extender is a gift exchange between fellow cruisers on a Disney Cruise.  On Disney Cruise Ships, every cabin door has a metal fish next to it.  This fish serves as a hook/shelf for crew to leave you your info regarding spa/restaurant/port adventure/etc reservation info.  It also makes the perfect hook to hang a “Fish Extender” to collect little gifts from other cruisers.

How do I get a Fish Extender?   That’s up to you!  Many people make their own – I have seen everything from pocket organizers from Staples decorated and strung together with ribbon, to fabric versions that people sew.  Other people (us included) purchase fish extenders from the many sellers on sites like Etsy .

How do I find a Fish Extender Group to join?   There seem to be two main ways to find FE Groups to join.  Sometimes you can find them on the thread for your particular DCL sailing on DisBoards .  Almost all DCL sailings also end up with their own private Facebook group.  Search on Facebook using your ship name and sail date to find your group.  This is how I signed up for our FE exchange group.  We had a thread in the Facebook group and a couple group members organized everyone into groups in spreadsheets.

What’s the difference between a Fish Extender Group and “being pixie dusted?”   If you sign up for a FE group, you will receive a number of cabins to bring gifts for.  You are also always welcome to “pixie dust” other cruisers who may not be in your FE group but have FEs hanging off their fish hooks.  We were pixie dusted multiple times throughout our week on the Magic, mostly candy and other little trinkets.

If you do not want to sign up for an FE group, you can still always pixie dust others and hope that you are pixie dusted in return.

How/when do I deliver my Fish Extender gifts?   The “how” is simple – you literally walk around the ship and deliver your gifts to those in your exchange group.  The “when” is entirely up to you, however I recommend avoiding the days that the ship is in port.  Typically when the ship is in port, many people are off the ship for most of the day and your gifts will be sitting there for hours.  I have heard of incidents of theft (not many, but it happens) and obviously the longer the gifts sit outside the cabin, the more attention they might draw.

How much money do I need to spend on Fish Extender gifts?   That is entirely up to you.  We received everything from dollar store candy and trinkets to DIY projects that obviously took people a bit of time.  We went the DIY route and were able to keep our gift cost to $1-2 per person. You also have the option to gift something to each individual in your exchange group OR you can give one gift to the entire cabin.

Fish Extender Ideas!

Ponchos for each adult with a printable poem :   This was our gift to the adults in our FE exchange.  I bought blank red drawstring pouches on clearance after the holidays last year.  I used my Silhouette to cut black Mickey Heads out of heat transfer vinyl.  A poncho from the Dollar Tree went into each bag.  I wrote a little poem and printed it out on cardstock.

fish-extender-gift-mickey-pouch

Personalized Chalkboards:   This was our gift for the little kid crowd.  I bought blank chalkboards  and cut their names in vinyl on my Silhouette .  I used the “Waltograph” Disney-inspired font.  Then I cut Mickey Heads out of vinyl and used them to affix 2 pieces of chalk to each board.

Disney Chalkboard

Glow Sticks for Pirate Night with printable poem :   This was our FE gift for the tween/teen crowd!  I bought blank neoprene popsicle holders and personalized them with my Silhouette .  I picked up glow sticks and gave each kid several sticks.  I tucked a pirate night poem that I wrote inside the bag!

Glow Sticks for Pirate Night

More fun ideas from the gifts that we received!

mickey-mouse-candle

Holiday Ornaments

disney-cruise-ornament

Glowing and Light-Up Toys

avengers-glow-stick

DIY Dry Erase Board with Marker

disney-cruise-dry-erase-board

Navigator Tool Kit with handy helpers for the cruise

disney-cruise-navigator-tool-kit

Drink Tumbler with handy items for trip

disney-magic-drink-tumbler

CD with Disney Music

disney-halloween-cd

Parks Merch

disney-haunted-mansion-antenna-topper

DIY Ice Cream Topping Bowls – just add ice cream!

diy-ice-cream-sundae-bowls

Vinyl Decals (perfect for fellow Silhouette users!)

mickey-love-vinyl-decal

Tissues and Hand Sanitizer

mickey-tissues-and-hand-sanitizer

And here are some of the things we were pixie dusted with!

fish-extenders-pixie-dust

Most of our haul (minus a few things the kids grabbed before I could take pictures!):

fish-extender-gifts-we-received

Overall our experience was great!   We received so many neat little gifts and the kids went bonkers every time we arrived back to our room to find more “Mickey Mail.”  We did run into an issue where 2 cabins on our list were not accurate – the people who originally booked had canceled at some point and didn’t notify our group about their change of plans.  That was a bit crappy, since I took the time to personalize our gifts and couldn’t just re-gift, but it was just a small blip in the road.

Definitely consider participating on a Fish Extender Exchange on your next Disney Cruise!

dcl-fish-extender

Want to watch our Disney Vids?  Check out our Disney Cruise Line Playlist on YouTube!

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders + Lots of Ideas and FREE Printables”

Hello there, I would like to use some of your tips to share with other guests on my cruise for the fish extender.

Hi Bernadette! I hope some of my ideas come in handy for you! Have a great cruise!

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Mouse Travel Matters

Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line

Last Updated on July 14, 2023

If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about Disney Cruise Line fish extenders. Disney Cruise FE gifts are a fun way to share SWAPS with other cruisers – especially when traveling with kids. They are totally optional, but lots of fun when you are cruising with kids! Here’s everything you need to know about fish extenders.

If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about Disney Cruise Line fish extenders. Disney Cruise FE gifts are a fun way to share SWAPS with other cruisers – especially when traveling with kids. They are totally optional, but lots of fun when you are cruising with kids! Here’s everything you need to know about fish extenders.

What is a Fish Extender?

 It’s called a “fish extender” because it’s hung on the signature fishes that are outside each stateroom on Disney ships.

How can I participate in the fish extender fun?

It is surprisingly easy to join a Fish extender group. Disney fans generally start a new Facebook group for each sailing once dates have been announced. Anyone can start these groups and most search FB before creating their own so that only one group exists per sailing (no sense in having multiple). From there, the admin or a super switched on participant will suggest starting a document to get Fish extender families organized and set up. It’s really that easy.

Once everyone is placed in groups, specific information will be passed out to all group members; name, age and gender of each participating family member and stateroom number. Some groups like to give a little gift each night of the cruise, and others simply say 1 gift per cruise. Be sure to have your Fish Extender and gifts ready for that first night.

Rules about price point and possible theme will be hashed out within your specific group.

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Where do I get a Fish Extender?

You can use any sort of organizer that measures about 8-12 inches wide, and not longer than 4 feet long. If you get any larger than these measurements, it might get in the way of your door opening and closing properly.  Etsy , Amazon, or Pinterest will have a wealth of information on how to make your own or purchase a super cute set for your family. Personally, I have very little crafting skills or desire to improve on those skills so I will be getting mine on Etsy. You can also super DIY it and attach a few Disney fabric bags together and vinyl the family name to the top bag.

This nursery organizer is is a great starting point for the crafting-deficient. Add a few ribbons and Mickey silhouettes and bam, you have yourself one beautiful Fish extender. Remember, this is meant to hang off the Fish and not the door (also because Disney no longer allows door-hanging items), simply replace the hooks with sturdy rope or ribbon.

What goes in a Fish Extender?

Disney Cruise Fish Extender Gift Ideas. While many say there is no such thing as a bad gift, I disagree. Especially when you have never met the recipient and don’t know much about them. It is best to assume that your group-mates will already have packed all of their required items for the cruise, including but not limited to autograph books and pirate gear.

The theme, dollar value and how many participants will depend on the group that is organizing the Fish extender program for your cruise Facebook group. After you sign up for a group, you’ll see the names and ages of everyone who is participating. You can make a gift for each person or make one gift for everyone in the stateroom, like a family photo frame. The average amount people spend on each cabin is about $10

  • Pirate night accessories (ones that little hands may break before the end of the night, like an extra eye patch, or some doubloons)
  • things from your hometown
  • Straw buddies
  • Disney cruise door magnets
  • Disney Inspired Tic-Tac-Toe Tin

If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about Disney Cruise Line fish extenders. Disney Cruise FE gifts are a fun way to share SWAPS with other cruisers – especially when traveling with kids. They are totally optional, but lots of fun when you are cruising with kids! Here’s everything you need to know about fish extenders.

Why should you participate?

Not that you need to spend more money on your cruise than absolutely necessary, this is a fun way to get the kid involved and have a little something extra arrive at your stateroom door without having to spend Disney-loads of money. Fish Extenders are a great way to create some family time, both making the the gifts before the cruise and sharing in the fun during the cruise. There’s always room in the suitcase for our Fish Extender!

I’m going on my first cruise, is this right for me?

There are plenty of first-timers that participate in a Fish Extender group! Keep in mind that you will have to deliver the gifts to all of the other people who are participating in your group, and that will take time away from other activities, character meets and greets, etc. so you may want to wait if you’re only sailing for a couple of nights.

Your Thoughts...

Please share your thoughts in the comments or reach out on social media...We would love to hear from you.

Follow Mouse Travel Matters for Disney Parks news, the latest info and park insights, follow MTM on Twitter , Facebook , and Instagram .

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If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about Disney Cruise Line fish extenders. Disney Cruise FE gifts are a fun way to share SWAPS with other cruisers – especially when traveling with kids. They are totally optional, but lots of fun when you are cruising with kids! Here’s everything you need to know about fish extenders.

Sunday 30th of May 2021

We bought this one and it worked great! Cruise On

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An unofficial disney cruise line news, information, weather, and photo blog..

The Disney Cruise Line Blog

Know Before You Go Updates: Update on Fish Extenders (Door-to-Door Gift Exchanges)

Disney Cruise Line updated the  Know Before You Go – On the Ship page on April 14th ( archived ) removing the paragraph pertaining to Hanging Gift Bags on Stateroom Doors which was specifically prohibiting door-to-door gift exchanges among guests.

Know Before You Go On Ship Fish Extenders 20220414

These gift exchanges are better know as the popular a Fish Extender exchanges organized on on DisBoards.com and cruise specific Facebook groups.

disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Cruise Line announced at the beginning of the month they will be taking a phased approach with the relaxation and modifications of various health and safety protocols which were required upon the industry restart.

We will continue to monitor for additional changes, but please take the time to read and familiarize the information on Disney Cruise Line emails and Know Before You Go pages , specific to your upcoming sailing as this remains a dynamic situation.

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7 Replies to “Know Before You Go Updates: Update on Fish Extenders (Door-to-Door Gift Exchanges)”

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i just do not get the appeal of these…

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We enjoy doing Fish Extender exchanges because it helps fill that long space in between planning and actually sailing away! The planning and creation of the gifts is fun for us. But I understand it not being everyone’s cup of tea.

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It is an added bit of fun for your cruise. You never know what you are going to get.

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I love them. For it’s a way to get active and meet other in my cruise group, I can let my creative side out. It extends the joy of the sailing forward with the planning process.I loved the creative stuff people make and give me. My kids looooved giving and dropping these off as much as receiving. I have gotten really cool personlized disney themed items. I love how its part of the whole door decorating thing. And its the one of the many things that sets DCL out compared to other cruise lines. I cruised Royal before, ship did have much more to offer iMO; but there was that lack of excitement that a DCL decorated ship brings.. The hallways were boring and nothing extra to look foward too.

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We love doing fish (on our next voyage it will be a “Wish”) extender. I enjoy getting goodies, but even more I love filling other extenders with treats. It makes me feel like a kid.

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The facebook page for our sailing July 21st on Fantasy said at present that only groups of 5-6 staterooms at a time per each fish extender. I hope that changes back to the usual 10 but our person said they were asked to restrict for now.

I am glad to see this come back. We have gotten some cool stuff, some of it personalized and still useful today and others were a treat to try to some stuff from Japanese cruisers on a previous sailing.

It is fun and something that helps to add some additional excitement to the sailing.

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I must say, I did join a Facebook group prior to my last Disney Cruise (April 2019). I didn’t do the Fish Extender (not sure our group did that). However, it was ‘great’ getting to know certain guests prior to sailing. We even took a group picture in the atrium. The best part was seeing them at different times onboard and just saying “Hello” to each other.

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disney cruise fish extender sign up

Disney Cruise Line Tips for First Timers

D isney Cruises can be so much fun for families. In addition to the daily port visits, you will also enjoy activities, shows, fun kids’ clubs, delicious food, character greetings, shopping, and so much more.

If you are headed out on your first Disney Cruise Line cruise, you’ll definitely want to be prepared. Preparing for a cruise can often be stressful for families, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect. Since we absolutely want you to have the best experience, here are a collection of Disney Cruise Line tips for first timers.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links (or calling the number) may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. We’ve been on a media preview cruise and two cruises as part of Disney Social Media Moms (as well as 12+ cruises that I paid for on my own). All opinions are my own.

Book Your Disney Cruise

First, you’ll want to book your cruise. If you really aren’t sure what to do, it’s a good idea to go with a Disney travel agent, who can help you remember key dates (for final payments, etc). Otherwise, you can book directly through Disney. You’ll need to research sailing dates, ships, itineraries, and stateroom categories before you book.

When booking a Disney Cruise, I recommend booking with Get Away Today. Plus, when you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 on board credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929.

Think about the type of experience you want to have. Obviously, an Alaskan cruise is much different than a Caribbean cruise. For a first cruise, I like the Disney Wish 3-day itinerary. It’s a good way to get started cruising, without too much risk. Many families even combine that agenda with a Walt Disney World trip for a Disney land and sea vacation .

Disney Cruise Line currently has five ships (the Dream, the Fantasy, the Wish, the Magic, and the Dream). While these ships do vary in size and amenities, I would generally recommend starting with the itinerary you want to go, rather than the ship.

You’ll also have your choice of staterooms. My family typically books a family stateroom with verandah. I like being able to stand out on the verandah throughout the day, and it also extends the room a bit. Other options include interior, oceanview (but no balcony), and concierge rooms.

When you book, you’ll also choose a seating time for dinner. I prefer the earlier time when traveling with my kids. Be sure to select a time when booking your cruise, and if your preferred time isn’t available, you can get on the waitlist.

Research Your Disney Cruise 

After you’ve paid your deposit, it’s a good idea to do some research – about the ship, and the ports of call. You’ll find that there are so many excursions offered, and you’ll want to book them ahead of time because they do fill up.

Keep in mind the ages of your kids – some of the excursions are definitely too challenging for younger kids, but the Disney Cruise Line website does a fantastic job showing that info. You should also research the different entertainment and dining options available on board, that way you know exactly what to expect.

Remember that you don’t have to do an excursion in every port, if you don’t want to. There’s always the option to explore on your own, or to stay on the ship.

In Grand Cayman , for instance, I booked a day stay at a hotel on Seven Mile Beach. I contacted the hotel directly for that, and just took a cab to and from our destination. Just keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for getting yourself back to the ship in time at the end of the day. If you don’t want to be worried about that, booking an official excursion is your best option.

Book Hotel, Airfare, and Transportation

I always recommend arriving the night before sailing if you are flying into your port of call. That will help avoid the potential of flight delays.

If flying into Orlando International Airport , I like to stay at the  Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport  (see the  reviews on TripAdvisor  and book here ). You should also plan transportation to the port.

When we sail out of Port Canaveral , I prefer to take the Disney shuttles, which makes it nice and easy. Port Miami and Port Everglades (in Fort Lauderdale) are very close to the respective airports, which makes it easy to get there.

Check In For Your Disney Cruise

As a first-timer, you’ll be able to check-in 75 days before sailing. Disney Castaway Club members are able to check in earlier, which means that you may find some excursions that are already booked up by the time you check-in.

I definitely recommend that you already know which excursions you want, so you can book them right after checking in. Prepare a second and third choice option as well.

At this time, you’ll also fill out the guest information form, the payment authorization form for your on board purchases, and some other forms. If you need special services when on board, this is the time to request them.

You can also book certain on board experiences, like a meal at Palo. Because you’ll be one of the last to check in, you’ll want to do it right when your booking window opens. Your cruise will have to be all paid off before you are able to book anything.

Prep Door Decorations and Fish Extenders

If you aren’t aware, many Disney Cruise Line guests participate in a fun little unofficial program called  Fish Extenders . Essentially, you get together with other families and swap little gifts throughout your cruise. It’s completely optional, but can be a fun thing to do. My fish extender post contains all of the information that you need to know.

In addition, many families decorate their stateroom doors, so you’ll want to check out my post on decorating your Disney Cruise Line stateroom door  if you are interested in doing that.

Most families do some form of decorating, so you’ll probably want to do at least something. It’s a good way to be able to identify your door among the sea of doors that look exactly the same.

A relatively new tradition on cruise ships (not just Disney) is cruise ducks. It’s completely unofficial, but some guests hide rubber ducks on the ship for others to find. You can learn more about cruise ducks on this post.

Shop Before Your Trip and Pack Appropriately

There are shops on the ship, but they aren’t open when the ship is in port, and they have a limited selection of merchandise. So, you’ll want to have everything you need in your suitcase . Be sure to pack any medications you definitely need, as well as anything that you may potentially need on your trip.

Bags are delivered throughout the afternoon and evening, so you’ll want to pack a day bag for the first day on the Disney Cruise Line . We typically put essentials, sunscreen, medications, electronics, and evening dinner apparel in our day bag.

That way, if our suitcases don’t show up before dinner, we are still prepared. We also put our door decorations in that day bag so we can start decorating right away.

You won’t be able to get in your room until the early afternoon, so you won’t want your day bag to be too heavy. If your kids are older, you may want everyone in your family to carry a small backpack to spread out the weight.

If you are traveling to a warm weather destination, you may find yourself wearing a bathing suit much of the day. In that case, you may not need as many daily clothing items as you’d expect.

We often rewear things on a longer cruise because we aren’t wearing them for more than a few hours. Overpacking isn’t a big deal – but keep in mind that there isn’t tons of space in your stateroom.

If your ship will have a pirate night , you may want to bring pirate apparel. It’s totally optional, but many guests do dress up. We never dress up for pirate night, but we are generally in the minority. You’ll see all levels of pirate dress, from t-shirts and bandanas to full costumes.

Bring whatever you are comfortable in. Kids may like to have glow sticks for pirate night as well.

There are a few cruise specific things you may want to bring. The doors in the room are magnetic, and along with door decorations, I like to bring magnetic hooks.

That gives us a few places to hang wet clothes beyond the shower. I bought ours at the Container Store, but these from Amazon.com are similar. You may also want to purchase autograph books in advance. They are also available on the ship, but shops don’t open on the first day until after you set sail.

If you are participating in a fish extender exchange , in addition to your gifts, you’ll want to buy or make a fish extender. There are lots of options on Etsy. Fish extenders can be as deluxe or as basic as your want. I’ve seen some people use a tote bag, while others have personalized, embroidered fish extenders.

Activities on the Ship

Even if your kids don’t generally love kids’ clubs, they’ll probably love the clubs on the Disney Cruise Line. As a result you may find yourself with some free time.

When you book at the activities available to book on the app, you’ll probably see some availability for beverage seminars. These are adult-only, and include martini tasting, wine tasting, and mixology. I’ve done most of them, and we always enjoy them.

During your cruise, you’ll be using the Disney Cruise Line app often. You’ll want to download that while you are still able to access cellular data. The app includes a daily schedule, menus, and information about the various ports of call on the trip.

You can also communicate with other passengers on the ship using the app, even if you don’t purchase WiFi or have cellular service turned on. My family regularly uses the app to communicate because it’s a great way to keep in touch as we head in different directions throughout the day.

Disney’s Castaway Club

Once you’ve completely your first sailing on the Disney Cruise Line, you’ll be a member of Disney’s Castaway Club. Castaway Club members receive a lanyard at check in.

For your first sailing, you won’t receive one. They are pretty handy to have, however, so you may want to bring a regular lanyard or purchase one on board to hold your Key to the World card.

Disney Cruise Line is rolling out MagicBand use on the ships. These are optional, and you do have to purchase them separately.

You won’t have to sign up to become a member of the Castaway Club – it just happens when you complete your first sailing. There are four levels of the club, and you’ll get different perks and benefits as you sail more times.

What’s Included on a Disney Cruise Line trip

As you budget for your Disney Cruise Line trip, you’ll probably want to know what’s included. Alcohol, packaged snacks, premium coffee, popcorn, excursions, premium meals (in Remy, Enchante, and Palo), photos, the spa, and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique all cost extra. If you don’t prepay your tips, you’ll do that on board as well.

To know what to expect on your first day, be sure to read this post .

More Disney Cruise Ships Resources: Click to read more about the Disney Cruise Line ships including restaurants, tips, itineraries, activities, and more.

The post Disney Cruise Line Tips for First Timers appeared first on Family Travel Magazine .

Disney Cruises can be so much fun for families. In addition to the daily port visits, you will also enjoy activities, shows, fun kids’ clubs, delicious food, character greetings, shopping, and so much more. If you are headed out on your first Disney Cruise Line cruise, you’ll definitely want to be prepared. Preparing for a …

The Disney Cruise Family Travel Blog

Travel and Fun Things To Do

Disney Wish’s Fish Extender Groups

Join your Disney Wish Fish Extender Groups

Updated April 16th, 2024

Are you sailing on a Disney Wish Cruise soon? You can find your Cruise  Fish Extender Groups  below. The Cruise groups are a great way to get to know your fellow guests ahead of time and the spot to sign up for gift exchanges like the  fish extender , magnet, ornament, and candy exchanges. If you don’t see a link for your cruise, a group may still need to be made.  You could create one . Let me know if you do, and I will add it to the list. Don’t forget to check out  the pocket guide to the Disney Wish.

Fish Extender groups for the Magic , Wonder , Dream , Fantasy , and Treasure .

Disney Wish Luna

April 19th, 2024 – 3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral (Nassau, Castaway Cay) https://www.facebook.com/groups/516123260462890

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Photos of Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in the Bahamas: Here’s what I liked and didn’t

Ashley Kosciolek

Oh, boy! Disney Cruise Line 's new Bahamian beach destination, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, is open for business, offering Mickey Mouse fans an additional port to visit in the Bahamas.

Disney Magic , the line's original ship, was the first to bring passengers; they arrived at pristine beaches and a maze of boardwalks linking various eateries, bars, water play areas and shops.

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At the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera, Lookout Cay was created from a partnership between the Bahamas and Disney. Bahamian influence can be seen throughout, from the architecture and art to the costumes worn by Disney characters, who made several appearances throughout the day.

Here's what I enjoyed and what I didn't like — in photos.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

What I enjoyed

The beaches.

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Obviously, one of the main focuses on any Bahamian island is the beach. Cruisers have choices at Lookout Cay, with designated beaches for both families and adults. All offer white sand and plenty of loungers with colorful umbrellas, which are free to use.

Since all of the beaches are part of one long stretch, it's easy to find your way from one to the next after you crest the dunes that separate the water from the rest of the Goombay Cultural Center area of the island. Plus, the crystal blue water may even take your breath away.

Easy hydration

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What's a beach day without a drink or two? I'm not just talking about alcohol here, either. With how hot the Bahamian sun is, it's important to hydrate. Thankfully, you're never far from a bar or a drink station at Lookout Cay.

There are two soda and water stations each at True-True and True-True Too, the destination's barbecue buffet areas. There's also Sensational Smoothies, which sells just that. I tried one made with vanilla ice cream, mango, pineapple and Pop Rocks, and I wasn't disappointed. And for those who still aren't fully awake when they reach the island, there's Mangroves & Go, a stand that sells specialty coffees.

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If you're the type who likes something with a bit more of a kick, there are four bars — Blue Hole Bar, Bow & Ribbon Bar, Watering Hole Bar and Reef & Wreck Bar — dotting the boardwalk throughout the Goombay section.

Easy-to-navigate trams

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Disney Cruise Line fans who have visited the line's private island, Castaway Cay, will know that the trams there can be a little cumbersome for first-timers, with several routes that take passengers to different areas. At Lookout Cay, there are just two tram stops — Mabrika Cove, near the entrance, and Goombay Cultural Center, which is where nearly all Lookout Cay activity takes place.

It's nice to have to think less about where you're going when all you want is to spend your day relaxing, so I appreciate the simplified system.

Cabanas with great views

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At Lookout Cay, there are two sets of cabanas: Mabrika Cove Cabanas in the family area and Serenity Bay Cabanas in the adults-only area.

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They're all set up like cute Bahamian huts. Each has both indoor seating in the shade and outdoor loungers on patios that overlook the water. There are also mini-fridges stocked with water and soda.

Family areas

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Unsurprisingly, Disney didn't scrimp when it came to amenities for families. In addition to the family beach and family cabanas, other dedicated areas include Sebastian's Cove, a water play area where parents can drop their kids off with the youth staff, and Rush Out Gush Out, a water park where families can have splashy fun together.

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Twice during my visit, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale took over the Play-Play Pavilion during the Disney Fun in the Sun Beach Bash. They led children in games of pineapple ring toss and Chip and Dale's Water Brigade. During the water brigade, kids passed soaking wet sponges, assembly line-style, to see which team could fill up a bucket the fastest. It was great fun, even for people who didn't participate.

Art and culture

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Elements of Bahamian culture are everywhere at Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in the form of art and architecture. However, the heart of it all is the Goombay Culture Center, where passengers can enjoy local arts and crafts or take in a Junkanoo parade.

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The latter, dubbed "RUSH! A Junkanoo Celebration," brings local dancers in traditional, colorful dress to an outdoor stage, where they put on a high-energy performance you won't want to miss. Be sure to keep an eye out for special guests Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, too.

What I didn't care for

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The pier where the ship docks at Lookout Cay is long. I'm a fast walker, but it still took me nearly 10 minutes and registered 1,207 steps (more than half a mile) on my Fitbit. There's no shade, and with the blazing temperatures in the Bahamas in the summertime, it's not fun — especially with young children or mobility aids.

The area is largely accessible, and golf carts can assist passengers with mobility issues. However, I imagine the line will have to address this somehow for future sailings.

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Although the tram system is much easier to use at Lookout Cay than it is at Castaway Cay, the ones at Lookout Cay seem to operate much more slowly. They run at regular, consistent intervals, and by waiting a half hour after the official disembarkation time, I was able to avoid waiting in line. However, once you're on a tram and it departs, it will move so slowly that it will have you wondering whether walking there would be faster. (Unfortunately, you're not allowed.)

When I combined the tram ride with the time it took me to walk from the ship to the tram stop in the first place, it took me about half an hour to actually make it to the heart of the destination. Plan ahead if you're hoping to catch one of the scheduled shows.

Lack of shade

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There's a marked lack of shade on much of the island, especially as you make your way from place to place along the boardwalk. There are shops you can duck into, as well as shaded seating areas for when you're having your lunch, but it's just not enough.

As one of its green initiatives, Disney planted a bunch of local flora when it developed part of the space. Some of the plants will eventually be tall enough to offer some respite from the sun, but that won't be the case for several years.

A confusing boardwalk and map

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When I first arrived at Lookout Cay's Goombay tram stop, I felt overwhelmed. All of the buildings looked similar, and there was virtually no signage save for some tiny indicators that pointed toward the nature trail. I resorted to looking at the tiny island map on my phone,

There also don't seem to be any straight lines from one place to another. Everything curves out of the way to get you where you want to go.

No food options after 2 p.m.

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The barbecue lunch — which included rice bowls, fish and seafood, and plenty of non-barbecue options, too — was great. However, after True-True BBQ, True-True Too BBQ and Serenity Bay BBQ (the buffet in the adults-only Serenity Bay area) closed at 2 p.m., there didn't seem to be anywhere else to grab a bite.

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Of course, passengers were free to head back to the ship at any time if they were hungry, but it's a long way to go if you want to eat something and then go back ashore.

Bottom line

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Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is a fantastic new addition to the port options in the Bahamas. Although it lacks shade and requires a lengthy walk, the destination is exceptionally fun and offers something for both families and adults.

Voyages calling on Lookout Cay through the end of 2024 include three- to six-night sailings, mostly on Disney Magic. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy also make a handful of stops there.

Have more Disney cruise questions? We can help:

  • Ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line ships and itineraries
  • The best Disney cruise ships for everyone – even Disney adults
  • Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Club loyalty program
  • Three types of Disney Cruise Line ships, explained
  • How much does a Disney cruise really cost?
  • How to save money on a Disney cruise
  • All about Disney Cruise Line kids clubs
  • Tips and tricks for your next Disney cruise
  • The best destinations to visit on a Disney cruise
  • A guide to Disney Cruise Line drink packages
  • Disney Cruise Line ships from newest to oldest
  • Disney Cruise Line ships from biggest to smallest

IMAGES

  1. What is a Fish Extender

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  2. If you're planning on taking a Disney Cruise, you may have heard of the

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  3. Disney Cruise Line {All About Fish Extenders} (Dixie Delights)

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  4. A Guide to Disney Cruise Line Fish Extender Exchanges

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  5. Disney Cruise Line Fish Extenders

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  6. Ultimate Disney Cruise Fish Extender Information

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COMMENTS

  1. 2024 Guide To The Disney Cruise Fish Extender Exchange

    While the Fish Extender exchange is a gift exchange between passengers on a Disney Cruise, Pixie Dust is a surprise gift or gesture that is not pre-organised. Pixie Dusting can come in many forms, such as a little gift or treat that you pop into fish extender holders, pixie dust bags or hang from cabin doors.

  2. Fish extender sign up

    Mar 26, 2017. #3. PrincessShmoo said: Fish Extender exchanges are handled on cruise meet threads. IF (that's a big "if") your cruise group wants to set one up. Not all cruise meet groups do FEs. This! I tried to get signed up in my meet-up group to no avail.

  3. Disney Cruise Fish Extender

    One of the best parts of a Disney Cruise is participating in Fish Extenders! Here is everything you need to know from what fish extenders are, to how you sign up, to what you put inside and everything in between! We recently returned from the Disney Creators Celebration and to say the whole week was a dream would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. We spent the first three days at Walt Disney World and the ...

  4. All about Fish Extenders on the Disney Cruise Line

    A fish extender is a type of mailbox, often custom-made of fabric, that hangs from the fish (or starfish) outside of your Disney Cruise Line stateroom door. Each door has a fish or a starfish, and these are used by the cruise line employees to leave notes, invitations, and other notices outside your door. Fish extenders are not provided by the ...

  5. Disney Cruise Fish Extenders Guide

    These fish exchange groups are usually set up on a message board and involve between 10-15 families. Each family is responsible for buying or making gifts to give each person in the other groups. During the cruise, you deliver the gifts to their stateroom by placing them in the Disney Cruise Fish Extender that hangs beside their stateroom door.

  6. Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line

    On a Disney cruise, passengers are always looking for more pixie dust to make the sailing extra personalized and special. Fish extenders (also known as FEs), are hanging gift bags, usually ...

  7. A Guide to Disney Cruise Line Fish Extender Exchanges

    Fish extenders are typically fabric pouches that guests hang from a hook/small shelf outside of each stateroom door. The hooks can be various shapes, like fish (thus the name), or seahorses, sea stars, and even woodland creatures. Disney Cruise Line leaves your room keys upon embarkation and other important notices or papers throughout the ...

  8. Disney Cruise Line Fish Extender FAQ's! What Is It, How Do I Sign Up

    We get A LOT of questions about the Fish Extender on Disney Cruise Line. So, in today's video, we're answering the most asked questions! What is the Fish Ext...

  9. Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders (2024)

    Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders (2024) December 29, 2023. •. Disney News. A Disney Cruise "Fish Extender" (FE) is a unique and fun tradition among Disney Cruise Line passengers. The Fish Extender is essentially a gift exchange program that allows passengers to connect and exchange small, thoughtful gifts with fellow ...

  10. Fish Extenders: What They Are and How You Can Join the Fun

    You can join a Fish Extender Facebook group, like the one I am a part of., to learn more about Fish Extenders; these groups are incredibly supportive. Once you join your Facebook cruise group, ask how to join the Fish Extender Gift Exchange. Your Fish Extender coordinator will break up the groups, usually into groups of 10-15 5-10 of cabins.

  11. 8 FAQs About Fish Extender (FE) Exchange

    Check out my six essential items to pack on a Disney Cruise. See the menus for the restaurants on the Wish. Make sure you keep checking back or sign up for our newsletter for the latest Disney Cruise News, like the return of pre-booking character meets, the current pre-cruise Covid testing, Disney Cruise rumours, and the latest discounts.

  12. Fish Extenders

    Fish extenders contribute to this magic by allowing guests to experience the joy of giving and receiving, making the cruise even more memorable. How Fish Extenders Work: Sign-Up Process: Prior to the cruise, guests can join online forums or social media groups dedicated to their specific sailing.

  13. The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

    Each sailing will have a group of passengers that want to participate in a Fish Extender Gift Exchange. After you have booked your Disney Cruise, you will be able to find your group online ( skip to how) of those that are travelling on the same ship. Once you've found your fellow voyagers, you can join the Fish Extender group for that sailing.

  14. Disney Fantasy's Fish Extender Groups

    The Cruise groups are a great way to get to know your fellow guests ahead of time and the spot to sign up for gift exchanges like the fish extender, magnet, ornament, and candy exchanges. If you don't see a link for your cruise, a group may still need to be made. ... Disney Cruise Fish extender gifts. September 7th, 2024 - 7-Night Western ...

  15. Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line

    One of the best parts of a Disney Cruise is participating in Fish Extenders! Here is everything you need to know from what fish extenders are, to how you sig...

  16. Disney Dream's Fish Extender Groups

    The Cruise groups are a great way to get to know your fellow guests ahead of time and the spot to sign up for gift exchanges like the fish extender, magnet, ornament, and candy exchanges. If you don't see a link for your cruise, a group may still need to be made. ... Fish Extender Disney Cruise Lines. September 1st, 2024 - 7-Night Western ...

  17. Disney Cruise Fish Extender Q&A

    Our first Disney themed Fish Extender was made using collapsable pockets and Disney Duck Tape! Another example from my fellow Disney Parks Moms Panelist, Sally. Touring Plans DisBoards. bubbles ...

  18. The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

    Whenever we have a Disney Cruise planned, I find myself fielding a common question from friends: Are you going to participate in the Fish Extenders?! And during our 3 night Magic sailing and our 3 night Dream sailing, my answer was always, "No, I can't handle one more thing besides packing for a massive road trip to the ship and several days in the Parks."

  19. Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line • Mouse Travel Matters

    Last Updated on July 14, 2023. If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about Disney Cruise Line fish extenders. Disney Cruise FE gifts are a fun way to share SWAPS with other cruisers - especially when traveling with kids. They are totally optional, but lots of fun when you are cruising with kids!

  20. What in the World Is a Disney Cruise Line Fish Extender?

    The Disney Cruise Meets board, a sub-forum on the Disney Cruise Line board on the DISboards, is a great way for cruisers to get to know each other prior to their cruise even if you choose not to participate in the Fish Extender.. What exactly is a Fish Extender? A Fish Extender can be literally anything that can hold stuff. They can be handmade or purchased online; the possibilities are endless.

  21. Know Before You Go Updates: Update on Fish Extenders (Door-to-Door Gift

    Disney Cruise Line announced at the beginning of the month they will be taking a phased approach with the relaxation and modifications of various health and safety protocols which were required upon the industry restart.. We will continue to monitor for additional changes, but please take the time to read and familiarize the information on Disney Cruise Line emails and Know Before You Go pages ...

  22. Disney Wonder's Fish Extender Groups

    The Cruise groups are a great way to get to know your fellow guests ahead of time and the spot to sign up for gift exchanges like the fish extender, magnet, ornament, and candy exchanges. If you don't see a link for your cruise, a group may still need to be made. ... Disney Cruise Fish extender gifts. August 5th, 2024 - 7-Night Alaskan ...

  23. These 10 tips for Disney Cruise first timers ensure a magical experience

    8. Join the Facebook group for your cruise. The odds are excellent that someone has started a Facebook group for the passengers sailing on your cruise. Find them by searching for the name of the ...

  24. Things To Do Before A Disney Cruise

    Things to Do Before A Disney Cruise Get Your Dining Time Booked. The Disney Cruise Line offers two meal times - the main seating (between 5:45 pm and 6:15 pm) and the second seating (between 8 ...

  25. Disney Cruise Line Tips for First Timers

    Disney Cruises can be so much fun for families. In addition to the daily port visits, you will also enjoy activities, shows, fun kids' clubs, delicious food, character greetings, shopping, and ...

  26. Disney Wish's Fish Extender Groups

    The Cruise groups are a great way to get to know your fellow guests ahead of time and the spot to sign up for gift exchanges like the fish extender, magnet, ornament, and candy exchanges. If you don't see a link for your cruise, a group may still need to be made. ... Disney Cruise Fish extender gifts. July 22nd, 2024 - 4-Night Bahamian ...

  27. First photos of Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point

    Disney Cruise Line 's new Bahamian beach destination, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, is open for business, offering Mickey Mouse fans an additional port to visit in the Bahamas. Disney Magic, the line's original ship, was the first to bring passengers; they arrived at pristine beaches and a maze of boardwalks linking various eateries ...