Fish Extender Exchanges on Disney Cruise Lines

When I first started considering a cruise I heard about something called a “Fish Extender” or “FE.” There were Fish Extender Groups and there was some sort of interesting looking bag hanging near a cabin door. I was instantly curious.

What is it?

Next to the cabin doors are little hooks shaped like a fish. On some ships, they are shaped like seahorses, but mostly it’s fish. On that hook, families hang a sectioned bag that has pockets – one for each family member with their name on it. These are the “fish extenders.”

What do they do?

They are part of a fun Disney “tradition” where guests exchange gifts.

It works like this:

  1. Cruise guests sign up to be part of a Fish Extender Group to participate. This is not part of the official Disney cruise activities. If you search Facebook, you can usually find your group. Search by your ship name and the date. If you have trouble, message our Facebook page and I’ll help you find one.
  2. When signing up for a group, read the rules for the exchange. I have a standard guideline written below to give you an idea of what to expect.
  3. You will be asked for some basic information like your cabin number and any allergies.
  4. You will be placed in a Fish Extender Group. The normal size of the group is 10 Cabins.
  5. You will be given a list of who is in your group and their cabin number and information.
  6. Purchase gifts or make gifts for the cabins assigned according to the guidelines of the group you joined.
  7. Hang your Fish Extender when you arrive at your cabin.
  8. Choose a day of your trip (not usually the first day) to deliver your Fish Extender gifts, placing them in the pockets of the person you’re delivering to. They will be surprised with the gift when they return to their cabin. The other people will deliver their gifts to your Fish Extender.

It’s sort of like being a rogue stocking stuffing elf or renegade Easter bunny.

Here is a basic guideline for a standard Fish Extender Exchange:

  • Gifts may be for the entire cabin or for the individuals in the cabin. Some people do both. Just don’t leave anyone out if you do individuals 🙂
  • The amount to spend is completely up to you, but many people use a “roughly $10 per cabin” guideline. Apply the “gift you would like to receive” principle in your selection.
  • Gifts can be handmade or purchased.
  • Gifts should be signed as to who they are from. Usually, this is done with a tag.
  • Gifts should be placed in appropriate pockets or may be left leaning beside the pocket or leaning on the door if too large.
  • Gifts are generally delivered just one day and should be delivered after embarkment but before 4 p.m. on the last night of the cruise.
  • Gifts may be Disney or non-Disney

I have a Pinterest board going with ideas for Fish Extender gifts here.

I’ll also add projects of my own for you to try as we go along. Welcome aboard to an exciting side quest for your next Disney cruise!

The Fish Extender shown is by Gradysmommy and available for purchase through Etsy.

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