Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line Fish Extenders

Fish extenders

Disney Cruise Line Fish Extenders

If you are going on a Disney Cruise anytime soon, you may have heard about fish extenders. Fish extenders 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’s a fish extender?


With such a unique name, there’s no surprise that most people don’t know what a fish extender even is! On the Disney Cruise Line, each of the staterooms has a small silver fish or seahorse to the right or left of the door. Usually, it’s used to hold invitations, receipts, and correspondence during your cruise, but those participating in a fish extender exchange hang a bag or special holder to the “fish” to serve as a mailbox. If you want to participate, you sign up, provide your information and stateroom number, and make little goodies for each person or each cabin.

How to get a fish extender.

While you can certainly just hang a bag from your fish or seahorse, many cruisers opt to make or buy a personalized holder. There are lots of options on Etsy – just search for Fish Extender. (I got mine from Ava Baby Co).

How to sign up for a fish extender exchange.

Visit the DIS Boards forum page for Disney Cruise Meets (link here) and sign up with your names and stateroom number. Depending on the size of the group, you may break up into smaller groups or just stick with one group. Definitely continue to visit the forum to get more information on all of the cruisers – as you get closer to cruise time you can make a list of all of the names, ages, and staterooms.

What to give for fish extender gifts.

This is the fun part – the sky is the limit! We got so many fun Fish Extender gifts on our recent Disney Dream cruise –  here are some of our favorites:

  • Minnie/Mickey hair accessories
  • Little “nip” bottles of alcohol for mom and dad
  • Magnets to decorate our stateroom door
  • Bubbles
  • Glow sticks for Pirate Night
  • Calendars
  • Pirate eye patches
  • Games
  • Nail accessories
  • Beach items
  • Flashlight
  • Water bottles

We made a bag for each stateroom – each contained specific items for each member of the family. Here are three of things we made:

Fish Extenders

I bought these luggage tags online. They are sold as wedding favors, but I removed the ribbons and thank you tags and replaced them with Mickey and Minnie ribbons. Each stateroom got one.

Fish Extenders

I also customized hand sanitizer bottles for each room. I bought these small bottles at Target, along with Avery shipping labels. I bought the Avery Shipping Labels with TrueBlock Technology that hide the label underneath, so I didn’t need to remove the existing labels. With a little Photoshop work with this ship clipart I found, I made labels, printed them, and then cut them down to size.

Fish Extenders

My kids also got in on the fish extender fun by making Mickey-inspired rainbow loom bracelets. Each of the kids on our fish extender list got one.

Looking to decorate your stateroom door? Read this post.
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About Jodi Grundig

Jodi Grundig has loved traveling since she was a little girl. She started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom's Favorite Stuff and after doing quite a bit of travel blogging, decided to launch her own travel site. Jodi resides in Massachusetts with her husband, eight-year old son, nine-year old daughter, and Havanese dog.


  1. Whitney P. says:

    Jodi, one of the things I liked best about participating in the fish extender crew was that it made me explore the ship, and not just the common areas like the pool. On my trek to deliver my gifts, I got to “peep” into rooms that were being made up and get a general feel of the different levels. Loved your luggage tag.

  2. Who knew? This is a great idea!

  3. I admit that I haven’t been on a Disney Cruise but I’ve also never heard of these from any Disney Cruise post I’ve ever read!

  4. My kids have always enjoyed the Fish Extender gift exchange. Even the least expensive items are such a wonderful surprise when you arrive back at your stateroom! It’s also so nice that people put so much thought into them. Your hand sanitizer came in super handy several times on the journey home!

    It’s definitely a great way to add a little pixie dust to your cruise!

    • Can you help me sign up for the fish extender activity? I am so lost:) Thanks so much in advance:)

      • Jodi Grundig says:

        Hi Angelica,
        There are directions in this post (under the category – How to Sign Up for A Fish Extender Exchange. Essentially, you need to go to the link posted in that section and find your cruise to sign up.

        Have fun!

  5. I have never been on a cruise but as a crafty person been asked to help out making small gifts and making fish extenders for cruisers

  6. I had never even heard of this… Good to know if I ever do a Disney cruise!

  7. Suzanne holland says:

    This is a great explanation! I read it aloud to my daughter to get her excited for our upcoming cruise in October!

  8. Wendi Porretti says:

    Thanks so much for this explanation! Our family is going on our second Disney Cruise in May and we really want to participate in a Fish Extender Group this time. We’ve already gotten our extender. I also posted on the thread back in the fall, but I can’t figure out how you know that you’re in a group. Did you literally just troll through the thread and list out the different families and ages? I’m worried about investing in a lot of gifts and then it ends up that we’re somehow not in the group!! I find the whole thread really confusing.

    • Jodi Grundig says:

      Hi Wendi –

      There’s usually someone in the DISBoards thread that will take over as leader of the group and create the master list. You should make sure that you are on the master list so you know that you’ll definitely be in the group.

  9. Sandy Stobaugh says:

    So do you choose how many familys you do ..and do u leave them a gift everyday

    • Jodi Grundig says:

      It’s really up to your group – usually you give gifts to the whole list although sometimes they are broken up into groups if there are too many.

  10. Christine says:

    Hello I was just wondering if you had the mickey rainbow loom bracelet pattern that you have pictured. I’d really like the pattern for them thanks

  11. I have never heard of this! I’m planning a Disney Cruise and am so happy that I found your post on Pinterest!

  12. Hunter Forstchen says:

    I love this article! I’m heading on my second cruise later this year and find the Fish Extender program to be so much fun! I’ve even posted this article on my website where I sell items that could be used as FE gifts to help others that are new to the world of FE! Take a look and let me know if you are ok with it being there!

  13. Jordan Brecht says:

    Is this something you do every night? Or just one specific night?

    • Jodi Grundig says:

      Jordan, It’s really up to you and your Fish Extender group. We only did one set of gifts for the whole cruise.

  14. Tangela Gibbons says:

    We have been on 4 Disney Cruises and we are scheduled for our 5th in April 2015…I am so doing this! I always saw the magnets and gifts on the doors, but I never knew anything about this until just recently. I am so excited to participate.

  15. HEllO! sounds like a lotta fun! So can someone who has done this before tell me about how many people you gifted to? Also, anyone remember some of the gifts they received to kinda give me a few more ideas. We sail in April of this year and I haven’t done any planning for this so wanna get start ASAP! Thanks

  16. Lori Burton says:

    We leave on the Magic May 30, 2015, and can’t find a FE group for the cruise. The Disboards seem to be having membership issues due to competition with Facebook groups, from what recent threads suggest. I can’t find one on Facebook, or anywhere else. I’d love to be a part of a group, so if anyone has an idea where I’d find a group, please contact me. I think my kids would love to participate.

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