Disney Cruise Fish Extenders

What in the world is a Fish Extender?  I asked that question before my first Disney Cruise and the answer opened a door to a lot of fun, new friends and great gifts.

Outside of a Disney Cruise Ship cabin is a decorative hook that looks like a fish, starfish, or seahorse.  The Cruise Cast Members leave notes for your cabin on these hooks.  Our cabin had a seahorse that looked like this:

Using the FISH on the Door as the Hook

A fish extender is an organizer that is hung from the hook.  Some are handmade, like mine, some are purchased.  Each member of my family picked out a Disney themed material that I used to make the pockets, then I attached a Mickey head with their name on it.  It was a lot of fun and very easy to make.

Now, you may be wondering what the fish extender is used for!  Little gifts are placed in the fish extender over the course of your cruise.  They can be gifts the whole family would love, gifts for each member of the family, or gifts just for the kids.  We decided to make a gift for the cabin and give a little something to each child.  Our cabin gift was bottle cap magnets that my whole family helped make.  The gifts for the children ranged from Disney themed rubber band bracelets, glow sticks to candy for the older kids.   For cabins with no children we gave chocolate from a local company along with the bottle cap magnets.

Door Magnets  “How do I get involved with Fish Extenders on my Disney Cruise?” is probably what you are asking yourself.   Facebook has groups for most Disney Cruise sailings where one or two people take on the responsibility of organizing the fish extender gift exchange.  A list is compiled of each cabin that is interested in participating.   If the list grows to be very large, it will be divided into smaller groups.  Our last fish extender group was about 20 cabins.  The list is distributed via email shortly after the paid in full date for each cruise and includes the names of the family in each cabin, the ages of the children and if there are any allergies or special requests.

Now the fun part!  We made and packaged the gifts for each cabin.  My kids had a lot of fun helping with the bottle magnets and my daughter made all the rubber band bracelets for the girls.  We decided that when we were on our cruise we would deliver the gifts to one deck per day.  We enjoyed visiting different decks and tried to be pretty sneaky so no one would see us dropping the gifts off.   Every time we came back to our cabin the kids couldn’t wait to see what treats were waiting for them.  We received wonderful gifts from our fish extender group; personalized plastic cups, ice cream sundae fixings, handmade puzzles, ornaments, jewelry, and many other fun surprises.

I am a huge fan of being a part of the fish extender groups!  We have a lot of fun thinking of the gifts, making them, and delivering them, but the very best part to me is making new friends.  We got know our group well, one family very well.  Our kids were inseparable during the cruise, have stayed in touch since the cruise and are planning a summer get together.  The adults enjoyed each other’s company so much that we are all sailing together on a couple’s only cruise in the fall on the Disney Magic.

The Stateroom Door!

Joining a fish extender group is just one more way to enjoy a Disney Cruise by exploring the ship, meeting new people, and finding little   surprises waiting for you outside your cabin every day.  If you are looking for more information about fish extenders, click here for a great article

I would love to help you plan a Disney Cruise, or any Disney Destination vacation.  Follow my Wishes Family Travel – Juli Russ Facebook page for Disney news, help in planning a magical vacation and other fun tidbits.


Disney Cruise Itinerary, Plan B


If you are like me, once you book your Disney cruise you start planning all the fun activities you will do on the ship and in the Ports.  Our latest Disney cruise was four days to Castaway Cay, Nassau, and Key West.  We were very excited to experience this itinerary, and were especially looking forward to participating in the Castaway Cay 5k and having a massage on the adult only beach.  Ah the best laid plans!

As our cruise drew near, we started watching the weather and discovered Hurricane Joaquin was heading toward the Bahamas.  We are eternal optimists and decided that the hurricane would not affect our trip and we would enjoy all the activities we had spent a year planning.  Hurricane Joaquin had a different idea, however.  Not long after boarding the ship Captain Tom informed us that we would be switching our itinerary to visit Key West first and Castaway Cay last.  We were glad that Disney Cruise Line had the safety of its passengers and crew as its top priority and didn’t mind the little switch at all.

JR blog Cruise Itinerary plan b 1

The original time for us to be in Key West was Noon to 6:00pm, with the quick switch the time changed to 8:00am to 2:00pm.  This was a little disappointing based on our plans, but we made the best of it.  We were the first in line to disembark the ship which gave us plenty of time to take a walk to the Southern Most Point in the USA.  The best part of our day was meeting a group of couples all traveling together from the Orlando area.  If we had spent the first day on Castaway Cay, we probably wouldn’t have met them and wouldn’t be planning a Spring Break trip to visit them.

JR blog itinerary plan b 3

We got back on the ship at the very last minute because we were having such a good time on Key West.  It wasn’t long before Captain Tom made another announcement, Hurricane Joaquin wasn’t moving away from the Bahamas so we were going to Cozumel and we would also have a day at sea.  That announcement meant we weren’t going to stop at Castaway Cay which is always my favorite.  This cruise we were going to able to enjoy the adult beach and run the 5k, so we were disappointed.

As the ship set sail toward Cozumel we realized that since there would be a Sea Day, we could make reservations for our favorite meal, Palo Brunch!   Who cares about an adult beach and a 5K when you can enjoy mimosas, sticky buns, and the best chicken parmesan in the world!  We almost ran up to Palo to make our brunch reservations, luckily we didn’t miss out.

JR blog Itinerary plan b 2

Despite our disappointment, the change in itinerary turned out to be as much, if not more fun than the plans we had originally made.  Sailing during hurricane season means there is always a chance that the itinerary can change.  Disney Cruise Line cancelled all the missed port excursions with no charge.  We were also given a small refund due to the change in port fees which we used to enjoy a couple cocktails at the pool.  I love that the ships can sail around the storms and my vacation isn’t ruined by bad weather.  Passenger and Crew safety is always the top priority for the Captain which I appreciate tremendously.  The passengers on the ships also need to understand that itineraries can change and be flexible, you never know how great the new experience will be!

Planning a Disney Cruise is fun, I would love to help you plan a cruise on one of the Disney ships.  Contact me at julir@wishesfamnilytravel.com and follow my Wishes Family Travel Facebook page for all kinds of Disney information.