Fish Extenders: How to Create Your Own Magic on a Disney Cruise

by | May 5, 2023 | Disney Cruise Line

Fish extenders are a fun group activity that you can plan for ahead of your next Disney cruise! We’re sharing everything you need to know so you can participate and plan.

What could be more fun than creating your own magic on your next Disney cruise? That’s right, you don’t need to wait for magical moments to happen to you. YOU can be the one to make the magic through something called Fish Extenders on the Disney Cruise Line.

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What are Fish Extenders?

fish extenders

Photo by Kimberly Beckman

Fish Extenders are named after the fish (or seahorse) that appears above the stateroom number outside your cabin door on a Disney cruise ship. The fish is used to hold mail, such as your key cards, on the first day of your cruise. Fish Extender participants hang pouches from the fish to give and receive presents throughout the voyage. Just like magic!

In a nutshell, Fish Extenders are the name of the mailbox but also the name of the activity you participate in.

Finding a Group to Participate In

Locating a Fish Extender group requires a search for your cruise on Facebook. I put the words “Disney Cruise” and my sail dates into the search bar. If I can’t find it there, I search in the group Disney Cruise Line Junkies. They usually have a handle on which groups have been created. Be careful when you find your sailing date; you’ll want to make sure it’s for the correct ship!

Not only will your Facebook group have information on Fish Extenders for your cruise, but you’ll get the chance to meet new people before you even set sail. 

What Should I Give?

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Photo by Kimberly Beckman

There are no rules on gifts, although you can sign up for specific exchanges such as recipes, ornaments, or magnets. You can get information on the people in your group, such as their favorite characters. Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Let your creativity run wild. Or use some good standby suggestions below.

  • Flashlight with a DCL logo (via Cricut or order from Etsy)” Flashlights come in handy, especially if you’re in an interior stateroom. We still have ours from our first cruise.
  • Seabands: Not everyone remembers to bring these, so it’s a nice extra to have on hand while you gain your sea legs.
  • Comfort Kit: mints, gum, tide stick, chapstick, travel sunscreen, and dramamine
  • Sand toys for the beach

Keep in mind when you sign up to participate in a Fish Extender, you are committed. Others are preparing gifts for you, so you need to make sure to prepare gifts for them. You must sign up ahead of time and planning is a definite requirement. 

It’s important to note that some people are really crafty and go above and beyond when creating Fish Extenders. It’s not necessary to be super “extra”. When deciding on gifts, just make sure you give something you’d like to receive.

First-Timer Suggestion: Pixie Dusting

fish extenders

Photo by Kimberly Beckman

Not sure you want to worry about all of that planning or looking to participate without the commitment? Try Pixie Dusting. Pixie Dusting is when you don’t have a specific cabin assigned to exchange with. You prepare as many (or as few) gifts as you want and then drop them in hanging Fish Extenders that you pass along your travels. 

On my most recent Pixar Day at Sea cruise, I opted for Pixie Dusting instead of a fully committed Fish Extender. I highly suggest this route if you’re interested in seeing what the experience is like and it’s your first cruise. 

Pixie Dusting required no pressure and was quite fun! I picked up a few small things like Disney washcloths and key chains and sprinkled them throughout the trip. Adding a preprinted tag with my stateroom and family name lets others know where the magic came from! We also hung our Fish Extender mailbox up, and my kids were excited to see what Pixie Dust we received. 

Get Ready to Set Sail!

It’s important to note that Disney does not sponsor or participate in Fish Extenders. This is simply an interaction from passenger to passenger. 

Of course, you don’t have to participate in Fish Extenders or Pixie Dusting in order to have a magical time. There are so many things to see and do on a Disney Cruise, that you’ll never be bored. However, creating your own magic feels kind of appropriate, so consider joining the fun on your next adventure! 

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Posts by Kimberly Masimore

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Kimberly Masimore is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine. Kimberly has been a fan of Walt Disney World since her first trip at 4 years old.
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Authored by
Kimberly Masimore

Kimberly Masimore is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine. Kimberly has been a fan of Walt Disney World since her first trip at 4 years old.
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