I had a blast with our Fish Extender experience and door magnets for our recent Disney Cruise. What a way to make your trip just a little more magical…and you get to meet neat people along the way.
What is a Fish Extender?
A fish extender is simply a gift exchange with others on your cruise ship. Typically, there is a cruise group and someone organizing the FE for that cruise. You get assigned a group to exchange your gifts with. The size of the particular groups depends on the parameters the group itself sets in place. For example, my group had a 10 cabin limit for each of our FE groups (inlcuding out own cabin so really I only had 9 cabins to exchange to).
How do you find a group?
To participate, you can find your cruise group either on Facebook with a search (like something to the effect of “Disney [ship name] [month] [year]) or via Disboards.
What do you need?
You need what they call a “Fish Extender” to participate and of course, FE gifts.
A Fish Extender holder is simply something to hold the items you will receive in. There are tons of cute ones on etsy…I waited too late to get my act together to order one so I decided to make my own. After looking all over the internet, I decided to go the route of many seasoned cruisers before me. I used the Delta Baby 4 pocket Organizer as my holder. When I initially purchased it, it was beige…and I wanted it to be black.
So two cans of spray paint later….and voila, a black holder. And let me just say, I saw this all over Facebook to spray paint this item but I was super nervous about doing this. There were no instructions so I just took a leap of faith, got this spray paint, put down an old sheet and sprayed away. The fabric definitely soaked the paint in and it took several coats to get good coverage. I hung the organizer up in my garage to really dry out for a couple of days.
Personalizing your FE Holder
I personalized my FE holder by using my Silhouette Cameo. I found our favorite character images off of the internet and saved them to my computer. I then used the trace feature in my Silhouette Designer software to turn the images into a cut file.
I wanted these images to be on a “card” with our names on them. So, I simply used the rectangle feature in my software, drew a rectangle, and filled it in with my color of choice. Then I used the “Walter” font and typed our names. I then made sure the cut lines feature for the name was turned off.
I resized my images to the size I wanted and made sure that only the outer edge of each image was set to cut. I then used the print and cut feature to print my designs and then cut them out with the Cameo.
To finish it off, I adhered the pieces together. I put velcro on the FE pockets and then velcro on the back of the name cards so I could easily attach them once we were in our cabin.
I found this cute anchor ribbon at Wal-Mart that I used to attached it to the “fish” outside my door.
Your FE gifts
This is truly wide open for you. Anything goes. Disney and non-Disney. Lots of people will do something from where they are from. I gave Moon Pies as my “cabin gift” (gift to all in the cabin) with a fun note since these are made in Chattanooga. I also gave individual gifts to everyone in the cabin too. Our group organizer gave us info like what everyone’s fave character was and ages of the kids so I tried to place something in the gift related to their fave character and age appropriate. Oh, and speaking of the group organizer, I gave her a gift too even though she was not in our particular FE group.
For the adults, I already had these great cups on hand from an awesome sale this summer and it just so happened I had just enough cups for my adult gifts. I used my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo to personalize the cups with a fun Mickey anchor and their names.
For the kids, I did several things. Most of the kids were tween/teen girls so I gave them personalized hair brushes and headbands.
I had one boy on the list who loves Star Wars so I gave him a little Star Wars lego kit. One girl was only 7 so I have her a Disney “Find it” set of cards and a headband.
I also found some awesome Mickey and Minnie magnets that were also bottle openers on the back. Each room got one of these too. I wish I had snapped a picture but totally forgot!
You do not have to be crafty to do this. I got tons of fun stuff that were not handmade or personalized. You also do not have to spend a ton of money to participate.
Why on earth do you need door magnets on a Disney Cruise?
You don’t!! But, why not????
Really, I had a lot of fun with this. And now after being on the ship, I am really glad we did this…it did make our door more recognizable for the kids and just made us smile when we came back to our cabin.
Again, I used my Silhouette Cameo to make our door decorations.
For my Mickey Captain, I found some images online that I imported into my Silhouette Designer software.
I re-sized the items and in fact, had to split them evenly in half on each design “page” and then print them off, cut them out, and match them up to get the size I wanted since I do not have a 12×12 printer. I hand cut these items….it was just easier than using the Cameo. I also laminated them and cut them out again. The Mickey Captains jacket is actually a design I took from the Silhouette Design store. I had to play with it to make it a Captain’s jacket by making the sleeves longer, adding the bow tie, buttons, and yellow stripes and then coloring it all blue.
Here is the before of the “jacket”…..
For our Mickey and Minnie magnets, I found these designs online. Uploaded them, traced them and then personalized them with the Walter font again. I printed on cardstock and had the machine then cut them out and then I loaded this Silhouette adhesive magnet paper into my Cameo and had it cut it out again. I then placed the cardstock on top of the magnet. That stuff….is amazing!
This was a really fun craft project to tackle and even though our cruise is over….I am addicted and want to make more magnets 😉
I referenced a couple of techniques in this post and rather than trying to go into a lot of detail here, there are already really good tutorials over at Silhouette School. You can find her print and cut tutorial here and her tutorial on tracing here.
If you have any questions about how I made all of this, just comment below and I am happy to respond.