Headed on a Disney Cruise soon? Make this no sew Disney Cruise fish extender DIY to take part in some added extra magic while on board. Kids and adults love participating in the Disney Cruise Fish Extender program.
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Some of you may be wondering what the heck is a fish extender? The fish extender program is not actually run by Disney Cruise Line. It is a fun secret santa type activity that is run by those cruising on one of the Disney Cruise Line Ships. Once you have booked your cruise, search for the facebook group with your ship name and cruise dates. Once you join the facebook group, you can sign up to be part of a fish extender group. Whoever is in charge of the facebook group will assign smaller groups of 6-10 cabins.
Once you are put into a group, as a whole, the group will decide how to run the gift exchange. Our group decided on only a one time gift drop from each cabin during our cruise since it was such a short cruise. It was fun to plan what small gift(s) to give each person in our fish extender group. To make it easier on myself, I tried to keep things similar across the board. We all delivered our gifts at different times and days so that our kids would be getting something on everyday of the cruise. However, we did need something to collect all our fun treasures from our new friends, that is where this no sew Disney Cruise fish extender DIY comes in.
Outside every stateroom door there is either a fish, star fish or sea horse hook. It’s the perfect spot to hold a fish extender and create an easy place for others to deliver their fish extender gifts. I have seen lots of different fish extenders, homemade, purchased, simple, fancy, there really is no wrong way. I wanted to make a fish extender but not spend a ton of time or money on it. Purchasing this nursery organizer from Amazon helped make this fish extender DIY a super easy project. There are different color options, but I loved the gray polk dot pattern!
I originally thought I’d cover the entire thing in Disney fabric, but decided to make it even easier on myself. I bought some rick rack trim in red and yellow and some fabric glue. Using the fabric glue, I attached the rick rack trim along the top of each basket of the organizer. I alternated colors to make it more fun. I did about a 4 inch section at a time and made sure it was attached before moving on to the next section.
That was so easy and took no time at all. And it turned out really cute! I love the mix of red and yellow.
I could’ve left it like that, but I thought it needed a bit more personality. Since there were 5 in our cabin and we only had 4 baskets on our organizer, I decided mom and dad would share a basket and the kids would each get their own. Instead of putting names on the baskets, I thought it’d be fun to make a small version of our door magnets to put on the front of each basket. (Did you know you could make or buy fun magnets to put on your stateroom doors? Door magnets would make fun fish extender gifts too.)
We would be able to use this same fish extender for any Disney Cruise we might sail on in the future. I wanted to have the option of changing it up just a little. Velcro is what I used to attach our small version door magnets to the fronts of the baskets. On the laminated Mickey heads I used sticky back velcro and for the nursery organizer, I used iron on.
The sticky back was no problem for the laminated mickey heads, but the iron on is a bit tricky. I first made sure I had the correct size piece of velcro to match with the sticky velcro. Once I had the iron on velcro placed onto the front of the basket, I made sure I had something solid inside to stand up to the pressure of my iron as I pressed down onto it. The fabric is really quite delicate and can scorch or burn easily. Make sure your iron is on a low setting, no steam and place a towel or parchment paper between the organizer and the iron. Press and iron on in short increments of time. No more than 20 seconds at a time. Let it cool for a few seconds and then press it again for 20.
Once all the velcro was ironed on, I was able to attach the Mickey heads to the baskets. Each kid knew which basket was theirs and those delivering fish extender gifts knew which basket was for which person in our cabin. Since I used the velcro, we can now switch out our Mickey heads for each cruise if we wanted to.
Our fish extender was a bit wider than I had anticipated, but it turned out to be just fine in the end. And looked really cute next to our stateroom door. The kids not only loved finding little treasures in our fish extender, but they loved delivering them too. My daughter kept saying we were passing out Valentine’s to our friends. (Our cruise was a week after Valentine’s Day.) And it kind of was like that, passing out our gifts to our friends.
This program is an added cost and added time requirement when it comes to planning a Disney Cruise, but it was really fun and will be memorable for the kids. Some people even bring extra gifts just to put in random fish extenders as they walk the hallways. It was a fun addition to our vacation and we look forward to doing it again on our next Disney Cruise.
Planning a Disney Cruise? Check out my 20 Disney Cruise Tips and Must do activities on a Disney Cruise. You can also check out how to pack for Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise if you are planning on doing both for your vacation. Make sure to check out Get Away Today for the best deals on a Disney Cruise. You can call them at (877)510-2929 to get their best deals and tips for Disney Cruising. Don’t forget to mention Liz on Call for additional discounts.