First Time Disney Cruise?

What is this about decorating your door and joining a fish extender group? Is it all too stressful and confusing?

Congratulations on your upcoming Disney Cruise! It's understandable to feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of decorating your door and participating in a fish extender group, but you may enjoy these ideas to make the experience more enjoyable and worry-free.


Let's start with explaining a "fish extender"

A fish extender is a hanging organizer or pocket system commonly used by guests on Disney Cruise Line ships. The term "fish extender" comes from the decorative fish-shaped metal plates that are typically found outside stateroom doors on these ships.

A fish extender is usually made of fabric or another lightweight material and hangs from the fish-shaped metal plate or another designated spot near the stateroom door. It typically consists of multiple pockets or compartments, often one for each member of a participating family or group. (Click this link to see additional photos.) 

The purpose of a fish extender is to facilitate small gift exchanges among fellow cruisers. Guests who choose to participate in a fish extender group fill the pockets of each participant's fish extender with small gifts or surprises. These gifts can be anything from trinkets, toys, personalized items, or even snacks.

Participating in a fish extender group can be a fun way to connect with other cruisers, especially families traveling together. It adds an extra element of excitement and surprise during the cruise, as you may find surprises waiting for you in your fish extender pockets when you return to your stateroom.

Keep in mind that fish extenders and participating in gift exchanges are optional activities on Disney Cruise Line, and not all guests choose to take part. It's all about personal preference and adding an extra touch of magic to your cruise experience if you're interested.

How do I get a Fish Extender?  

That’s up to you!  Many people make their own. Others go to buying platforms like Etsy to purchase one from someone else who LOVES to make them.

What does being "pixie dusted" mean? 

When you sign up for a Fish Extender (FE) group on a Disney Cruise, the self-proclaimed leader of that group assigns a specific number of cabins for gift exchanges. However, in addition to participating in the FE group, there is another delightful practice called "being pixie dusted."

Being pixie dusted refers to the act of surprising and gifting other cruisers who may not be part of your FE group but have Fish Extenders hanging off their fish hooks. It is a spontaneous gesture of kindness and magic, where fellow passengers leave small presents, often including candy and trinkets, for others to discover during their cruise. The gifts are like little sprinkles of joy and surprises throughout the journey. A little like Tinkerbell's magic pixie dust!


Its a wonderful way to spread happiness and create unexpected moments of delight for fellow cruisers. It adds an extra touch of magic to the overall cruise experience, creating a sense of community and connection among passengers.

Here is some advice to make the experience more enjoyable and stress-free:

  • Decorate your door (optional): Decorating your stateroom door is a fun way to personalize your space and make it easier to locate your room in a sea of doors. However, it's completely optional, so don't feel pressured to do it if you don't want to. If you decide to decorate, keep it simple and lightweight as excessive decorations may not be allowed or could damage the door.

  • Research and plan ahead: Before your cruise, take some time to research the different fish extender groups and their rules. If you're interested in participating, join a group or create your own with a few other families. Communicate with the group members in advance to discuss expectations, budget, and gift ideas.

Finding a fish extender group for your Disney Cruise can be done through various online platforms and forums. Here are a few places where you can start your search:

  1. Facebook Groups: Search for Disney Cruise Line-related groups on Facebook. Look for groups specifically dedicated to fish extender exchanges or general Disney Cruise Line fan groups. Join these groups and ask if there are any existing or forming fish extender groups for your specific sailing date.

  2. Instagram: Search for Disney Cruise Line-related hashtags on Instagram, such as #DisneyCruise or #FishExtender. You may come across posts from cruisers who are looking to join or form fish extender groups. 

  3. Remember to check the rules and guidelines of each platform before participating in any fish extender group or sharing personal information. Once you find a group or create your own, you can communicate with other participants to coordinate the details and expectations of the exchange.

Some more advice to make the experience more enjoyable and stress-free:

  • Keep it manageable: Decorating and participating in a fish extender group should be fun, not stressful. Don't feel obligated to go all out or spend a significant amount of time and money on decorations or gifts. Set realistic expectations and remember that the main focus of your cruise is to enjoy the ship, activities, and destinations.
  • Pack wisely: If you decide to participate in a fish extender group, pack small, lightweight items that are easy to transport and won't take up much space in your luggage. Consider items like small toys, stickers, magnets, keychains, or personalized items with your family's name. Keep in mind the size limitations of the fish extender pockets and avoid perishable or fragile items.
  • Have fun and be respectful: Remember that the door decorations and fish extender groups are all about adding extra enjoyment to your cruise experience. Be respectful of other guests and follow the rules and guidelines set by Disney Cruise Line. Take the opportunity to engage with other families and create memorable moments during your cruise.
  • Remember not to give all your trinkets and gifts away on the first few days of the cruise. Keep some for the later days in the cruise to keep the magic going!

Lastly, don't let the door decorations or fish extender group overshadow your overall experience on the Disney Cruise. There are plenty of other amazing activities, shows, and amenities on board that you should also explore and enjoy. Have a fantastic time on your Disney Cruise!


Here's a little surprise for you to help you on your way to creating a fish extender GIFT TAG for your FE gifts: 

Download your fish extender gift tags PLUS your Pixie Dust Gift Tags for only $4.99. Add these gift tags to your fish extender and pixie dust gifts that you give your cruise passenger neighbors. You will receive all 4 styles of gift tags to add to the magic of the fish extender and pixie dust fun! Print each page of gift tags as many times as you wish. You'll love them!

Just click Add To Cart and when you're ready, check out. Once you have completed your "order" you'll be able to either immediately download the item or you can grab it from your email inbox within minutes! Print them on cardstock, cut them out, and tape them to your gifts. Happy sailing!