TMSM Explains: Fish Extenders (FE) and Fish Extender Swaps


What is a Fish Extender/FE 
A “fish extender” is something with pockets that has been created by you (or purchased online) that you use as your mailbox during Fish Extender Swaps on your cruise. The reason it’s called an “FE” is because it hangs from the fish right outside your stateroom door that Disney Cruise Line  uses to hold papers and “mail.”
Making a Fish Extender can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be. The one pictured below is a PYSSLINGAR Wall pocket from Ikea with fabric glued on.  (This is what we call our my embroidered FE is missing and we need something ASAP option in our home)


What is an FE/Fish Extender Swap?
A FE Swap is a gift exchange that is held while you are on your cruise. FE Swaps are run by other cruisers, think of it as “not so Secret Santa at Sea.” Prior to the cruise, fish extender groups are formed and organized via many different online outlets. I personally have found Facebook Cruise groups to be the best option for this as some sites that host them can be pretty “TA down your throat” pushy.
Once you find your cruise group, you can sign up for the cruise’s swap. Each swap can vary a bit by whoever is running it but the standard seems to be 10-15 cabins per cruise list. The FE list should note sign-up cut off, the number of cabins that is open for each list etc. to make it easier for you to understand that specific swap’s rules.
Once your FE’s numbers are finalized, each member of the group prepares a gift for the other participating cabins. There are no rules regarding gifts (no minimum or maximum dollar value). Often times, the gifts are handmade, but not always. You can leave a gift for the whole cabin, or for each person in the cabin, this is really a “dealer’s choice” thing. Once the cruise has commenced, participants deliver their gifts to the other participating staterooms, leaving them as a surprise in the fish extender pockets. It is rare to see a swap set up “set delivery times” so usually you can just deliver your gift when you want. One of the most fun aspects of taking part in a Fish Extender group is checking in throughout the day to see what little goodies are waiting.

FEGiftsCandy Swaps, Recipe Swaps
You FE can also be used to collect other items. Some cruises set up Candy Swap where cruisers leave each other candy or speciality food items made from where they live. Another swap you may see is a Recipe Swap where you leave a recipe on a post card. Sometimes these swaps ask you to leave your favorite recipe, sometimes they are themed. Theme wise we have left “Golden Piracy” recipes on Pirate Night, favorite resort recipes, and this winter we will be doing a Star Wars themed swap.

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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

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