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Old 01-29-2014, 09:16 PM   #16
lbgraves
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I wouldn't do the FE on anything less than a 7-night cruise because you are already pressed for time on a 3/4-night. I also wouldn't participate in one with too many "rules" like posted above. We have always had the option of doing individual or family gifts and could deliver them at any point we decided to during our cruise. If you opt not to do the FE, you could do what we did our first couple cruises with Tink gifts. I left things in a bag on the hook outside the bathroom door and asked our host to put them out on the bed with the towel animals. The kids were always happy to return to the room for the night to see what Tink left them. I picked up sale items at Disneystore.com & Target like PJ pals, stuffed characters, play figures, etc.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:54 AM   #17
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I'm going on a 5 night Western Caribbean on Wonder this Sunday, so I can't tell you my opinion from my experience yet. I'm all packed and yes, FE gifts take up a lot of room and weight in my luggage. The two moms who are in charge of the group are very organized. For months, we stayed a fairly small group but the group got bigger one month before the cruise date. We even had to change the cut off date twice because we had more people interested.

So far, we seem to have a very nice, like minded families who are all very excited to have fun on this cruise. A lot of us are pretty active on Facebook group and we even have a private mixology class scheduled.
So I think the gifts will be fun for my 6 year old son. Yes, my luggages are heavy but I think I will enjoy the company of these people and feel like it'll be worth it.
My attitude is, it's not about what we get, but the experience we will share with some of the families.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:32 AM   #18
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I also wouldn't do FE on a short cruise, unless it was just between our family and friends.
I've seen some FE lists and guidelines that horrify me, it makes me wonder how people afford it. Personally, we only do FE if the group is small (under 15), one cabin gift and not per person and then only if we can deliver when we like.

It takes the fun out of it if people are stressing about what to spend, how to carry it, when to deliver.

Love everything we receive though ... From pencils to hand made key rings, anti-bac to candy .. It's all welcome!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I also wouldn't do FE on a short cruise, unless it was just between our family and friends. I've seen some FE lists and guidelines that horrify me, it makes me wonder how people afford it. Personally, we only do FE if the group is small (under 15), one cabin gift and not per person and then only if we can deliver when we like. It takes the fun out of it if people are stressing about what to spend, how to carry it, when to deliver. Love everything we receive though ... From pencils to hand made key rings, anti-bac to candy .. It's all welcome!!
It seems like they are getting worse and is one reason along with luggage space why I am not participating in FE last time and this time. I do not want to be told what to do on my vacation.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:48 AM   #20
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As a coordinator of a FE Exchange I find it shameful that anyone would tell the participants that they had to do that many gifts! I would never do one again if that had been my first experience!

Awful!

It is, in my opinion, up to the participants how they want to participate as long as they have at least one gift for the rooms participating. This gift can be anything from the heart. It's what I call, a way to add extra pixie dust to your cruise, and a fun way to get to know a few of your fellow passengers.

It should be fun. It should never be burdomesome. It should never be a budget buster. And it should never be a competition.

I am coordinating a 4 day FE and it's been a lot of fun!

We have 16 cabins. I am a cabin gift person. But many are doing individual gifts and personalized gifts, but that is up to them and their resources to do so.

I have done everyting I can to do everyting within a small budget and I still think this is a great gift I am giving this year.

People are very generous with their time and resources and very creative and it's extremely fun to see what people come up with or little tokens of their home town, or just getting little stickers and pens.

I would really recommend doing it.

I would also really recommend when you see rules being implemented like those mentioned, that you speak up and say that there should not be such stringent rules to encourgae particiaption from as many people as possible to make it that much more fun.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:20 PM   #21
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I'm on the fence as well. It is our first Disney cruise and at first I thought it sounded very exciting. I figured we had the freedom to go around and leave little gifts as we wish. However, now I see that is not the case and I don't want it to to be a chore and take away from our vacation. If we get a small group then I think it will be fun to do. If not, then it will certainly be too overwhelming for me. I'm crafty but work full time and have no time to make things.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:15 AM   #22
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I am excited to do fe with my daughters with my mom for the first time.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:01 AM   #23
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Well, if you were on a cruise with my little DD you wouldn't even need to be a part of a group to get something. Just hang out a FE. She cannot go by a FE without putting something in. It is her favorite part of the cruise. And watching her have so much fun "giving" is my favorite part.

She started collecting little "gifts" for the FE as soon as we got home from our last DC, even though we did not have the next one planned. Now that we have our next cruise coming up she is in full FE gift collecting and making mode. Her favorite is finding sea glass at the beach. Every time she finds a piece she says "this is for someone's FE."

I am a certified coupon clipping, penny pinching miser but I will gladly pay for an extra piece of luggage to haul our FE gifts to the cruise.

So, if you hang out a FE and come back to find little shiny rocks, bits of sand polished glass, badly made rainbow loom pieces and any other bits of junk, it's not trash, It's a "gift".
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I'll express a different perspective- we did it last year when DS was 4. While he loved it, we've decided to not do it again this year (he will be just 6 too) for a few reasons:

a) The rules in our case got complex (one gift from each person in our room to each person in each participating room, then one "room" gift from each adult in a room ... this added up to 120 or so 'gifts'). I think our rules were more complicated/onerous than most, but that was definitely a factor.

b) We are not crafty (nor do I have much time for crafts even if I was any good). Thus - it was a lot of work/planning/time/money (if you're not crafty- even inexpensive things add up at 120 gifts...) to find things that would work for everyone.

c) Even though I purposefully chose small things, this all took up quite a bit of of room in our luggage - going there and coming back. Since we are flying from Canada, this was a bit of a pain.

For our next cruise, we will bring the FE (we love the one I bought on Etsy- no regrets there), and a few things we have bought for DS, and we'll fill it when he's asleep. This trip is a bit more complex too, to be fair- I fly to Orlando beforehand for a meeting, then they follow after. We'll have been scrambling to get DS's birthday party done before we leave, and it's just going to be very, very busy just before the cruise, so we didn't want to be stressing over FE things.

We may do FE again in the future, but I've decided that it likely won't be until DS is actually participating himself. He was not the one running around to the cabins to deliver things - otherwise, we would have spent an entire day at the rate he moves!

I'm glad others enjoy it. In the end, it came out slightly more on the 'stressful' side than the 'fun' side, so we're effectively putting it on hold for now.


120???!! That's crazy. There should be very few rules involved - if any. In fact, any rules should be aimed at limiting the number of gifts everyone needs to bring. And under no circumstance, should it be a requirement to get individual gifts for every person in every stateroom in your group.

I may need the flame-retardant suit for this, but I think many people have taken the whole FE thing way too far. Some have taken it to a level I don't believe anyone initially expected.

That said, I totally understand that that pretty much everyone's intentions are in the right place and they don't mean to cause stress for anyone else. I admit I've been blown away by some of the gifts we've received considering the thought, and time that went into some of them. However, as the poster quoted above stated...not everyone is that crafty, nor has the time to make customized, homemade gifts. I personally don't have one ounce of craftiness in me (or 30 seconds of spare time to make things, for that matter). Therefore, we generally must rely on purchasing FE gifts. So, as others have said, that can really add up...although I'm fine with that. It's my penalty for not being crafty and/or not having lots of free time. What I'm not fine with is some of the comments I've seen occasionally in FE threads such as this one where people complain about the stuff they've received. Just be grateful - for whatever you get - and remember the spirit behind the whole idea.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:27 AM   #25
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We have never done this but we are signed up for mothers day cruise.I am feeling the stress because im not crafty but my daughter is excited. We are doing one gift per room the first time out,one of my Drs who always tells me about his disney cruise adventures told me I should try and his wife always does it and they enjoy it so I am gonna give it a shot.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:34 AM   #26
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We participated on our first cruise and decided it really wasn't for us. For us it was a wasteful experience. We put a lot of time, effort, money and thought into our gifts. I did not feel that the majority of people did the same. I saw a lot of people post pictures of really nice things they had received and tried to plan in the same way. I would say we received 5 gifts that took any amount of thought (2 magnets, 2 cds and a small photo album). The majority of what we received was a few pieces of candy or inexpensive Oriental Trading trinkets suited for children younger than my own. Often the candy was the made in China kind that you buy at the Dollar Store and I will not let my children eat. I agree that a gift is a gift, but I was also taught that a gift should be thoughtful (as opposed to expensive). Much of what we received was not worth paying the luggage fees to fly home. Maybe my expectations were too high. I am sure some will think me ungrateful, but I feel the need to be honest. People need to know the possibilities and that all people do not participate with the same thought or effort as others.

For us it makes more sense for me to bring our extender and hang it up and take the money I previously spent on gifts for others and use it to buy my kids treats for each day to slip in. That way, I will know that my money will be spent on things that will be used and not wasted.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:04 AM   #27
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Thank you everyone for your perspectives on FE's. Still thinking if I would like to join an FE for a July cruise.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:26 AM   #28
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Oh no! When did the FE get so organized! We have one & used it on our last disney cruise last year...all I did was bring little candies, magnets & pirate stuff to stick in the other FEs hanging in our hall. Should I not be doing this? My guys got little treats too & signed stuff from Mickey & we weren't formally signed up ...
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:33 AM   #29
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Fish Extender

Oh no! When did the FE get so organized! We have one & used it on our last disney cruise last year...all I did was bring little candies, magnets & pirate stuff to stick in the other FEs hanging in our hall. Should I not be doing this? My guys got little treats too & signed stuff from Mickey & we weren't formally signed up ...
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:21 AM   #30
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I use the FEs to organize a "Local Candy Exchange" and I keep the groups to 8-12 participants, but we have had fewer than 8, it just depends. DH & I enjoy this fun and camaraderie!

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