How much do people REALLY spend on fish extender gifts?

Billinaz

Moving within sight of Port Canaveral!
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
I purchased Disney pez dispensers or beach balls for our gifts. I then saw a comment on our fish extender Facebook post that no one wants dollar store items and people should be spending $10 to $30 per cabin. I am now debating going out and either doing Sundae kits or local hot fudge for each cabin because I don’t want to be cheap. I didn’t plan to be spending hundreds of dollars on this though and am wondering if this is one rogue person.

So really, what kind of gifts do you typically get? Am I being too cheap? What should I plan to spend?

Ignore that narcissistic demand from those on AK's group lists. Dollar store stuff is fine. I have found many people put real thought and craftiness into their FE stuff. The thoughtfulness is amazing.

Dont worry about a dollar limit or amount. Whatever YOU choose is fine.
 

Billinaz

Moving within sight of Port Canaveral!
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
It is absurd that they want to have a $$ minimum. I can't tell you how much we have actually spent, because largely our FE gifts are homemade. Like DW made everyone some little purses out of Disney cloth one year. It didn't take that much effort - the embroidery machine did most of the work. I think we had to cut the cloth, select the template and hit "go". :rotfl2:In any event, I can't tell you how much those fat quarters that we purchased years ago that have been sitting in her drawer of "fat quarters that may fit a project some day" which actually did. She literally has DRAWERS of those. The buttons? Yeah, those were inventory - probably cost a few pennies. The thread was immeasurably small.

Another year we made ornaments. They were made from small clay flower pots - $.49 each, some cloth we cut out for the ears, some paint... a string. The total cost of the paint per item was probably in the $0.01 range. Don't ask me how much the felt and string cost. Altogether, they probably cost under a dollar. However, it took us MANY hours to make (not including the time spent cleaning out my airbrush).

You're going to tell me those gifts aren't good enough? I have a few choice words for where you can put 'em.

That is the demand of the admin of the Junkies FB page. Exactly what led to an Anti Junkies FB page.
 

Davistigers

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
I vote for inexpensive, hopefully creative but not mandatory, and above all...thoughtful. If a group I was in ever set a price minimum I would bail very fast. One year I wrote and printed up a cute poem with little icons throughout it about cruising and what small items you might need like band-aids, safety pins, stain remover wipe, Tums, a highlighter, etc. and included those items in a little Ziploc bag with the poem rolled up into a scroll with a ribbon. I'm not sure if anyone really appreciated it, but I had fund doing it and it was maybe $5 per cabin.

I'm in a group for an upcoming April cruise and it is broken down into a few smaller groups, with cruisers ages and favorite characters, but no required spend amount stated. It's nice to have the personal information if needed, but not a mandate for what gift to provide.
 
  • mousefan73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2012
    In the beginning, I don’t think FE was about the gifts. It was about the fun of cruising, passing the wait time before the cruise planning your gifts, making your Fish Extender, people giving little candy or items from their hometowns, the excitement checking your FE onboard, the fun of secretly sprinkling Pixie Dust to your fellow cruisers. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t expensive character or age specific gifts, it wasn’t stressful “is my gift good enough”, it wasn’t elaborate embroidered Fish Extenders - it was just a way to share the joy of the Disney Cruise experience with others. For us, it doesn’t feel that way anymore, so we no longer participate.

    For me it is still that way and that is why I do it. We did it for the first time and looooved it.. we got so many cool and unique gifts. I spend about 10-20 dollars per cabin. For me I learned how to craft.. I spend the months before a cruise now and enjoy making stuff. I tend to make bag charms, key chains and this year wine charms... I am into the beading and found some cool disney stuff... For teens I found some glow in the dark nail polish ( was a halloween cruise).

    I can see how some might be put off if gifts are obvious let's go to the dollar store and buy crap, just so we have stuff to give.. Granted I did buy those dollar disne compressed handtowels there. but I made gift kits for little kids.. a dollar store towel, a pair of socks and any other character stuff... maybe 4 dollars a kids... Now it's just me but I would be embarassed to give this dollar store compressed towel as a cabin gift. I guess some have done this.

    FE doesnt have to be a forturne.. We joined 3 groups and I maybe spent 150-200 for everything. But this was money well invested.. I was so stressed months before at work, I really enjoyed my late evenings alone when all were in bed, with a glass of red wine and me beading my gifts.. that was worth the money alone.

    For me the cost of the gift is less important than the creative thought.. I would take any hand-made thing, even if not perfert and worth a few cents.. over anything. a dollar store gift that was obviously bought with no thought . Not so much the dollar value but that fact it took no thought. and it is a cheap way out. I mean if you can afford a disney cruise.. putting a thought into is to make it more special not asking much... so a dollar store tumbler is ok. but make some effort to personalize it. its not about the money but the thought

    planning my FE also let's me splurge on sale items.. 3 lucky boys bot a darth vadar robe.. regular 20 dollars, I got on clearance for 5 bucks.... I enjoy keeping my eyes open for snatching these deals... i was at primark and saw minnie shaped nail files.. I grab a stack for the ladies in my groups.
     
    Last edited:

    naynay922

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2019
    For me it is still that way and that is why I do it. We did it for the first time and looooved it.. we got so many cool and unique gifts. I spend about 10-20 dollars per cabin. For me I learned how to craft.. I spend the months before a cruise now and enjoy making stuff. I tend to make bag charms, key chains and this year wine charms... I am into the beading and found some cool disney stuff... For teens I found some glow in the dark nail polish ( was a halloween cruise).

    I can see how some might be put off if gifts are obvious let's go to the dollar store and buy crap, just so we have stuff to give.. Granted I did buy those dollar disne compressed handtowels there. but I made gift kits for little kids.. a dollar store towel, a pair of socks and any other character stuff... maybe 4 dollars a kids... Now it's just me but I would be embarassed to give this dollar store compressed towel as a cabin gift. I guess some have done this.

    FE doesnt have to be a forturne.. We joined 3 groups and I maybe spent 150-200 for everything. But this was money well invested.. I was so stressed months before at work, I really enjoyed my late evenings alone when all were in bed, with a glass of red wine and me beading my gifts.. that was worth the money alone.

    For me the cost of the gift is less important than the creative thought.. I would take any hand-made thing, even if not perfert and worth a few cents.. over anything. a dollar store gift that was obviously bought with no thought . Not so much the dollar value but that fact it took no thought. and it is a cheap way out. I mean if you can afford a disney cruise.. putting a thought into is to make it more special not asking much... so a dollar store tumbler is ok. but make some effort to personalize it. its not about the money but the thought

    planning my FE also let's me splurge on sale items.. 3 lucky boys bot a darth vadar robe.. regular 20 dollars, I got on clearance for 5 bucks.... I enjoy keeping my eyes open for snatching these deals... i was at primark and saw minnie shaped nail files.. I grab a stack for the ladies in my groups.
    I love this perspective! I've signed up to participate in my first one, and these are the exact reasons why.
     

    mousefan73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2012
    I love this perspective! I've signed up to participate in my first one, and these are the exact reasons why.
    I figure the cruise is a fortune and over before you know it. The money I spend on FE extends the joy of the cruise. The year before planning, thinking, making. And the best is when we get home going through our gifts. It’s like Christmas again and dampens the sadness of our cruise being over
     

    DCLCrazy64622

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2017
    I purchased Disney pez dispensers or beach balls for our gifts. I then saw a comment on our fish extender Facebook post that no one wants dollar store items and people should be spending $10 to $30 per cabin. I am now debating going out and either doing Sundae kits or local hot fudge for each cabin because I don’t want to be cheap. I didn’t plan to be spending hundreds of dollars on this though and am wondering if this is one rogue person.

    So really, what kind of gifts do you typically get? Am I being too cheap? What should I plan to spend?
    $30 per cabin is insane! They’re missing the entire point of the exchange if they think that. I would stick with the beach ball and be done with it.
     
  • FigmentSpark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2016
    Question - can one person in a cabin participate, but not the other? I think my sister would love this. I think my teen sons would think it was weird.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    I purchased Disney pez dispensers or beach balls for our gifts. I then saw a comment on our fish extender Facebook post that no one wants dollar store items and people should be spending $10 to $30 per cabin. I am now debating going out and either doing Sundae kits or local hot fudge for each cabin because I don’t want to be cheap. I didn’t plan to be spending hundreds of dollars on this though and am wondering if this is one rogue person.

    So really, what kind of gifts do you typically get? Am I being too cheap? What should I plan to spend?
    Sounds like you have the person who once bragged on here that she kept a spreadsheet of what she got and from whom and then only gave gifts to those she deemed worthy in there.

    Made me glad I never had a desire to do it.
     
  • Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    I did this on our 4 day cruise and honestly I found it very stressful

    First trying to find a "good" thing to give everyone, how to keep it reasonable without looking cheap and it's for a bunch of strangers so I don't know what they like. I feel like I ended up putting a lot of time, effort and worry into something that ended up feeling like a big expensive burden.

    Also it was a bit of a burden on me as a single mom traveling with my son alone to be hooked up with all of these cabins of 4, I did not realize when I signed up that with 10 in the group almost every other one would have 4 people and i'd be buying more like 40 gifts than 10. A few were 4 adults traveling together too, how do you figure out what to give 4 adults traveling together? the adult gifts were more difficult and costly than the kid gifts.

    On the shorter cruise I found that we were so busy with other activities that I ended up dragging my son around the ship dead tired at midnight the second to last night feeling under the gun to deliver all this stuff.

    We ended up with a lot of junk I ended up pitching... cheap plastic stuff that broke quickly and things that I would just never use in a million years. I kept a few things like a hand painted picture frame and handmade tile posters with park maps decoupaged on them and some gifts for my son left for him by people we actually got to know before the cruise, but overall I feel like I put out WAY more than I got back, and I wonder how many other people felt that way as they pitched the handmade disney themed soaps I so carefully picked out for perfect strangers without even knowing if they like that sort of a thing.

    My son of course LOVED returning to the stateroom and finding surprises.

    We have the FE now and honestly I would not mind participating in a kid-only one where little treats for the kids no more than $5 each are left, I figure I'm looking at $100 max if there are 2 kids per stateroom for that. But I'm a single mom on a budget who works a ton of hours and I really wished I hadn't gotten involved in this whole thing as I did not really think it through. I wish I had that few hundred dollars I spent on all of those gifts to go toward something we both would have enjoyed more! It really adds up quickly.
     
    Last edited:

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    I did this on our 4 day cruise and honestly I found it very stressful

    First trying to find a "good" thing to give everyone, how to keep it reasonable without looking cheap and it's for a bunch of strangers so I don't know what they like. I feel like I ended up putting a lot of time, effort and worry into something that ended up feeling like a bit expensive burden.

    Also it was a bit of a burden on me as a single mom traveling with my son alone to be hooked up with all of these cabins of 4, I did not realize when I signed up that with 10 in the group almost every other one would have 4 people and i'd be buying more like 40 gifts than 10.

    On the shorter cruise I found that we were so busy with other activities that I ended up dragging my son around the ship dead tired at midnight the second to last night feeling under the gun to deliver all this stuff.

    We ended up with a lot of junk I ended up pitching... cheap plastic stuff that broke quickly and things that I would just never use in a million years. I kept a few things like a hand painted picture frame and handmade tile posters with park maps decoupaged on them and some gifts for my son left for him by people we actually got to know before the cruise, but overall I feel like I put out WAY more than I put in and I wonder how many other people felt that way as they pitched the handmade disney themed soaps I so carefully picked out for perfect strangers without even knowing if they like that sort of a thing.

    My son of course LOVED returning to the stateroom and finding surprises.

    We have the FE now and honestly I would not mind participating in a kid-only one where little treats for the kids no more than $5 each are left, I figure I'm looking at $100 max if there are 2 kids per stateroom for that. But I'm a single mom on a budget who works a ton of hours and I really wished I hadn't gotten involved in this whole thing as I did not really think it through. I wish I had that few hundred dollars I spent on all of those gifts to go toward something we both would have enjoyed more! It really adds up quickly.
    You could eschew the group thing and just get some presents for your son and leave them for him to find when he returns to the cabin. Keep him AND you happy.
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    You could eschew the group thing and just get some presents for your son and leave them for him to find when he returns to the cabin. Keep him AND you happy.
    haha that is an awesome idea, since he will have a little freedom in the clubs too and we won't be together all the time.

    I know I sound like a big grinch but I was a little surprised at the number of 4-adult rooms I was matched with and how much everything added up to. But we do have the FE thingie and I'm sure the kiddo would love coming back to a surprise even from mom.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    haha that is an awesome idea, since he will have a little freedom in the clubs too and we won't be together all the time.

    I know I sound like a big grinch but I was a little surprised at the number of 4-adult rooms I was matched with and how much everything added up to. But we do have the FE thingie and I'm sure the kiddo would love coming back to a surprise even from mom.
    And the magic is, you would not even have to say it was from mom!
     

    Van Houten

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2012
    And the magic is, you would not even have to say it was from mom!
    We took this path once, as we booked late and FE groups were already closed. The challenge was, those magical presents were not nearly as random or unique as real FE gifts.
     

    eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    If you happen to be in my FE group do not read!!

    I just thought I would report back, as my gifts are finished. For 10 cabins I spent a total of right at $100, so about $10 per cabin. I did ice cream kits. I had cups printed with ship and sail date, bought color changing spoons and straws, and fun size candies to make your own Blizzard DQ style.
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    If you happen to be in my FE group do not read!!

    I just thought I would report back, as my gifts are finished. For 10 cabins I spent a total of right at $100, so about $10 per cabin. I did ice cream kits. I had cups printed with ship and sail date, bought color changing spoons and straws, and fun size candies to make your own Blizzard DQ style.
    OMG that is such an awesome idea. I am totally going to do this as a surprise gift for my son. He LOVES blizzards. Thanks for sharing!
     

    KipperBun

    Signature Plus DLR passholder and Gold CC member
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2011
    Ok this is making me a little paranoid. I was the organizer for two FE exchanges (one on an Alaska cruise, another a Mexico cruise) but I do hope I didn’t make it uncomfortable for people. I always broke the participants into groups of 10 cabins. And I did try to stress that it wasn’t the price tag (no minimum price was listed) but the thought and care that went into the gift but there were questions in the entry form about favorite characters and any additional notes they wanted to share (like celebrations or allergies) - these weren’t required, though. Was that too much?
    Personally, I am a crafter at heart and the majority of my gifts are handmade. On my last cruise, I gave crochet Mickey head coasters for each member of the family, a disney picture book for the kids to share (if there were any), and a copy of the Halloween Tree book for each cabin (it was a Halloween cruise). I was fortunate to find the books on sale and the yarn came from my stash so it didn’t end up costing all that much.
     

    thebwit

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2010
    I’m happy with pretty much anything that is given. I don’t expect you to go crazy with your gifts. My wife and I hand make all of our gifts and they are based on favorite characters that people list. Cost of materials for our gifts is probably max of $3/cabin but then factor in our time and well it’s up there. We’ve even seen some variations of our gifts that we make selling for as much as $20 (absurd).

    With all that said, the ONLY gifts I frown upon are ones that are clearly company swag or product samples for the company you rep.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News


    Book your Disney Cruise through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive a Shipboard Credit and an Exclusive Gift Basket!



    CASTAWAY CAY PHOTOS

    DECK PLANS


    STATEROOMS


    ITINERARIES




    Top