The History of Fish Extender Exchanges

BadPinkTink

Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
The original Fish Extender was created on the May 2005 Westbound Panama Canal cruise, by @EpcotKilterFan here on Disboards.

She thought it would be a fun thing to do with people she had been getting to know on her cruise meets thread. She found the actual pouches in her local store and gave them as gifts to her cruise meet group.

The name Fish Extender comes from the metal Fish or Star Fish located outside each stateroom. These are used by Disney Cruise Line Crew to leave paper communications for the passengers in the stateroom such as excursion tickets.

@EpcotKilterFan thought it would a fun idea to hang the pouches she found off the the metal fish, extending, it so that everyone in her cruise meets group had somewhere to put the gifts they were giving.

After the cruise they posted on Disboards and people loved the idea and decided to do the same for their cruise.

Its like a secret Santa exchange. The exchange organiser will divide people who sign up into groups. You give a small gift to the each of the people / cabins in your group.

It is just meant to be a small fun thing to do, but over the years , especially on other websites it has turned into something which is more and more extravagant and everyone tries to out do each other.

Also there is no "official" Fish Extender Group or organiser. Anyone can organise a Fish Extender exchange with their cruisemates.

Disney Cruise Line does not organise or have anything to do with the Fish Extender Exchanges.

The Fish Extender Exchange began long before other websites and travel agents decided to take over the idea and they still continue on Disboards, in the cruise meet section, their original home.

Also links and directing people to join cruise meet groups on other websites are banned on Disboards. This is because travel agents were using the cruise meet groups and Fish Extender signups here on Disboards to solicit for business. People were being put on travel agent mailing lists without their knowledge.

Now that 2020 is the year of change , lets bring Fish Extender Exchanges back to their original home. All of us should join our cruise meets thread here on Disboards and make the effort to keep it active and if you meet people from your cruise on other websites, get them to join on here instead.
 

BadPinkTink

Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
How To Make a Fish Extender

Thanks to @Disgirl83 originally posted in this thread https://www.disboards.com/threads/fish-extenders.1219607/page-32#post-30302583

Supplies:

2 yards of fabric (two colors , one yard each)
Double fold bias tape
Dowell Rod
Iron-On Patches
1 Package of Iron-On Interfacing
1 Package of Heat-n-Bond No Sew Ultra Hold 7/8 in. hem
1 Package of Heat-n-Bond No Sew 1 Yard
Various Colors of Ribbon

1. Cut fabric to be used as the body of the FE to be 8 in. wide by 58 in. in length. When folded the FE will be 29 in. in length.
2. Cut fabric for the three pockets, cut each pocket 11 in. wide by 12 in. in length. When folded each pocked will be 6 in. in length.
3. On the inside of the FE body piece and each pocket iron on the interfacing. Once cooled completely I ironed on the sheet of Heat-n-Bond cut 8 in. by 29 in. to the inside of the body of the FE.
4. On each of the 3 folded pockets I made pleats so that the pockets were 2 in.-pleat-4 in.-pleat 2 in. To secure the pleats I used the Heat-n-Bond Ultrahold hem. This was done on the cut side so that the top edge would be folded and clean.
5. Next I used the heat-n-bond hem to add 8 in. strips of the double fold bias tape to the bottom of each pocket.
6. Next I lined up the pockets on the body of the FE starting 8 in. from the top and then about 1 in. apart. I market the spots with a pencil and secured the bottom and sides of the pockets using the heat-n-bond hem.
7. Once all cooled. I used the double fold bias tape for the perimeter of the body of the FE which again was secured using the iron on hem.
8. Once cooled I ironed on the patches to each of the pockets.
9. I then folded down the top of the FE about 2 inches and secured to the back of the FE by the iron-on hem creating a little opening to insert the dowel rod.
10. Using the multicolored ribbon I made it long enough so that the FE would hang approximately 7-8 in. from a hanger.
11. For our names I bough iron-on computer paper and printed the names on the computer. Then I cut and surrounded the paper with double fold bias tape attached using the iron-on hem. Finally I ironed on the name piece.

Everything I used I bought from either Wal-Mart, Michaels, or Joann's Fabrics.
 

JM23457

Registered
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Fish Extender groups are something we really enjoy participating in. Delivering gifts is a nice way to get a feel for the ship, and fun for kids. Having a gift waiting for you when you get back to your stateroom is a nice perk that makes the cruise feel just a little more special. I don't think it matters which website the FE group is based at; it's fun regardless. Since I'm not the crafty type, I bought our Fish Extender on Etsy, and get most of our FE gifts there, too.
 
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Snowwhyt

I feel the Magic with every visit ❤️
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Sure would be nice if this came back here. The cruise information here is more than any other site. And helpful on short notice too!
 

BadPinkTink

Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Sure would be nice if this came back here. The cruise information here is more than any other site. And helpful on short notice too!
All it would take is a little bit of initiative and effort. The cruise meet threads for all the cruises are still here. People just need to get active HERE on their cruise meets threads and if needs be, tell people on other websites to join HERE.
 

nekonekoneko

(=^・^=)
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
I found a group for my upcoming cruise on another platform, and they already have FE sign ups going. Here, the cruise doesn't even have a page set up, yet. I don't want to tell them to come here, as much as I'm not allowed to tell the people here to go there. Not all of them have signups for DISBoards, either.

That's going to cause some crazy fragmentation, especially with FE groups.
 

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  • PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    I found a group for my upcoming cruise on another platform, and they already have FE sign ups going. Here, the cruise doesn't even have a page set up, yet. I don't want to tell them to come here, as much as I'm not allowed to tell the people here to go there. Not all of them have signups for DISBoards, either.

    That's going to cause some crazy fragmentation, especially with FE groups.
    Whether a thread is started for any given cruise depends on whether someone wants to start one. They are not set up by the board admins.

    One thing newbies seem to think is that all FE groups/cruise meet ups/roll calls are all the same thing, regardless of where they find them. It does take a little education to figure out that a DISboards cruise meet thread group is a different group than another site's group.

    It's totally possible to belong to more than one group (on different sites) for the same cruise. I've done that. I was on two different sites for the same cruise once. There were people that were on one site or the other, as well as people (like me) who were on both.

    We used to have a "signal" for those of us on DISboards - a lime green Mickey head. So we could find each other easily on trips. But that's all changed now. I was on a cruise once (participating in a DISboards cruise meet group) and saw several people wearing a lime green Mickey head.
    502740
    I approached them and asked who they were "on the DIS". All I got was a blank stare. When I asked about the Mickey head I was told "Our group leader sent the image to everyone to wear onboard." Yes, it was "some other site".
     

    BadPinkTink

    Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    @PrincessShmoo Thanks for the LGMH image, thats a great one. The LGMH actaully started on the Disneyland section of Disboards, as Lime Green is the section colour, go take a look at the main forum list :)

    But like so much which started on Disboards, other travel agents and groups take the ideas and use them
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    @PrincessShmoo Thanks for the LGMH image, thats a great one. The LGMH actaully started on the Disneyland section of Disboards, as Lime Green is the section colour, go take a look at the main forum list :)

    But like so much which started on Disboards, other travel agents and groups take the ideas and use them
    Well, that's one of several I have, but it's the one that other group was using on the cruise I mentioned.

    Aside: on my computer the heading for the Disneyland forum is dark green.
     
  • TestingH2O

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2014
    In 2014, the Dis banned using Google Docs to organize FE.

    The use of Google Docs/Sheets/Forms to organize information is helpful for both cruisers and organizers. While their reasoning might have been sound, it still caused an almost immediate decrease in active meet threads. In addition, limiting cruise discussions to one thread is better for this type of forum overall, but isn’t helpful for the actual members of a cruise. Who wants to scroll through hundreds of replies that are a mix of FE sign ups, excursion questions, port transportation, etc? That’s why people make new posts on this forum rather than replying to the COVID post with a question about Atlantis.

    Different tools are good for different things. Clearly the owners of the forum must know that there is an untapped audience who understands this. Why else would they now be increasing their FB presence with DCL Fan?

    People will continue to bemoan “the good old days” when the meet threads were the only way to meet people, but unless regulations change I don’t see the meet threads returning to what they were. Even if the regulations do change, I don’t know that the cat can realistically be put back in the bag.
     

    BadPinkTink

    Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    How To Organise A Fish Extender Exchange Without Using Google Docs

    In this age of GDPR and data privacy its not really a good idea to collect email addresses. There are legal obligations for those who collect email addresses, which is classed as Email Marketing.

    To organise a Fish Extender Exchange here on Disboards, you just need to use an Excel spreedsheet.
    In your cruise meetup thread, ask people to send you a PM with the following information
    1. Stateroom
    2. Family Last Name
    3. Room Occupants (include age at time of sailing for kids) Gender specification for adults or kids is optional
    4. Celebrations
    5. Allergies/Concerns
    6. Favourite Characters
    Put this information into a spreedsheet which you save on your laptop / computer.
    Then when you have everyone signed up, you divide everyone into groups and send everyone the information by PM.

    The Fish Extender Exchange can be as fun and simple as you make it. Many people prefer small groups of 5 staterooms. Many people prefer putting a cap of $10 or $20 per stateroom.

    It it just a bit of fun, it does not have to be such a complicated, extravagant event that stress people out months before a cruise.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    Many people prefer putting a cap of $10 or $20 per stateroom.
    All FE groups I've participated in had no monetary requisite. Personally, I prefer the gifts that don't really cost a lot - postcards from giver's local area (sometimes with local recipes on them). Homemade bookmarks (great pre-cruise project for kids). Small, sample sized chap stick. Bandaids.

    Sadly, some FE groups have evolved into "I gave $XX in gifts and got a stupid (whatever) in return" mentality. Some groups also mandated that everyone had to put the giver's name on them, so they could check off a list of who received gifts and didn't give any in return.
     

    BadPinkTink

    Republic of Ireland is not part of UK
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2015
    All FE groups I've participated in had no monetary requisite. Personally, I prefer the gifts that don't really cost a lot - postcards from giver's local area (sometimes with local recipes on them). Homemade bookmarks (great pre-cruise project for kids). Small, sample sized chap stick.

    Sadly, some FE groups have evolved into "I gave $XX in gifts and got a stupid (whatever) in return" mentality. Some groups also mandated that everyone had to put the giver's name on them, so they could check off a list of who received gifts and didn't give any in return.
    This exactly, I have seen a lot of this , and anyone I asked said they loved the idea of capping at $10 or $20 because of this.

    I have also seen many people say is this ok for a gift or is that ok for a gift like the gifts have to be a certain monetary value and be approved , just very wrong.

    There are so many rules out there now, that many feel intimidated and don't want to take part, as they feel they can't afford to buy the type of gifts that people expect. Again very wrong.
     

    kaseyC

    Mom to 3 lovely Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 25, 2002
    Sadly, some FE groups have evolved into "I gave $XX in gifts and got a stupid (whatever) in return" mentality. Some groups also mandated that everyone had to put the giver's name on them, so they could check off a list of who received gifts and didn't give any in return.
    So true. There have been a number of those complaint threads.
     

    I_love_Cruising

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2020
    I prefer the FE organised on the social media site that should not be named.

    People post more personal stuff over there, so I'm more likely to get to know these people. Over here most have random user names, so only the organiser knows what screen name goes to what cabin.

    If I read your link correct, we can't even share a link to the google sign up form used at the other platform.
    I don't like to exclude people, FE should be open to everybody no matter who or where it is organised.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    I prefer the FE organised on the social media site that should not be named.
    ...
    I don't like to exclude people, FE should be open to everybody no matter who or where it is organised.
    Agreed. But it should also be known that FE groups on other sites are NOT DISboards FE groups.

    I've seen lots of instances where someone has started a Cruise Meet thread here on DISboards and then, immediately, someone will post on it says "come on over to XXXXX where the FE is". Not true. A FE is on some other site, but the DISboards FE will be on DISboards.
     
    Last edited:

    disneymagicgirl

    Been there, Done that, Going back!
    Joined
    Dec 13, 2005
    All FE groups I've participated in had no monetary requisite. Personally, I prefer the gifts that don't really cost a lot - postcards from giver's local area (sometimes with local recipes on them). Homemade bookmarks (great pre-cruise project for kids). Small, sample sized chap stick. Bandaids.

    Sadly, some FE groups have evolved into "I gave $XX in gifts and got a stupid (whatever) in return" mentality. Some groups also mandated that everyone had to put the giver's name on them, so they could check off a list of who received gifts and didn't give any in return.
    This is why I stopped participating. It was so fun back when it was on the DIS. Then social media got ahold of it and it became a competition. So the last 2 sailings we went on, I just hung our FE, filled it myself for my kiddos, and had my kiddos pixie dust other FEs around the ship.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    This is why I stopped participating. It was so fun back when it was on the DIS. Then social media got ahold of it and it became a competition. So the last 2 sailings we went on, I just hung our FE, filled it myself for my kiddos, and had my kiddos pixie dust other FEs around the ship.
    Which is a bit more in line with what the original intent was. Magical gifts appearing from ??????? somewhere.
     

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