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Helpful Tips on Making (and Decorating) Disney Cruise Line Fish Extenders (FE's)

Updated on March 16, 2020
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I have been freelance writing ever since elementary school. My passions include music, age-appropriate dance, travel, and more.

If you have taken a cruise with Disney Cruise Line before, you might have noticed talks and photos of fish extenders (FE's) on the Internet in recent times. (Ditto for encountering them in person on your last cruise and even hanging one besides your stateroom.)

For those who need to know what an FE is, it's a hanging organizer that is to be hung from the metal fish, starfish, or seahorse ornament (depending on ship) besides your stateroom. Guests participating in it leave small gifts to remind others about their magical vacations. Sometimes Crew Members also leave treats and trinkets

Are you doing an FE exchange on your Disney Cruise? Here are some helpful tips on how to make yours stand out!

This is what my FE looks like. I am particularly proud of the bead embroidery of Mickey's head.
This is what my FE looks like. I am particularly proud of the bead embroidery of Mickey's head.

It Doesn't Have to Have Disney Characters!

While many people would festoon their FE's with their favorite characters, very few would settle for just color-blocking, solid colors, or even patterns that don't include them. That's OK! You really don't have to iron on a Mickey applique to make it look great. A hanging organizer with pockets from the store works great for a very quick FE!

If using a pocket organizer like this one, remove the hook. Then hot glue a dowel and tie both ends of a long piece of string securely.
If using a pocket organizer like this one, remove the hook. Then hot glue a dowel and tie both ends of a long piece of string securely. | Source

You Can Be as Plain or Fancy as You Want

No, seriously - you can leave your FE as is (especially if you have bought a hanging organizer) or you can decorate it with whatever you choose. You can add some cool fabric notions, embroider it, or bling it whatever you like! Choose items that not only fit your budget, but also that makes it unique.

Here Are MORE Examples of FE's (and Stateroom Doors)!

You Can Use ANY Character you Want

You are probably familiar with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Belle, and other characters roaming about the ship and Castaway Cay. Experiment with others who you don't see on the ship as well as those who don't have a meetable Character component.

For instance, you don't see Tigger on the ship, but you do see him at the Disneylands of the world, at Walt Disney World, or even at your local mall. Don't hesitate to make a Tigger-themed FE. You can use a single character to theme it or you can use your family's favorite Characters in separate pockets.

Did you participate in an FE exchange on your Disney cruise?

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Your Limit is Your Imagination (as Well as Your Budget)

Remember - you got an imagination, so why not use it to make an FE one-of-a-kind. Many auction sites sell FE's that you can request to be personalized, even for an extra charge.

You might have an old pillowcase or even worn-out Disney shirts lying around in your house. Cut them into pockets and one long strip and sew them together. If you can find old dance recital shirts that are Disney-themed, for instance, use them to your advantage! Alternatively, use iron-on bonding or hot glue.

You can even use a hanging shoe organizer with pockets as an FE. Just cut a row of vertically lined pockets. You can decorate them as you please! Remember, it doesn't have to be Disney-themed. Decorate them according to your own taste and imagination.

Please Note

  • The niche wall besides your stateroom (where the fish hangs) is about 9 inches wide. I suggest cutting the long piece of fabric to 5-6.5 inches in width for a little room. The FE needs to hang high enough so it won't be caught on the stateroom door when you open it.
  • If necessary, secure the FE with a zip tie. That way your FE won't get stolen and it will be secure.
  • If buying one from auction sites, ask the seller to personalize it. You can have them do just initials if you want to protect your identity.
  • If making your own, sign up for an FE exchange for your cruise. Do this months in advance in order to make the FE and gifts.
  • It's imperative to sign for a cruise meet that corresponds to your cruise date and the corresponding FE exchange sign-up form. If you don't, you'll end up with empty FE pockets. It will be all that work for naught.
  • Most importantly, when making you very own FE, have fun!


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