If you read our introductory piece to fish extenders, you have the basics behind what a fish extender exchange actually is. You might be wondering now, though: “What will I put into others fish extenders?”
When it comes to deciding what you want to put into other people’s fish extenders, creativity is the only limit to your imagination! Some factors you may want to consider when deciding on your extender gift item include:
- Transportability – Remember, you will have more than one stateroom to deliver to!* If you are flying into Florida, you need to be able to fit them into your luggage. Even if you are local, keep in mind that your recipients will have to get their gifts home! During one fish extender exchange we participated in, we were given three personalized pails and shovels for my 3 children (to use on Castaway Cay.) The gift was incredibly kind (and I am sure from someone local), but they made for funny airline carry-ons in the middle of winter. (Please also consider airline restrictions regarding fluids.)
- Size/Weight – While this is somewhat related to transportability, I mention it for another reason. The idea is that you leave your gift INSIDE the fish extender. The extender cannot support heavy objects. Please keep in mind, too, that there is a good chance there will be more than one gift in the extender at any one time. While I have had people leave gifts at the foot of my door, please bear in mind that hallways are very narrow and the housekeeping staff needs to get in and out of your stateroom. Gifts on the floor are a safety hazard–do NOT plan to leave your gift there.
- Personality – One of the goals behind the exchange is to help us get to know one another. Some of the more memorable gifts I have received are ones that helped me know the person exchanging them. Tiny bottles of maple syrup from a family in Vermont, a CD of music from a singer, Live Strong bracelets from a cancer survivor. These are all actual examples of fish extender gifts. Many people (though not all) include a little note explaining their gift.
- Cost – Clearly, the cost of purchasing or creating the extender gifts needs to be considered. While we aim to make sure you are not assigned too many staterooms*, there is a cost associated with obtaining the items. It doesn’t have to be expensive!! My all-time favorite fish extender gift was made from 2 pieces of felt: someone made two Mouse ears and attached a magnet on the back. They included short instructions that asked me to put the circles near my stateroom number, and voila! A hidden Mickey! Those ears have traveled with me on each cruise I have been on since. Simple yet great fun! Other people definitely make use of affordable websites like Oriental Trading to purchase items in bulk. We have received stickers, candy, pins–all of which can be ordered in larger numbers without too much expense.
- Theming – While certainly not something you must consider, some people like to have their gifts themed to a particular day of the cruise. I mentioned earlier the sand pails–those were left at our door the night before Castaway Cay. On pirate night, we have gotten bandanas, face paint, pirate-themed candy, pirate magnets. On the first day of the cruise, we have found noise makers, party hats, and little pom poms in our extender–all for use at the sail-away party.
- The Disney Factor – Since it IS a Disney Cruise, many people like to have their gifts themed to all things Mickey. People have made Disney-themed magnets (your stateroom door is metal and therefore magnetic!), made small Disney ornaments (see Fran’s blog post this week for a great–and affordable–idea!), or created Disney word puzzles.
I could make a list of all the fish extender items I have heard of, but I don’t want to limit your creativity either! Just have fun!
- Please consider signing your gift with your name. I have had fish extender friends include their address, email address, Facebook name… IT’S ALL UP TO YOU…. You could add your name in The Box or in the WDW Radio forums…. You determine how personal (or not) you want to be in the exchange.
- When you register for the exchange (information coming soon), you will provide your family name and number of stateroom occupants. The idea is that you provide ONE gift per STATEROOM. That being said, I have participated in a number of exchanges where people have given gifts according to the number of people in the stateroom. This practice goes above what is asked and is totally up to you! Likewise, I have had people leave additional little gifts for my children. This is NOT required.
- A reminder: As Lou explained in the show, all members of the WDW Radio group WILL be provided with a fish extender courtesy of MEI/Mouse Fan Travel. This extender MUST be hung outside your door in order to receive important updates, notes, and notifications about the group events. You do NOT have to create your own extender to participate in the exchange. Please stay tuned for more information in future blogs.
We are really looking forward to the first WDW Radio Cruise Fish Extender Exchange. We will post information shortly about how to register for the exchange.
Have you ever participated in a fish extender exchange? Please share what kinds of fun, affordable, or unique gifts you received by posting in the comments section below!
*Since this is our first exchange, we are not certain how many people will register to participate. Once registration is closed, we will evaluate the number of registrations and, if necessary, break participants into “groups,” each of which will be responsible for only one part of the stateroom list. Our overriding priority is to make sure people have FUN. This means there should not be so many staterooms that you lose a lot of time delivering them. Additionally, we do not want this to be financially discouraging to anyone.