Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Questions to ask your Fish Extender Group

The basics

A Fish Extender Group is a gift exchange on a Disney Cruise Ship. 
Outside of each stateroom on Disney's ships, there's a small decorative fish that opens up to reveal a mini mailbox where the crew can leave you notices for things like your spa treatments or dinner reservations at Remy or Palo. Gift exchange fans have started hanging Fish Extenders (or "FEs", for short) from the fish in order to provide more space for gifts to be left at their room. You can find tutorials on how to sew your own FE or you can order from any number of Etsy stores. 
Just make sure you order early!

This is my favorite tutorial because Margaret tells you 
how to adjust to add more pockets as needed. 
I'm not going to give you a full FE tutorial because she did a great job 
with hers and I'd rather cover questions for your group! 

(Check out her YouTube channel for more tutorials)

Your Fish Extender Group is established before you leave home for your cruise. 
These groups are found on multiple websites: DisBoards, PassPorter, and Facebook Groups that are set up specifically for your sailing date are good places to look. 

Why would you want to participate in a FE?

My kids LOVED doing Fish Extenders during our last Disney Cruise. There are a few times when they may finish dinner early or want to roam about the ship. Delivering Fish Extender gifts is a great use of that time. Every time we came back to our stateroom, the kids eagerly checked the FE to see if they had received any new surprises. We received some pretty fun gifts, but it was just as much fun to prepare the gifts that we delivered. 

If you're the one in charge of planning your Fish Extender Group, 
it can be helpful to ask a few questions.

1. Name/Username 
Some people may not be comfortable giving out their full name, but I encourage it. 
You're goal is to get to know each other. If someone has a hankering to embroider a beautiful pillowcase with our last name on it for us, I'm not going to get in their way! 
I like to include the first names of each person in the stateroom, too.

2. Stateroom number
This seems obvious, but it can be easy to forget. 
Your group needs to know where to deliver their gifts! 
It's nice to include the number of guests in each stateroom, too.

3. Adult or child?
Asking someone's age isn't always the classiest of conversation moves, but it makes sense to know if each person in a stateroom is an adult or if they are a child. If they are a child, it's nice to know their age, too. Our son was 7 months old when we last cruised. Since we disclosed this to our FE group, he didn't receive hard candies or jewelry. He received some great baby gifts that he loved! I'm pretty sure the little Jake & the Neverland Pirates rattle was his favorite. 

4. Allergies
It's become common knowledge that the Disney Cruise ships have soft serve ice cream, 
but few (if any) toppings for said ice cream. 
Knowing if your gift recipients have allergies is a good idea before 
you drop a bag of sprinkles, crushed nuts, and M&Ms into their FE! 

Now that you've covered the basics, 
here are some additional questions that can help promote creativity without ruining anyone's surprise! 

Let your group know that they don't have to answer the rest of the questions, 
but that it's encouraged. 

5. Favorite character
Many FE gifts are handmade. This means that even characters that you can't find in the Disney Store can show up in your FE! Let your group know what you like. 

6. Shoe size 
People make some very cute flip flops.
If you're into flip flops, answer the question.
If you're not, leave it blank!

7. Pin collector?
I am a pin collector.
I have an addiction.
There are huge bags full of "trader" pins in my basement. 
There's a very real chance that I've got a rare pin that I don't care about
and if I know you're a pin collector and you've listed your favorite character, 
I'll leave it in your Fish Extender. 
I gave a full set of Hidden Mickey Pirates of the Caribbean pins to a couple in our group last time.

8. Any public contact you want to share
If people want to share their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog...
Give them a space to do it!
Giving the group the opportunity to get to know one another better
means that they'll be better equipped to give personal, meaningful gifts.

Have you been on a Disney Cruise?
If you've done a FE before, what was your favorite gift?
Tell us in the comments.

I'm going to share one more video because

Check out her YouTube Channel: orlandox33

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