We are going to be taking our third Disney cruise this summer. In 2007 we set sail on the Wonder, in 2009 we went on the Magic, and now in 2011 we are going on the Dream. The one in all the commercials they are running right now.
This is the first year that I've become active in one particular online-Disney nut community. On the message boards, there are threads for each of the sailings, so you can find some other people on your cruise for some extra friendly fun.
One thing this group of folks does is "Fish Extenders"
What the heck is a fish extender? Well, first I will give you a visual:
The door of our stateroom in 2009. See the metal fish that is to the left? THAT would be the FISH in "Fish Extender." Crew members usually leave our navigators sticking up in them, other little notes and invitations, etc.
This thing would be our "Extender." It' a pocket holder thing that you hang from your fishy. Some people make theirs much more simple than this, some people order cute embroidered ones from people that are much fancier than this. I wanted to try to make mine all on my own, so I whipped out my moms old Kenmore sewing machine and went to town. I still have to get the dowel and ribbon thru the top so we can actually hang it.
Here's a pic of one I found online. Lots of people decorate their doors with magnets too. I've done a few magnets, but not anything major. We Disney people are a little crazy though, I will admit. But it's a good crazy :)
Now you know what a "Fish Extender" physically is. What the heck do you do with it? Well, within our "Cruise Meet Thread", where people chime in and say "Hey I'm on this sailing too!" etc etc, we put together a group of those who want to participate in the FE. Apparently this has been going on for years. You sign up to participate, thereby saying that you will be hanging an extender outside your room, and that you will Love to go put little gifty things in everyone elses. The number of cabins participating varies greatly. I know some sailings have had just a dozen cabins involved in the FE....but our very active group has 47 cabins participating! So that means we take a little gifty thing for 47 cabins, and sometime during our cruise, we play basically "secret santa" to everyone. The word on the street is that it is a lot of fun to come back and find things in your mailbox.
If you know me, I'm all about little gifts and fun stuff like that. You decide as a group if you are just doing one delivery, or daily deliveries (we're doing one) and what the day your deliveries are (ours is whenever). You decide as a giver if you want to give one thing for the whole cabin or something for each person. We get a little list that says the participants cabin number, and the name/sex/age of those there. You can buy stuff, make stuff...give cruise/disney stuff, pretty much whatever.
I wanted to do the most for my buck.... I loved the challenge of seeing how fabulous I could make the gifts without breaking the budget. And my ideas were all "individual based" so that's what I did.
The first thing I came across were these little purse compacts at this random weird store here in town for TEN CENTS EACH. Hello cheapness! I thought they'd be a great little addition for the women. I glued little cardstock quotes inside that say "It is nice to be beautiful but it is even more beautiful to be nice" and signed it with my message board name.
Then I had an idea to make the women necklaces. I took those glass marble things that are flat on one side (found in the floral department), glued pictures on the back (of our ship or of the water-feature at the private island), added the loopy-things (called a bail) and got the ribbon necklaces from a vendor on etsy for about 15 cents each. Total necklace cost- about 35 cents.
For the guys, I found little nail clippers at the same random weird store for twenty cents each. I took some of the glass marble things and instead of turning theirs into necklaces, I made them into magnets.
I didn't really get too creative with the kids' stuff. I ordered shovels for the under-age-10 set from ebay for about 25 cents each. We have two days at Castaway Cay, and not everyone remembers to pack sand toys. I added these little labels to them:
I found triple packs of those squishy water-ball things in the target dollar section for the 10 and older crowd. So their gift was about 30 cents each.
All in all to give gifts to 47 cabins and spread some pixie dust, the cost wasn't bad. I spread it out over about two or three months, so I didn't really feel it on our "bottom line" at all. I've got them packed compactly into containers to go in the suitcase. I think I'll take one of those reusable shopping bags, fill it up with some loot, and take my list around for the deliveries. I'll get to cabin 9521 and see that from my list that I need to put in one male, one female, and one teen gift. Drop and go...!
I'm so excited for the trip. For so many reasons. But making some friends before the sailing is certainly adding a new dimension to it that social ol' me is so loving!
And what do you get out of the deal? Well, you'll get a very long recap post-cruise about all the details! Unfortunately, since I still have some waiting to do for the cruise, you have even more waiting to do for the recap!