One of our favorite activities on Disney Cruises is to participate in the Fish Extender Gift Exchange. It’s completely optional and requires sign up with other members of your cruise beforehand. We’ve had lots of fun and our kids get just as excited to drop off gifts for others as to see what has been left for them. Here are some of our favorite ideas – a few we’ve even received ourselves.
Crayon Roll with Crayons and a Small Coloring Book – sometimes we all just need a moment to relax and color. Bonus – the crayon roll can be used again and again after the vacation is long over and will hopefully bring back fun memories each time it’s unwrapped.
Pirate Patches + Glow Sticks – drop these off just before Pirate Night.
Stickers – super simple, but always a hit. What kid doesn’t love stickers? Refer to your Fish Extender sign up sheet for any character favorites to help personalize this gift.
Photo Mat and Sharpie Markers for Autographs – our kids received these as a fish extender gift on our first cruise and loved it. It makes for a fun way to display the autographs and vacation memories when you return home.
Invisible Ink Books – these are great for entertaining during downtime or travel home.
Olaf Snowball Fight – create some white yarn pompoms and package with a cute note explaining they are “snowballs.”
Who Was Walt Disney? book – my son received a copy of this book and loved it.
Small Bucket + Shovel – these are fun for use at Castaway Cay. Our kids each received a small bucket on our first cruise and it brought tons of fun for our littlest. She had the best time filling her bucket with water on the beach at Castaway and playing with it in the sand. We plan to pack these to take with us on our next cruise for more fun.
Hairbows and clips – purchase from a local store or make your own using Disney themed ribbons.
Disney themed Pez Dispensers – while you can buy these on the ship, they are about 4x the price. Order ahead of time and save.
Colorforms Sticker Sets – these are great for quiet play when traveling, waiting at the table for dinner to be served, etc.
Mickey Mouse Mad Libs + a pencil – so fun for older kids to complete and perfect for downtime in the stateroom.
Seashell Collecting Bag – perfect for beach excursions, this will give young explorers a way to stash their loot and leave the sand where it belongs – on the beach.
Wind-up Olaf Walking Toys – these little toys are perfect for Frozen fans and would be cute on an Alaska cruise too.
Personalized Labels + Bag Tag – if you have at least 6 kids in your Fish Extender group, order a birthday party favor pack of labels.
Puzzles – these are always fun and you can find an assortment of sizes (24-100 piece) at the Dollar Tree. They even have smaller ones in cute little tins. These are great for gifting.
For Babies and Toddlers
Disney Themed Soft Book – we gifted one of these books to a baby on our first cruise. My daughter had one when she was little and loved flipping the crinkly pages and chewing on it so I figured it would be a be big hit with other babies.
Sippy Cups – refillable cups are always a plus. Add a decal for quick and fun personalization.
Bib – kids spill repeatedly and an extra bib or two is sure to be a treasured gift on a cruise! Allows the parents another meal before having to head to the laundry room on ship.
Table Mats – these are great for eating out and when dining at the tables on the pool deck. Adhere to table for a clean eating surface for a toddler. Peel away and toss when the meal is over.
Baby Ribbon Blanket – use a Disney print fabric to create a fun gift for the youngest cruisers in your group.
Reusable Snack Bags – these are perfect for storing snack leftovers to feed hungry toddlers with ease or to organize smaller items.
Bath Toys – fun for the tub or even beach play at Castaway Cay. Little boat bath toys would be cute to stick to the cruise theme.
Pack of Diaper Wipes – let’s be honest, there are never enough diaper wipes when you have a little one. Select a package with Disney theming to give it that fun cruise vibe.
Wet Bags – even for parents who don’t cloth diaper these are handy for stashing soiled clothes, wet swimwear, or just using to organize items in a larger beach bag.
Disney Little Golden Book – fun for story time anytime. Parents could also get autographs in it to share with their toddler when they get older.
Magic Washcloths – find these at the dollar store in a variety of fun Disney characters.
Insulated Cups – engrave or add a vinyl decal to personalize.
Card Holder for Mobile Phone – perfect to hold stateroom key when exploring the ship.
Phone Cord Protector – help phone charging cables last longer and add a fun Disney twist with this gift.
Waterproof Phone Case – help keep mobile phones safe with this gift. It’s also a handy way for teens to keep up with their phones while having fun on ship.
Trading Pins – these are fun for all ages and, if you can, try to find a favorite character for the receiver. Tip: just buy a lot of pins off of eBay. Yes, some (all) may be “scrappers” but that is most likely what people are trading anyhow and buying this way will save you money. If you prefer to be sure the pins are real, buy a multipack from Disney to get the best price.
Ear Buds – even if the receiver already packed a pair, a second is always a plus just in case.
Movie Candy – pick up a box or two at the dollar store. These are great for enjoying the movies on ship. While most food is free, the concessions stand at the theater is an added cost so teens and their parents are sure to appreciate this gift.
Scruchies – yes, I’m going to the 90s on this one, but thanks to the new VSCO Girl fad it’s possibly a hit for teen girls. DIY this gift with Disney themed fabric.
Lipgloss – pair a container of EOS with a printable to add “ears” and give this gift a Mickey twist.
Disney themed Lip Smacker – these come in numerous character designs and could be purchased in a multipack to split among fish extenders to help save on cost.
“Lightsaber” Mentos – wrap standard packages of Mentos in colored paper to create the look of a lightsaber.
Cinch Bag – perfect for carrying a few basics around the ship and/or on excursions.
Drink Koozie – keep canned drinks cool and help identify who the drink belongs to at a glance.
Extra Gum – perfect for a quick breath freshen and handy since Disney does not sell gum. Pair with a cute tag wishing the recipient an “Extra Supercalifragilistic Cruise.”
USB Wall Adapter – while the rooms do feature a couple USB plug in spots, an extra adapter can always come in handy in our increasingly techy world.
Mickey Head Bottle Opener – this mouseketool is useful long after the vacation is over and with it’s cute Mickey head is sure to bring back fun memories with each use.
Shot Glass – add a vinyl DCL logo with ship name and cruise dates to personalize.
Key Fob – everyone has keys for homes, cars, offices, etc. Let that everyday item bring back fun vacation memories with the addition of a new key fob.
Multipurpose Tool – the size of a credit card, this little Mouseketool packs a lot of handy helpers in a small space!
Tic Tac Mints – add a cute twist to a standard pack of mints with a fun “Olaf Noses” label.
Disney Themed Tie – would be useful for formal night as well as dinner at Palo or Remy.
Small Flashlight – add a vinyl DCL logo or Mickey Mouse head to this gift idea.
Folding Drink Holder – this handy item is great for taking refillable cups to the drink machines on board and carrying multiple back to your family’s stateroom or lounge spot on the pool deck.
Minnie Mani Kit – pair a bottle of nail polish with a small file to create a simple manicure kit.
Recipes + Cooking Spatula – share a couple favorite recipes from your family plus a red cooking spatula for a thoughtful gift that is sure to keep the recipient thinking of their Disney Cruise long after it has ended.
Cable Holder – help organize all those charger cables with cute, Disney themed cable wraps.
Minnie Mouse Travel Pouch – wear easily around the ship from the included lanyard and tuck your stateroom key plus ID inside for safe keeping.
Minnie Ears – these are fun for all ages and you will spot guests wearing them on the ship. Purchase a premade pair to gift or DIY your own for a more personalized touch.
DIY Snappy Coin Purse – use Disney themed fabric (even red with white dots like Minnie) on these handy little coin purses. Find the tutorial here.
Travel Notebook – these were one of the gifts we shared on our first Disney cruise. I found cute mini travel books that had prompts for favorite memory or quote from the day, etc. I embellished with a paperclip and fun cruise Washi tape. Super simple, but a fun way to help families remember the fun of their vacation week.
Small Crossover Bag or Wristlet – give her something small to carry her phone and stateroom key around the ship.
Hair Ties – wind + sea = cruise hair! Tame it with fun DIY hair ties.
Disney Themed Cookie Cutter – add a printed copy of a favorite cookie recipe and tie together to create a simple gift.
Lanyard – this is especially good for first time cruisers who won’t receive a Castaway Club one at check-in. Also fun just to have a unique, personalized lanyard that isn’t the same as everyone else. My husband and I both received a fun Mickey handmade one on our first cruise. Our son snagged one and immediately began wearing it.
Towel Clips – we travel with our own and have found these so handy on cruises. Use these to keep your towel securely on your chair on the pool deck or while at Castaway Cay.
Sleeping Mask – help mom get rest and block out a little extra light when the kids are staying up later on vacation or she wants an afternoon nap.
Starbucks VIA Packs – perfect for the coffee lover who wants something a little more than the standard coffee offered and will save your receiver over purchasing a fancier coffee in the Cove Cafe. (Although, I confess I do enjoy those visits to the Cove Cafe during my cruises!)
Playing cards – from solitaire to group games, playing cards are always fun. Add a little Disney twist with a themed set.
Yacht-Sea – families will enjoy playing this cruise themed version of the original game.
IQ Twist – this single player game is a mental challenge for kids and adults. Bonus: it packs up into it’s own plastic hinged case making it a breeze to travel with.
Mickey Head Peg Game – a Disney twist on a classic game/brainteaser. Great for kids and adults.
Left Right Center – we were gifted a travel set of Left Right Center on our first Disney Cruise and it quickly became a family hit. I’ve recently found this at the Dollar Tree so check there first!
Mickey Tic Tac Toe – this is a fun gift you can easily DIY with a small fabric bag and wooden pieces or small rocks. Paint or decoupage Disney characters.
Alaskan Cruise Ideas
Throw Blanket – embroider with the ship name and cruise dates. This could be an especially nice fish extender gift on Alaskan cruises – perfect for cuddling up on the pool deck.
Scarf – perfect for warming up while on the pool deck enjoying the view or while off ship enjoying excursions.
Hand Warming Set – gift a pair of mittens with single use hand warmer packets.
Coffee Cup Sleeve – help protect hands from the heat and add a fun Disney touch.
Reusable Bags – these could contain other gift items or be a standalone gift. Resusable bags come in handy during a cruise from toting extra items to the pool area, kid friendly fun to entertain in the main dining rooms while waiting on food, and containing purchases from the stores.
Laundry Kit – messes happen and this gift can be super helpful in those moments. Include detergent packs, a stain stick, clothes pins, travel size lint roller, wrinkle releaser, and a few dryer sheets.
Beach Day Kit – one of the gifts we received was a plastic resealable bag with travel size sunscreen, aloe, and baby powder plus a paintbrush to help brush away sand. The paintbrush had been handprinted in red and white. It was the perfect gift for our day at Castaway Cay and we still use that paintbrush on beach trips now!
Our Spot Sign – these fun signs attach to the umbrella poles with pipe cleaners allowing for simple fastening. They are a great way to identify your family’s spot in the sea of chairs and umbrellas at Castaway Cay.
Ship Directory Card – with a hole to attach to a lanyard, this is a great quick reference guide for newer DCL cruisers and those that are more directionally challenged.
Bathroom Kit – battery operated votives (these make perfect nightlights in the bathrooms where there are no outlets), Poo-Pourri spray, Charmin wipes, suction toothbrush holder, hand sanitizer, and clothespins (for hanging wet swimsuits on the clothesline).
First Aid Kit – boo boos happen. Fill a cute little container or pouch with a few bandaids, single use antiseptic wipes, and cream.
Reusable Straws – trying to be more environmentally friendly, the only straws available on the ships now are paper and typically only when requested. Travel ready reusable straws with cleaning brushes would make a useful gift for families with young children who typically use straws with their beverages.
Laundry Bag or Collapsible Travel Hamper – everyone has dirty laundry. Make it a bit more fun with a personalized new laundry bag or travel hamper.
Clothespins – decoupage with Disney themed paper or paint. Clothespins are so helpful on a cruise to hang extra swimsuits on the line in the bathroom; secure towels on a chair on the pool deck or verandah; close a bag of leftover snacks; etc. Add magnets to the back so the receiver can hang on cabin walls to display their child’s artwork from the kids’ club or the current day’s Navigator.
Sundae Kits – find unlimited soft serve ice cream at the pool deck on the ships. But no toppings. Fill this gift with small packs of candy and a small plastic bowl or cup so the receiver can make their own sundae.
Emergen-Sea Kit – this cute little kit filled with bandaids, a flashlight, gum, and more is perfect for covering those extra small items that might be forgotten especially for first time cruisers.
Dry Erase Board – personalize with vinyl to include the ship name and sailing dates. Add magnets to the back and you have an instant message board to hang on stateroom doors. You can even gift it by leaving it on the door instead of in the hanging fish extender.
Movie Packs – combine boxes of candy with a 4-pack of popcorn boxes from the dollar store. While the popcorn at the concession stands is an added fee, this will give families an easy way to share and add a little sweetness to the mix.
Photo Album – encourage families to print photos of their vacation by providing a nice photo album to display their memories in.
Luggage Tag – personalize with the family’s last name and their favorite characters. You don’t need the recipient’s full address. These could be handy to simply help identify their bags from other similar bags at the airport.
Door Hanger – we received a handmade DCL theme door hanger on our first cruise. Our littlest claimed it and it has been hanging on her bedroom door ever since! She loves flipping it from day to night.
DIY Coasters – personalize with Disney themed papers or park maps to make for a fun, unique gift that families can use long after the cruise has ended.
Ornaments – help brighten another family’s tree and bring back memories of a great vacation. Purchased or handmade, this is sure to be a treasured gift.
Photo Scavenger Hunt – help families explore the ship and take note of smaller details with this free printable. Just print, laminate, and gift.
DIY Photo Holder or Frame – everyone will come home with memories. Give them a special spot to display a favorite photo from the trip.
Gift something Local to You – share a bit of your little area of the world. Select a candy, book, small food item, etc that represents your town or state. Include a note (use a local postcard) explaining the significance. Your receivers will learn a little about your area and the kids will improve their geography knowledge.
Looking for more travel tips? Find out what I think are must pack items for every family trip.