Disney Cruise Fish Extender Gifts – the Extra Stress Every Vacation Needs!

While cruising is one of my favorite vacations EVER, it is not without its stressful moments.  Does everyone have their passports?  How am I going to fit 3 outfit changes per day per person for a 7 night cruise into luggage that will fit in the overhead compartment of the plane?  Does my ass look big in this?  Okay, but bigger than it did before the last cruise?

As if there’s not enough pressure preparing for a cruise, I always like to go the extra mile, and that’s where Fish Extender gifts come in.

What the heck is a Fish Extender?  And why do we bring them gifts?

Fish Extender Fish

On the Disney Cruise Line ships, your “mailbox” is a sea creature – mostly fish, but I’ve also seen other animals, like a seahorse – where your cabin steward or someone else will put things like invitations to events, offers from the DVC desk, other envelopes holding information they want you to have.  Some amazingly pixie dusted person, who I’m sure came from the DISboards, came up with the idea of creating pouches that you could hang on your Fish Mail holder, and other DISboard members on your sailing could sneak by with little gifts to add an extra dose of magic to your cruise.  Oh my.  Who doesn’t want an extra dose of magic?  Who in their life is screaming, “No mas, no mas!” to more pixie dust?

So, my understanding of these Fish Extender gifts is that you just had to do a little something for each cabin signed up for the gift exchange – some little token or small surprise to make the people in the cabin all smiley and happy that you thought of them.  I gladly signed up, then poured over blogs – especially my Sister Disney Parks Moms Panel Mom Darcie’s at http://suchthespot.com/category/fish-extender/ – then joined the Facebook group.  Then wanted to die.  What had I gotten myself into?  These people were hand making stuff.  They were ordering engraved things online.  They were going on Etsy and having other people hand make and engrave things for them.  Kill me now, right?

Fish Extener

Here’s what it all boiled down to.  This really is meant to be just an extra sprinkle of pixie dust on what should already be an amazing vacation.  Whether your Fish Extender gift cost someone $1, $10, or $100, it should not define your choice of gift for your Fish Extender offering.  Little kids may want to pass out penny candy – and that’s fine!  It makes them feel good, and it should make you feel good.  It’s fun.

You should never give a gift with the expectation of what you will receive in return.  Just like pixie dust, the magic in the Fish Extender gifts is in the spirit in which they are given.

The greatest joy can be found in the simplest things.  If you let yourself seek.

Summer 2012 Cross Cruiseapalooza Planning Begins!

Where were we?  Oh yes!  The family has decided to drive cross country to Seattle to board the Disney Wonder for that Alaska cruise.  So obviously, we were just this side short of sanity.

Skamarakas family cross country trips have been incredibly interesting.  The last one we took was dubbed the DNA Tour.  It was a lesson in making sure everyone went to the bathroom BEFORE we hit a mountain or desert, AND it was a lesson in watching what you feed people before you get to the Grand Canyon so no one has to puke, right at sunset, on the Grand Canyon.  Had there been a nation-wide crime spree, perpetrated by a crazed family in a minivan, we left enough DNA evidence between here and the west coast that we’d all be in Sing-Sing solitary as I speak.

The first piece of the puzzle is what car are we taking.  Our family has two – our minivan and Brighid’s Mini Cooper.  I for one am always up for a challenge, but I’m reasonably certain that I won’t fit the shoes I need for the cruise in the back of the Mini.  So it seems like a no-brainer, right?  The minivan.  That’s where Jim steps in and says, “We can rent a car that gets better gas mileage and save the wear and tear on the minivan.”  On our last cross country trip, we ended up in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that POSSIBLY got one mile more per gallon than our minivan; was painfully uncomfortable; had way less storage space; and had a driver’s side window that wouldn’t roll down.  I know what you’re thinking – how did Anna get her Starbucks with no drive through availability?  Thank you for thinking of me.  I managed.  This time around, we’ll check the windows before we get to Ohio; and if possible, we’ll check out the comfort level well in advance so we know we won’t have hineys hurting in the back seat.

I’m thinking the best plan of action will have us hitting Chicago our first day – maybe as far as Milwaukee.  If there’s a festival, Milwaukee may be the way to go; and if it’s Milwaukee, there’s probably a festival!  We could wake up early, do a little sightseeing, then hit the road for somewhere in North Dakota.  I spent much of my teen years denying the existence of North Dakota – it was my version of teen rebellion (I belonged to the Flat Earth Society, too) – but I digress.  After another night of sleep, a quick tour around some points of North Dakotan interest (that should be a quick tour, no?), we’ll hit the road again head for parts in west Montana.  That will be our last stay before arriving in Seattle, which should give us a full day to play with – so if we end up stuck in traffic behind a herd of buffalo (buffali??), we should still make the ship in plenty of time.

So send me your suggestions – where to go, what to see, who to visit!