Alaskan Disney Cruise Craftiness

Alaskan Disney Cruise Craftiness

If a Disney Cruise is the most magical vacation you can imagine, then get ready to have your socks blown off, because an Alaskan Disney Cruise is beyond anything we’ve experienced before. The kids’ favorite vacation by far. The most magic. The most adventure. The most surreal moments. It all feels like a dream. But I’m pretty sure the dent in my wallet tells me it all happened! LOL!

Let me start by showing you my favorite moment on my favorite day of the cruise. Sitka, Alaska. This humpback whale. I can still hear its breathing like it’s a part of me. It’s the most beautiful sound – a large puff of air that breaks the still silence of the calm waters. I may have watched this video a hundred times since this day (it’s only been a week). Now, not everyone on our cruise was this fortunate. Some went on all-day whale watching excursions and saw no whales or they were very far away. But let me give you a tip. Do not take the large boat whale watch excursions. You could get lucky. But my unprofessional opinion is you will have a much better chance at seeing whales and getting this close to a whale if you’re in a small boat. Ours had six passengers plus one very knowledgable and awesome guide, Captain Paul of Gallant Adventures. You can see in my video one of the larger tour boats and how the whale casually swims toward us, away from that big boat!

Isn’t that amazing?! I’ll wait if you want to watch it again… sigh…


For me, because I’m Mrs. Craftypants, one of my favorite things to do in preparation of a Disney Cruise is to create Fish Extender Gifts and magnets to decorate our door!

What is a Fish Extender? It is basically a gift exchange organized by past cruisers (not Disney). Each cabin door has a little hook on it that is some type of fish. And you hang a bag of sorts on this fish for people to put gifts in, and that bag is called the Fish Extender. Anyone can sign up to participate in the Fish Extender. You have to first find your cruise group for your specific sailing on Facebook and then you get assigned some cabins (we had nine in our group this time, as one family backed out; there are usually ten). Some might do things differently, but usually the organizer will give you names, ages, favorite Disney characters and if they’re celebrating anything or have any allergies. Then you make or buy gifts for these people and surprise them on your cruise by putting the gifts in their Fish Extender! Super fun.

I started by making tote bags for each family and filled it with a homemade game of Farkle. Last trip I was able to buy Mickey dice straight from Disney, but they apparently no longer sell them! But, I happened across some blank dice for making your own board game (thanks, Amazon) and used my Silhouette to cut tiny Mickey heads! It was a little time consuming, LOL, but they came out really great! And I apparently forgot to take a picture! But you can see last year’s version in this blog post as well as download the files for the rules, scoring, etc. Who doesn’t love a freebie?!

Each person then had an additional gift. I asked in advance if the women/girls had pierced ears and those that did got Mickey anchor earrings based on what they stated were their favorite colors or characters. To avoid sensitivity issues, I stepped it up and got some sterling silver settings. I may have made these for me in every possible color combination to go with every outfit! LOL!

I made the rest of the women/girls bracelets – stretchy bracelets with Mickey beads and an Alaska cruise ship charm for the young ones and leather wrapped bracelets with an anchor for the women.

The men got Alaska can coolers with a Mickey bottle opener. I found some really cool red and black buffalo plaid can coolers and simply heat pressed the Disney Cruise Line logo on them with Alaska 2019 to commemorate our trip. I found the Mickey bottle openers in a large set of 50 on Amazon. I used the extras as Pixie Dust with a cute tag saying “Cheers to Pixie Dust from Cabin 7565!” Of course I didn’t take a picture with the tag. {insert eye roll} I was simply running out of time in the end and scrambling to get everything made and packed! (FYI, Pixie Dust is just a way of surprising other cruisers with a little gift. Most of the time I put them in people’s Fish Extenders, but you can hand them directly to people you meet or even Cast Members! Everyone loves unexpected Pixie Dust!)

I made the teenage boys personalized ear bud cases with their names in the Waltograph font on one side using their favorite color. I wanted something teens would think is “cool” and not babyish, so I designed a Mickey wearing headphones for the other side and cut it out of this really cool holographic vinyl. I also included an inexpensive pair of ear buds (thanks, Five Below!).

Some of the younger kids got portable silicone straws (did you know Disney only has paper straws now? Yay for the environment! But yuck for drinking out of!) and handmade lanyard keychains with flashlights. The kids and I had a lot of fun learning how to knot these lanyards, and we also used the technique to make fleece toys for our crazy dog who destroys EVERY toy! Speaking of dogs, we had a service dog on our cruise in our Fish Extender group and I made him a hand-tied fleece blanket and knotted dog toy! Did I take a picture of that?! Oops, no! But his owner said he loved it, so that’s all that matters. I did find an adorable Mickey and Minnie Disney Cruise fleece fabric at JoAnn’s! You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Once everything was made, I made sure each gift had the recipient’s name on it, as well as their cabin # and ours, just to be safe in case anything got misplaced. I then packed it all in the tote bag and simply hung the bag on each cabin’s fish hook. I just found it easier this way, but some may prefer putting the gifts in each person’s Fish Extender pocket directly.

We got a lot of great gifts in return, including a handmade picture frame, a wooden anchor to have the characters sign, hand warmers for glacier day, specialty items from people’s home states/countries, sprinkles & fixings for the eye-scream (that’s soft serve ice cream for you non-Disney-cruisers) and a ton of candy, which the kids devoured! I admit, it was nice having a sweet snack to bring to the amazing shows each night. I still managed to lose a few pounds on the cruise, most likely thanks to all those stairs we climbed!


This trip we also participated in a magnet exchange (through the same Facebook group). Decorating your cabin door is really fun, and I loved admiring everyone else’s doors! I cannot believe I never took a picture of our door! We used some of the magnets we had from our last cruise and made some new ones, too.

For my magnets, I bought an acrylic shape of the state of Alaska and added some mountains and … well, let me see if you can guess the other “hidden” shape. I didn’t intend for it to be hidden, but neither my husband or kids noticed it at first! (Please tell me you see the moose.) Glitter white vinyl makes it look snowy. Then I used E6000 to glue the neodymium magnet on the back (I actually put two since the magnets were rather large, about 4″). I made extras and used them for more Pixie Dust! I loved giving these to our new friends on the cruise, as well as some random doors. If you’d like to purchase my Alaska design, you can download one without the date or have it personalized for your specific cruise!

Side note, the Wonder is an older ship (as is the Magic) and the doors have more coats of paint on them, thus reducing their magnetism. Some flimsier magnets did not want to stick on our door, including our magnetic dry erase board, which held fine on the Fantasy last year. So just be sure your magnets are the really strong neodymium variety. Those work great.

I also made our family some name tag magnets in the style of the Disney Cast Members. Instead of the usual “where dreams come true” quote on the bottom, I had each of us pick a favorite Disney quote to be even more personalized. 

Making magnets can be quite simple. You can buy pre-made files or find free images online (there are even Facebook groups that share Disney graphics – for personal use only, of course!). I designed this mouse head with a simple sky background and one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes: “Remember, it all started with a mouse.” It helps me remember that even the most amazing successes started as a small, simple idea. So keep on dreaming!


All you need to make your own magnets are:

Print out your desired image and cut it out with scissors (or use the print and cut feature on your Silhouette Cameo if the file you buy has this feature and you have a Cameo – nice clean lines!). Then run it through a laminating machine or use a self-sealing laminating pouch (you can get them at Target). Cut around your original image, leaving at least 1/4” of laminate as a border or the ends might come undone. Glue a couple strong magnets to the back and you’re done!

What will you create for your next cruise? I’d love to see!



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