How to use Rider Switch at Disney World
(Article last updated: April 11, 2016)
Rider Switch (sometimes called "Child Swap") is Disney's system that allows people with small children to take turns riding the bigger rides while the other person/people wait with the child.
Here's how it works...
As you encounter a ride that has a height requirement, your whole group should be present and you can tell the Cast Member that you'd like to use Rider Switch. The Cast Member will give the waiting portion of your group a pass (which works like a FastPass) and the riding portion of your group will proceed through the line.
Recommendation: Use Rider Switch with FastPass+
I highly recommend that you use FastPass+ for the first group (assuming it's available on the attraction). This means that you'd get FastPasses for just the number of people riding in the first group.
Once your group shows up during the FastPass window (the whole group should show up, including the non-riding child), the Cast Member will issue the rest of the group the pass which works like a FastPass and can be used for up to 3 people.
This method effectively doubles the number of FastPass+ reservations you can get since the Rider Switch passes work like FastPasses. Here's an example of how this could work for a family.
The pass that you are issued does not have a time specified on it like a FastPass does, so it can be used anytime that day (updated May 10, 2015: the Rider Switch passes are now often good for a week or more).
Chance to ride twice
Each time that the too-young-to-ride child waits on the rest of the group to ride, they only need 1 adult to stay with them. That means there is an opportunity to allow the rest of the group (if you have more than 2 adults) to ride twice.
Let's say you have a family with 2 adults and 3 kids and only the youngest child isn't riding. The first group can have 1 adult and 2 older kids while the other adult and youngest child waits. The second group can have the other adult and the 2 older kids (Rider Switch allows up to 3 people). This means the 2 older kids get to ride twice.
What do do while waiting
One of my biggest pet peeves in all of Disney World is when people make their small children sit and wait while older people ride. You're at Disney World - there's lots of things to do!
|Ride||Height requirement||FP+ available?||What to do while waiting|
|Seven Dwarfs Mine Train||38"||Yes||Ride the Carousel or Mad Tea Party|
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||40"||Yes||Ride the Walt Disney World Railroad around, starting at the Frontierland station and/or play in the play area located just under the train station|
|Splash Mountain||40"||Yes||Ride the Walt Disney World Railroad around, starting at the Frontierland station and/or play in the play area located just under the train station|
|Barnstormer||35"||Yes||Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, Dumbo|
|Space Mountain||44"||Yes||Tomorrowland Transit Authority|
|Stitch's Great Escape||40"||No||Tomorrowland Transit Authority|
|Tomorrowland Indy Speedway||52" (to drive alone)||Yes||Tomorrowland Transit Authority|
|Test Track||40"||Yes||Innoventions East|
|Soarin'||40"||Yes||Living with the Land|
|Mission: Space||44"||Yes||The exit area of the ride has a large play area|
|Star Tours||40"||Yes||Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set|
|Tower of Terror||40"||Yes||Hang out on Mickey Avenue for the kid-friendly shows|
|Rock 'n' Roller Coaster||48"||Yes||Hang out on Mickey Avenue for the kid-friendly shows|
|Expedition Everest||44"||Yes||Maharajah Jungle Trek|
|Kali River Rapids||38"||Yes||Maharajah Jungle Trek|
|Primeval Whirl||48"||Yes||The Boneyard|
The speed at which you tour depends on how busy the parks are, when you arrive, what you're riding, how fast you move and if you are using Rider Switch. As you can probably guess, riding the same ride twice will slow you down quite a bit. Keep this in mind as you create your touring plans.