How to use Rider Switch at Disney World

by Shannon Albert 151 comments Like the Facebook page

(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.

Rider Switch and Child Swap at Disney World

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.

Rider Switch at Disney World

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!

Here are some things to do if you are in the waiting group.

RideHeight requirementFP+ available?What to do while waiting
MAGIC KINGDOM:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train38"YesRide the Carousel or Mad Tea Party
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad40"YesRide 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 Mountain40"YesRide the Walt Disney World Railroad around, starting at the Frontierland station and/or play in the play area located just under the train station
Barnstormer35"YesCasey Jr. Splash โ€˜Nโ€™ Soak Station, Dumbo
Space Mountain44"YesTomorrowland Transit Authority
Stitch's Great Escape40"NoTomorrowland Transit Authority
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway52" (to drive alone)YesTomorrowland Transit Authority
EPCOT:
Test Track40"YesInnoventions East
Soarin'40"YesLiving with the Land
Mission: Space44"YesThe exit area of the ride has a large play area
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:
Star Tours40"YesHoney, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set
Tower of Terror40"YesHang out on Mickey Avenue for the kid-friendly shows
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster48"YesHang out on Mickey Avenue for the kid-friendly shows
ANIMAL KINGDOM:
Expedition Everest44"YesMaharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids38"YesMaharajah Jungle Trek
Dinosaur40"YesThe Boneyard
Primeval Whirl48"YesThe Boneyard

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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.