How to use Rider Switch at Disney World

(Article last updated: April 17, 2017)

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. 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.

wdt_IDRideMomDad8-year-old3-year-old
1 Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this (and can also ride using Rider Switch)
2 Space Mountain Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch and use 3-year-old's FP+ to ride Get FP+ using 3-year-old's ticket although 3-year-old won't be riding
3 Big Thunder Mountain Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this (and can also ride using Rider Switch)
4 Splash Mountain Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch and use 3-year-old's FP+ to ride Get FP+ using 3-year-old's ticket although 3-year-old won't be riding
5 Barnstormer Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this (and can also ride using Rider Switch)
6 Stitch's Great Escape Ride using Rider Switch Get FP+ for this Ride using Rider Switch and use 3-year-old's FP+ to ride Get FP+ using 3-year-old's ticket although 3-year-old won't be riding
7 Total # of times on these rides: 6 6 12 0



The pass that you are issued does not have a time specified on it like a FastPass does, so it can be used before the pass expiration date (often times the pass has an expiration date that's a few days later).

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.

wdt_IDRideHeight req.What to do while waiting
1 MAGIC KINGDOM:
2 Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38" Ride the Carousel or Mad Tea Party
3 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 40" 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
4 Splash Mountain 40" 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
5 Barnstormer 35" Casey Jr. Splash ā€˜Nā€™ Soak Station, Dumbo
6 Space Mountain 44" Tomorrowland Transit Authority
7 Stitch's Great Escape 40" Tomorrowland Transit Authority
8 Tomorrowland Indy Speedway 32" to ride Tomorrowland Transit Authority
9
10 EPCOT:


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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.

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Leave a Reply

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Rosie D

Hi Shannon,

This system seems great for people wanting to utilise their time better in the parks. Can you help with a group of 9? I see you haven’t answered the ‘big group’ questions people have asked.

We are 4 adults and 5 children (15,12,11,7 & 7). The older three have no problems riding all of the rides. But the two 7-year-olds, although tall enough, are scared of Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror etc. How should I split up the Fastpasses & Rider Switch option? I know Disney states on their website that the RS option is for people who aren’t tall enough or for Guests who do not want to ride.

Jen A.

I am having a similar issue with my 7 year old and 10 year old. My 7 yearold is 50 in. tall but doesn’t want to go on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Expedition Everest, or Rockin Roller Coaster, and the 10 year old wants to ride all of the above.

Rosie D

Ideally, I would like to effectively double my FPs for the rides my son doesn’t want to do. But I don’t want to risk not booking FPs for myself if we get to the CM and he/she tells us I also need a FP. I have rang Disney and they say Rider Switch is for any guest who doesn’t wish to ride (including a scared child). But I’m worried the CM will disappoint us as many people say it’s down to their discretion.

Alyssa

I just called WDW and they told me that you cannot get a child swap ticket if you are already using the fast pass line. Therefore, you can’t just use a fast pass for one person, then use child swap tickets for the rest of the group. You have to be waiting in the regular line. Did they change their rules? That’s not what I’m gathering from this article.

Melissa Smith

I am going to Disney World next month. We are 2 adults and 3 children (age 3, 5, and 8). Am I able to just book 2 Fast passes (1 adult and 1 for my 8 year old) and get a Rider Switch for the other adult and my 5 year old or does everyone need a Fast pass? Also, could I book a Fast pass for my 3 year old and have my 8 year old use it to go on the ride again? Thank you!

Jon T

Thanks for this very useful information, Shannon. My family of 5 (me, wife, 9 YO, 6 YO, and 3 YO)will be traveling to Disney in October. I’m trying to maximize my Tier 1 Fastpasses in Epcot.

If one parent gets a Fastpass for a Tier 1 attraction, can 3 members of the rest of the family use rider swap if the parent with Fastpass rides alone? What I’m asking is it possible for 4 people to ride on an attraction with only one Fastpass as long as the person with the Fastpass rides alone?

Also, if the above works, does the person that has the Fastpass reservation have to be the one to ride? Can I use my 3 YO’s FP on myself and then have my wife and older kids ride using rider swap?

Thanks!

Boomer Bates

Following

C J

Does Rider Switch apply for an adult that is unable to ride due to health or large size? I would want to be able to take each of my small children (2 and 4) while my husband sat with the other.

Kim Harris

I read all these comments but I still am confused if I am “missing out” on maximizing this system. I have a tall 5yo (who wants to ride everything!) and a baby (8mo). Right now I have both adults and riding child with FPs for all rides, but I know in almost all those cases we will have to utilize ride swap, so I realize that adult #2 doesn’t “NEED” the FP reservation but I am unsure what to do with that? Is there some value in having JUST an adult FP to say characters or shows or even rides if riding child and adult #2 don’t have a FP? If i just show up at a ride with one adult FP can I get a rider switch?? I am going in a week and nervous about over-engineering this.

Emily

How many people in the group must have a FastPass+ reservation for the ride to utilize rider swap? In other words, if our group of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids) wants to try to get on multiple Tier 1 rides (Soarin, Test Track, Frozen Ever After), could we have 1 person reserve a FastPass+ for each ride and then utilize rider swap? Would the following scenario work?:

-Dad reserves FP+ for Soarin. Gets in line with family. Gets rider swap ticket. Dad & son ride, while mom & daughter wait and ride later.

-Mom reserves FP+ for Test Track. Gets in line with family. Gets rider swap ticket. Mom & daughter ride, while dad & son wait and ride later.

-Son reserves FP+ for Frozen Ever After. Gets in line with family. Gets rider swap ticket. Son & dad ride, while mom & daughter wait and ride later.

-Daughter reserves FP+ for one of the above mentioned Tier I rides for a little later in the day. Gets in line with family. Gets rider swap. Two ride, two wait, and ride later.

A couple additional questions:
1. If the above scenario plays out, would both kids be allowed to ride the second (or even first) time around? You state that up to 3 can hop on a rider swap, so I’m inclined to think they could both ride it the second time, but probably not the first.

2. When you want to redeem the rider swap ticket, do you just get in the Fast Pass line? I know they are dated, but does it matter when you use them? Can you use them right away or later that day?

Thanks, as always, for all your help!!!! Love, love, LOVE your site and podcast! I get so happy when I see a new podcast from WDW Prep waiting for me for my morning commute!

Disney Dad

This scenario would not work because every person entering the ride the first time would need to have a fast pass so with scenario 1 dad and son would need a fastpass reserved to go soarin so his tier 1 fastpass choice would be used on that

same with test track….mom and whoever is going on would need a fast pass for that first intial ride.

You would be unable to book 1 fastpass and then try to utilize child swap and bring kids in with you

Though it would be amazing if you could!!! Just would end up causing long wait lines in fast pass when everyone caught on to it

camilynn

So on the things for the little kid to do while the big kid rides you mention several options that are at the exit of the ride. Can the parent/kid not riding just walk into the exit area without riding and standing in the lines?

Chrissy

Hi Shannon! This is great info and really looking forward to following your suggestions. One question I had is for a family of four. Mom, Dad. 7 year old, and 1 year old.

If Mom (and Mom only) had a Fast Pass for say the Barnstormer, could we get a rider swap pass so that Dad and 7 year old can go right after? Would we just show up as a family and say we have 1 Fast Pass???

Kate

Hi, I’m visiting with hubby, 8yo, 5yo and 1yo. When using rider switch can I just FP 1 adult and 1 child, and then use rider switch to swap the waiting child as well as the waiting adult? (So each child would only ride once?) This would mean we could book 6 FPs each day (1 adult and 1 child each time, and using rider switch for the other waiting adult and child). Have I understood this correctly please?

H. Prince

Disney is now requiring every member of the group to have a fast pass because this loop hole is allowing some to have 6 fast passes and access to rides on the same tier such as Soarin and Test Track. This doubling up is in fact cheating the system.

karyn

hi there, we are headed to animal kingdom next week – 5 of us – 3 adults and a 4 year and 6 year old – i have fast passes for all of us for everest but I know my 4 year old can’t go – i was going to swap it out for another fast pass for my 4 year old an me (maybe lion king if we can save seats for the others?)and then do the rider switch – i called disney and was told i can’t do that – the person i spoke with said i must have a fast pass to ride everest with my 6 year old daughter – she said i can’t go in the fast pass to get the rider switch unless i have a fast pass – this contradicts how you explain – please advise what we should do? can we even save seats via fast pass for lion king for the other 3 in our party who won’t have a fast pass for it or is the seating in a separate area? THANK YOU!!!

Derek B.

Hey Shannon,

I have done disney a few times with my wife and recently with our 2 year old. Child swap was awesome because it gave us both the ability to ride…..Heres my dilemma. This year we are traveling with the whole family…..15 people total. 4 of the 15 are all going to be to small to ride the big rides so my question is….. Can a group of 15 with 4 babies get multiple child swap passes to account for half group going in and the second half going in together later or do I need to coordinate having groups of 2 going in separately and getting child swap passes per group. I am trying to maximize the Fast Pass bonus with the child swap and am getting caught up on this question.

Karen

Does Rider Switch have to be done as soon as the 1st group finishes their ride or can you come back later? Just wondering in case the 2nd group haven’t completed a ride they went to while waiting for the completion of the 1st group.

Kelly Garcia

My husband and I are going to WDW with our 7 year old twins and 5 year old. Everyone is tall enough to ride the rides but we’ve always had grandparents with us in years past to ride with them. This is the first year that it will be just my husband and I with the 3 kids. So my question is: are the 7 year olds old enough to ride alone (with us being on the ride with them) or will we need rider swap passes to be able to ride with them individually? If they are tall and old enough to ride alone, our concern is if they’re going to want to alone. Could we get rider swap if they’re scared to ride alone?

Colin

Hi Shannon, I’m trying my best understand how this works but I’m not sure how, or if, this can work for us. My wife, myself and our 10 year old son will attending Disney in a couple weeks. How can we use this ‘Rider Switch’ to our advantage?

Jenniffer Sheldon

Shannon – What if child is tall enough but too scared. Our DD (7) does not like Soarin but it’s our favorite. Can one of us get FP & do Rider Switch? I have a feeling the same will be the case for Flight of the Passage.

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