Many families traveling to Disneyland include of mix of those that are tall enough (and ready) to ride the "big" rides, and those that aren't.
The truth is, even though the attractions at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are packed with family-friendly options that are suitable for everybody, there's a few that might be a bit much for some - but that doesn't mean anybody has to miss out on the fun!
Even if you're someone traveling with children who don't want to hop on a particular ride or don't meet height requirements, there's still a way for you to ride that attraction.
You read that right. This magical solution is called Rider Switch, aka "child swap," and we have all of the important details about the feature listed below, so keep reading.
What Is Rider Switch?
Rider Switch basically gives everyone in your party a way to experience attractions, even if a younger guest doesn't want to or isn't tall enough to do so.
The feature allows adult guests to take turns waiting with younger park goers or guests unable to ride a particular attraction.
How Does It Work?
An adult or supervising guest in your party (at least 14 years or older) can wait with the person(s) not riding while the rest of the group boards the attraction.
Then, after those who rode the attraction get off, they switch roles with the supervisor, who then can experience the attraction without waiting in the regular "Standby" queue again, similar to FastPass.
Here's how you use it:
- Make sure the attraction offers Rider Switch (there's a list of qualifying attractions below).
- Upon arrival, greet the working Cast Member with your entire group. You'll be divided into two groups:
- Party 1: those riding first
- Party 2 (maximum of 3 people): non-riders and their supervising guest(s)
- While Party 1 waits in line to ride the attraction, Party 2 will have their tickets scanned and will then wait in the designated area that's typically located right outside the attraction.
- After Party 1 exits, they'll take over as the supervisors allowing Party 2 to head to the appropriate entrance (FastPass queue or attraction exit; the CM should advise you) to have their tickets scanned again by a CM for the Rider Switch entitlement. Then, Party 2 can enter the designated return line and board without having to wait in the regular queue.
NOTE: The Rider Switch pass allows up to three guests entry for Party 2. Depending on your group, a person or persons might be able to ride an attraction twice if they were to go with both Party 1 and Party 2.
What Is The Price?
There is no extra cost for Rider Switch.
Is There A Return Time?
The Rider Switch pass expires about one hour after it is loaded onto your park ticket. This means, you cannot hold multiple Rider Switch passes at once.
Who Can Use It?
Anyone with kids who are either too young, not tall enough, or don't want to ride the attraction.
Which Attractions Offer It?
Rider Switch is only available for select attractions at each theme park. They include:
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Gadget's Go Coaster
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney California Adventure
- Goofy's Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout!
- Jumpin' Jellyfish
- Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters
- Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Silly Symphony Swings
- Soarin' Around the World
Can I have more than 1 Rider Switch at a time?
While you used to be able to hold multiple Rider Switch tickets at a time, that is no longer the case.
You can only have 1 at a time.
Can It Be Used With MaxPass?
Sometimes Rider Switch can be used with MaxPass. But, it's important to note that you don't necessarily need to use Rider Switch and MaxPass together.
You can simply have one group use their MaxPass reservation first, while an adult waits with those who aren't riding. Then, when the first group is done, the second adult can use their MaxPass to ride the attraction. This is a much easier process.
If you use this method, make sure you also keep track of time. You want to make sure everyone can ride and use their MaxPass before the arrival window closes and before your next booked MaxPass.
All that said, there are pro-tips that many have used that might come in handy when combining MaxPass and Rider Switch. You might even be able to save some money in the process.
So what is one method? It's much easier to explain with an example, so let's say there are two adults and one child in a group who isn't going to ride bigger attractions or doesn't meet height requirements. Here's what would happen:
Important: It appears these methods only work sometimes based on Cast Member discretion. Some Cast Members may require all party members to have a MaxPass or FastPass in order to board (especially if everyone in your party has purchased MaxPass), meaning there really is no need for Rider Switch. And the bigger your group, the less options you have for these scenarios.
- First, the adults would each need to purchase MaxPass.
- Each adult would make two different MaxPass selections, but they wouldn't add each other to their MaxPass party. If they were in each other's MaxPass party, they wouldn't be able to make two separate reservations at once. (It's probably best to make sure the MaxPass selections are for attractions near one another just because of time.)
- They would head to the first MaxPass and follow the same steps as if they were using Rider Switch without MaxPass.
- The adult who made the first MaxPass booking would tell the Cast Member they have a FastPass, but the rest of their party doesn't and they would like to use Rider Switch. A Rider Switch entitlement should be issued.
- When they're done with Rider Switch for that attraction, they would hopefully have time to use the second MaxPass at the nearby attraction that they booked by the other adult. They'd follow the same procedures as previously mentioned, but with the second adult taking charge this time.
This scenario allows a group to book two FastPasses via MaxPass at the same time, so you're getting more bang for your buck. Plus, no one has to stand in the regular queue or wait long periods of time.
You could even have one adult use MaxPass and still combine it with Rider Switch for the remaining people in the party. This way, you'd save money and, again, no one would have to wait in the standby line. Or, make sure to only make MaxPass selections for those in Party 1 and then Party 2 can use Rider Switch to hop on the attraction.
A lot of math is involved when trying to figure out how to combine MaxPass and Rider Switch, so, if you can afford it, it might just be simpler to have everyone purchase MaxPass and use it without Rider Switch.
As for in-park distribution FastPass, you should also be able to use the previously mentioned methods as well when using Rider Switch. But, this way, you wouldn't have to spend extra money on MaxPass.
Check out our FastPass and MaxPass guide for more information on how both systems work.
On the surface it may seem like Rider Switch isn't "fair" BUT...
...families using Rider Switch aren't getting to ride twice as many attractions; they are "getting" to stand in line at an attraction twice. Rider Switch just helps to cut down that second wait.
If your party doesn't have to split up to ride, you are able to all ride together and then move on to the next thing.
A family that splits up into 2 groups because somebody can't ride an attraction will find themselves waiting in line twice.
Rider Switch makes that easier, but it doesn't necessarily put them at an advantage over a family that doesn't use Rider Switch.
Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World's Rider Switch is pretty much the same as Disneyland's, except when it comes to the MaxPass hack. Disney World has FastPass+, but there is a way to use Rider Switch with the FP+ reservation system.
The Best Nearby Attractions To Occupy Little Ones
Looking for something to do while you wait?
Here's some ideas of nearby attractions to keep you busy.
|RIDE||HEIGHT REQUIREMENT||WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING|
|Autopia||32"||Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Buzz Lightyear, Astro Blasters; See what's playing at the Tomorrowland Theater; Explore Star Wars Launch Bay|
|Big Thunder Mountain||40"||Try the Frontierland Shootin' Exposition; Ride Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia; Explore Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island|
|Gadget's Go Coaster||35"||Pretty much anything in ToonTown (it's a small enough area and made for kids)|
|Indiana Jones Adventure||46"||Walk around Tarzan's Treehouse; See the Enchanted Tiki Room show; Watch Jungle Cruise boats from Tropical Hideaway|
|Matterhorn Bobsleds||42"||Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Tea Party, Storybook Land Canal Boats (pretty much all of Fantasyland, right next door)|
|Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run||38"||Explore the Marketplace, especially Toydarian Toymaker and Creature Stall; Build a droid at the Droid Depot|
|Space Mountain||40"||Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Astro Blasters; Explore Star Wars Launch Bay; See what's playing at the Tomorrowland Theater|
|Splash Mountain||40"||Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pooh Corner|
|Star Tours — The Adventures Continue||40"||Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Astro Orbiter; See what's playing at the Tomorrowland Theater, Explore Star Wars Launch Bay|
|Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance||40"||Explore the Marketplace, especially Toydarian Toymaker and Creature Stall, Build a droid at the Droid Depot, Head out of the land go around the corner to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh|
Disney California Adventure
|RIDE||HEIGHT REQUIREMENT||WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING|
|Grizzly River Run||42"||Explore Redwook Creek Challenge Trail|
|Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout!||40"||Ride Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!; Watch Mickey's PhilharMagic; Meet Marvel characters; See Frozen — Live at the Hyperion; Check out the experiences Animation Academy's experiences|
|Incredicoaster||48"||Ride Jessie's Critter Carousel, Toy Story Midway Mania, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind; Play Games of Pixar Pier|
|Jumpin' Jellyfish||40"||Ride Goofy's Sky School, Golden Zephyr, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure|
|Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters||32"||Ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racers; Meet Cars characters|
|Mater's Junkyard Jamboree||32"||Ride Luigi's Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racers; Meet Cars characters|
|Radiator Springs Racers||40"||Ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters; Meet Cars characters|
|Silly Symphony Swings||40"||Ride Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Jumpin' Jellyfish, Goofy's Sky School, Golden Zephyr, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure|
|Soarin' Around the World||40"||Walk around Buena Vista Street; Explore Grizzly Peak area (a lot of great paths for little ones to run around)|