How to use Rider Switch at Disney World (Includes New Digital Rider Switch)

(Article last updated: June 20, 2018)

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 (Group 2) a pass (which works like a FastPass) and the riding portion of your group (Group 1) will proceed through the line.

Update: Rider Switch is going Digital

Update: As of June 19, 2018, Disney has begun to transition from paper Rider Switch passes to all digital using your MagicBand or RFID enabled ticket.

Attractions using this new system will have Cast Members scan the bands or tickets of the waiting group and assign them a return time for riding. That return time will be 1 hour long (with a 10 minute grace period).

This procedure is brand new and like anything new, there are a lot of kinks to work out. We will update this post with more details as they become available. 

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.

riderswitchpinterest1 - How to use Rider Switch at Disney World (Includes New Digital Rider Switch)

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_ID Ride Mom Dad 8-year-old 3-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 old paper passes did not have a time specified on it, however, the new digital versions do specify a return time with an hour and 10 minute long window. You'll be able to see your return time in the My Disney Experience app.

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 to 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_ID Ride Height 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 ‘N’ 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:

**********************

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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294 Comments on "How to use Rider Switch at Disney World (Includes New Digital Rider Switch)"

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Any idea how far out the rider switch pass is assigned now that it is digital? For example, if my husband and I each schedule our own fastpass on different rides for the same time slot (let’s say 5-6 pm) and we go to the first ride, does it look for the next open time or can it ‘stack’ a rider switch pass and a fastpass in the same time slot?

So we will be a family 5. 2 adults and 2 children riding age and one infant ( will use for RS). How should we proceed. I thought that the 1 adult and 2 kids have to get the FP and the other RS. The 2 kids could then go again. But what happens when the kids run out of passes and the adults still do! Lol so confusing.

Hi! I was just reading on my very reliable Disney Board that with the new digital rider swap cards they are rolling out you can not longer split your Fastpasses, as outlined in your article above. Many members are saying that ALL parties must have a scheduled Fastpass for the ride you are planning to rider swap, as Disney is trying to rein in guests who were abusing the system :-/ Can you confirm?

Family of 5 with a 2 year old. We will use our fast pass and my husband will take two older kids on ride while I wait with baby. Will they scan my magic band and my two older ones to give us the rider switch, or can we cheat the system and my husband go again with my two older ones? I’m guessing if they scan my magic band, I will be the one with the rider switch, not him.

Hi,
I wonder if someone could please let me know if I can have another fast pass booked at the same time as a rider switch? E.g. Can My husband take my eldest on a “big” ride (using FP+) and I ask for rider switch. Whilst my hubby and eldest are riding, can I use a FP+ on a “small” ride with my youngest and my hubby use rider switch on that one? That way the kids can ride their rides twice and my hubby and I get to ride each ride once with them.
Many Thanks

I have a son who is not yet 44 inches. Can I booked a fast pass for the Navi ride for him and me, while the rest of my party rides the Flight of Passage with a fast pass and still do the parent swap? Or do I also need a FP for the Flight of Passage ride to get the parent swap?

Hi. What do you do if you have two adults and 1 child and the child does not want to go on the ride. Do the 3 of us wait and line and mom goes on ride whiled dad stays with child and when mom comes back dad goes on. Or do we have to stand in line all over again? Thank you

Would love an update on how the new digital FP system works now. I have a party of 5 going (4 adults, 1 child under age 3). My original plan was to get FP for myself and my husband and then use the rider switch for my parents to ride after (without booking a FP for them). Will this still work with the new system?

Me too! I book my go+ next week and i don’t want to get screwed when we get there if i try to double our passes

Hack for this new digital update: Your whole party goes to the standby entrance and shows the baby or child too short to ride. You present 3 magic bands. The cast member scans those bands, giving them Fast Passes (which show up on the app, by the way). Some people stay with the baby, others proceed in line. After a few minutes, leave the line and just use those 3 FP+ instead. Nothing is making you wait the whole 85 minutes. (This obviously only works if you have up to 3 people who want to ride, and only allows you… Read more »

I have a daughter who just turned 4 this month but is super tall (48″). She is not going to want to ride most of the rides my 9 year old will. Will we have trouble using rider swap since she is technically tall enough?

I am worried about this too. My oldest is 8 and 51”… but he won’t ride ANYTHING.

Hey we are a family of 5 adults and one baby. Is it possible that 2 adults ride using FP and the remaining 3 ride using RS?

Yes. Or one adult can ride twice if you use 3 FP+ 🙂

hi
can one adult ride by himself (without a kid) and ask for a rider switch?

They will usually ask to see the child who is not riding, so if your party has 2 adults and 1 child, YES – one adult would ride alone, then the other adult would also go alone using the rider swap (or the first adult would go again instead).

Hello, I think I have this right, but don’t want to mess it up. We are traveling with 5 adults, a 2 year old and 2 babies. If we book a FP for a ride such as Space Mountain, can 2 adults book the FP and then give the rider swap tickets to the other 3 adults, as long as we show we have the 3 kids? So confusing! Thanks!

Yes!

Hi! We have a party of 9 going with 2 of the 9 being a 4 yo and 5 yo. Could we schedule FP’s for 2 of the other 7, show up at the FP entrance in groups of 2 with each one having one of the younger children, the FP rider, and a 2nd adult, then both FP riders request a rider swap? The other 5 adults could then use the rider swap passes along with 1 of the original FP riders to ride again, essentially getting all 7 adults on the ride faster but only using 2 FP… Read more »

Yes, genius plan!
And it depends – sometimes rider swaps are only good for that day, sometimes more. It will be written on the paper they give you.

Hi, So if we did FP rider swap with adults rather than full family ride due to height restrictions, it ends up that my 4 year old has 1 remaining FP for the day, but he is unable to ride by himself on anything. Is it possible to book his 3rd fast pass for a ride he can’t go on and one of the adults use his last FP reservation ? OR are you unable to do this at it will be on his magic band?

How would you be able to use a 3 year olds fast pass/magic band but then not have them ride it? Will they really not say anything about that, let you scan the little ones band and then you take the older child? ?

Yup, you can use any band, no problem.

Hi Shannon!
Is this working for Flight of Passage and 7DMT? I’m worried about it for FOP as I’ve seen some boards saying the cast member won’t issue the rider switch unless all members of the party have a FP.

Can you confirm that it still works this way? Another board said it may have stopped allowing it- making EVERY person have a Fast Pass while using a Rider Swap. (I know it worked this way in the past, but reports say it stopped this week!)

I would love to know this as well! Where did you see this report?

we were there on this march. we didn’t try on FOP but we were unable to use rider switch on 7DMT because of this issue. we had 2FPs for 3 people. We got on space mountain, big thunder, splash, test track, soarin, star tours, no issues. it was very frustrating. I called Disney before reserving and the lady told me that all of us(3) have to have FPs to use Rider switch ( instead of 2 or 1FPs. this made us anxious but we didn’t get FP that way. we had 3 FPs on different time slot hoping we can… Read more »

Hi! Love your description. What if the parent waiting with the non riding child decides they don’t want to ride in Group 2 after all (my mom is unsure if she wants to do Space Mountain). Could 3 people from group 1 ride again? (We are a party of 7 and would have 5 Space FPs for group 1).

Fast pass day tomorrow and trying to get some final clarifications! We have 4 adults and 2 kiddos going with us. Can you book FP for Rock N Roll for 2 adults, for example, everyone get in FP line and since both kids are too small, have other 2 adults wait with them and ask for RS for the other 2 adults?

Can someone please update on if Shannon’s description is still working? If you’ve been so far this year in 2018! This sounds amazing, but there seems to be a lot of conflicting/confusing situations and it’s confusing the heck out of me. Are there any rides you’ve noticed that have started enforcing that ALL who wish to ride need a FP in order to even get a rider switch pass?? I don’t want to get there and be told we all needed an original FP for the big ride to be able to get the rider switch.

Thanks!

I guess we were one of unlucky one on March 2nd. I asked him what is the benefit of RS then he said kids can ride it twice. Was rider switch advertised as that as main purpose??

If a child get scared when it’s almost time get on the ride after we have been waiting can one adult leave with the child and get a rider swap pass to come back without waiting a second time?

Hi Shannon,

Lots of great info on your site – thank you! I’m sure this was thoroughly explained, but just a clarification. My wife and I are traveling with our 3yo and her parents. They likely won’t do rides and will always watch him. In this scenario can we, book one FP, use the rider switch at that same time for my wife, and then both go on together on one FP? Or is rider switch only for later in the day?

Thanks!

Hi Shannon! Fantastic site- I book FP soon so thank you for all the helpful information. I read through all of the comments but I want to verify that rider switch is still working and would work in my situation. We’re 4 adults (my husband and I + two grandparents). My 5 year old is 47″ but too scared to ride Flight of Passage. Can my husband I and get FP for FOP and then ride switch so that the 2 grandparents can ride without a FP? Can 4 adults ride switch with only 1 child? I always thought only… Read more »

With Avatar now open, I was able to get 2 fastpasses (we are a family of 6 with one child below the height limit. From what I read My husband and child A could go with the 2 fast passes and I could go with child B and C with the rider swap passes?

Hi Shannon,
Helpful post, per the norm for your site.

Our family of 6 is visiting in May and we’ll get to experience Pandora for the first time! Not sure if you’ve covered this elsewhere, but I would love to hear your strategy for using Rider Switch in order to ride Flight of Passage more than once.

Thanks so much!

-Jonathan

am i able to book fast passes for space mtn for my husband, daughter (10) and son (8) and then get rider switch so i can go back later and ride wtih 10 and 8 year old again, but then book my fast pass and my other daughter (5) fp for barnstormer and ride that while the other ones are on space mtn. i was told that when we get to space mtn all of us need to have fast passes or the cast member won’t issue us a rider switch. so if i have it for barnstormer are they… Read more »

Is this working in Pandora too? We are a family of four; mom, dad, 5YO, and 2 YO. I would like to try to FP FOP for dad and FP Navi for mom + 5YO in the same time frame… we all go to FOP to get a rider switch… mom and kids ride Navi while dad rides FOP… mom and possibly 5 YO (if she grows another 1/2 inch and is brave enough) return later to ride FOP on the rider switch. Will this work? They will give us a FOP rider switch on 1 FP?

How does rider swap work if the child (tall enough but young) decides not ride last minute because they are scared? Can they wait off to the side of the loading area with one parent and then can the parents trade places so that the other one can ride? Can a 6 year old wait with the CMs while both parents ride ?

Hi Shannon, I have been told that they are not allowing this scheme anymore as it wouldn´t be fair that families qith young children would double their fastpasses. Do you know anything about it? I am scared of doing it and missing my chance at the ride 🙁

Hi Shannon! Love your site/podcast – really helping me plan our first family WDW trip coming up. I am reading reports of Rider Swap not quite working like this for SDMT any longer. Sounds like they make everyone in the group have a FP and then make the non-riders wait off to the side (instead of going to do something else cool with the little kids, then backtracking later for the swap). I was thinking of pairing SDMT up with Thunder Mountain and then doing Space Mountain at Rope Drop, so if SDMT won’t allow this, I need to rethink… Read more »

Hi Anne –
Did you take your trip yet? I’m curious if you ran into this issue at 7DMT… or if anyone else has as well.
Thanks!

Hi! We are going in a few weeks yet but when I made our 60 day out FP selections, I ended up having to split our group into two parties of two and will just pass the two year old along while each pair takes the ride and not going to risk trying to take the ride with just two FPs for four people. We will try the swap for space mountain and railroad ride instead.

Hi Shannon, can we save more of our FP if we just get one FP and do rider switch for my husband or me, and my three year old son rides once instead of twice? For example, my husband will be Group A by himself but when we return during our window, I would take my son. We will be traveling with my infant daughter, too. Thank you!

We are 2 adults and a 2 yo. Can we use the rider switch pass from the single rider line so that we’d both have a shorter wait time since we’ll be riding alone anyway.

If I have a 5 YO and 2 YO without a ticket I wouldn’t be able to double the fast passes, correct? Since the 2 YO will not have fastpass to switch with I will have to book the FastPass for the 5 YO for every ride?

I’m wondering the same thing, I’m confused!

Is there anything stopping the same adult/child from riding again using the rider switch pass? We are traveling with infant twins who won’t be able to ride, but there are some rides I won’t ride either. Could we still get the rider switch pass and use it to get my husband and 9yo on the same ride a second time?

What if the only one person rode the first time. Can he/she return with more riders not exceeding three people? Thank you!

Hi Shannon, I am heading to Disney world with my 3 year old, and 2 parents. My question is, if my mom stays with my daughter while dad and I ride and we get a rider swap but she decides she doesn’t want to use it, can dad and I go again a second time? Thanks

If we are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children. Could one adult use a FP and still get a child swap option, then group 2 would be the other adult and the oldest child? Then the adults could effectively have 6 FP/day, using three each to get rider swaps? Or is this “something you could do, but frowned upon”? This would only work if one of the children couldn’t/didn’t want to go on the ride, which is legitimate…

Hi there! We are making our reservations in two days so I’m hoping you can help me clear my mind! So we have four adults and one 1.5 year old. The baby will not have a ticket attached to her band as she is free at the parks. So would I just get two fast passes for each ride alternating between the four adults? Ex: adult 1+3 get fastpasses all of us go to the front Rider 1+3 go in while rider 2+4 wait work the baby. Then they come back and Rider 2,4 and 3 go again? Or do… Read more »
Can an adult use a child’s band and their fastpass? We have 4 adults and 2 children. To maximize this I booked myself and 2 adults in a roller coaster, and then also booked my husband to go on a ride with my daughter. If my daughter chicken out and decides not to go can I use her band and FP to ride with my husband so he doesn’t have to go alone? I know kids can change bands and it make sure no difference. Just wondering if they paid attention to whether the FP was a kid or an… Read more »
Can you get multiple rider swap passes? I am booking fast passes in the am. We are a group of 2 families. 4 adults, 2 children, and 1 infant. As I understand my husband, daughter and I could fastpass on ride, get a rider switch which could be used for the other couple and their daughter. Then flip flop it and use their fast pass for a different ride. I would love to maximize it so the girls could ride twice. Is it possible for me and my daughter to FP and get a rider switch, and my girlfriend and… Read more »

Is there rider swap for TS Mania?

Hi Shannon,
We are making our Fast Pass reservations in the morning (July 14)! Quick question and I hope you get this… We have a 50″ tall son and a 40″ tall daughter. If both my husband and I would like to go with our son on Rock’n’Rollercoaster, would they still let us get a rider switch even though our daughter isn’t tall enough to ride? I’m worried they’ll say, “Your daughter can’t ride anyway, so we can’t give out the Rider Swap.” Thanks for your time!

Thank you Shannon! Do they offer rider switch for TS Mania?

Hi there! This is all GREAT info! My question is this: you mention the 8 year old riding by using the 3 year old’s fastpass. How does that work? I am familiar with how to book the fastpasses, but how can the 8 year old use the 3 year old’s? Just walk up to the magicband scanner and have the 3 year old scan bu the 8 year old enters the line?

Thanks for the info, Shannon!! This might be a stupid question, but does the thumb print scan not have to match the magic band if the 8 yr old and 3 yr old switch? Thanks for your help! Hope you are having fun at the Expo!!

Hi Shannon – We have a 6 (46″), 5 (42″) and 2 year old. Will 1 adult be able to accompany the 6 & 5 year old for rides that they are over the height requirement for? Or does it need to be a 1:1 ratio?

I’m sorry if you have already answered this one, but here is my question. We have Dad, Mom, 9-yr old, 2-yr old, and two adult friends. How would we make this work so that the 9-yr old can ride multiple times as shown in your lovely chart above :o)?
thank you!!!

Im curious about how fast passes work for Enchanted tales with belle, meet cinderella, and other character meets. Do I need a fast pass for the adult accompanying the kids or could I focus their fast passes on character meets. (My kids are 6, 4, and an infant) Also is it safe to assume that a non ticket holder (infant) cannot acquire fast passes?

Hi Shannon! I love all of your posts and your podcast! Super helpful 🙂 We are going in Aug. and we can start reserving fastpasses this Thursday. I feel like I understand how it works I just want to be completely positive before I start reserving.
There are 7 of us going- 5 adults and 2 children (7yrs and 1yr) would this scenario work?
Fast pass for adults 1 and 2 and 7yr old
Rider switch for adults 3,4,5 and 7yr old?

Hi we are visiting in August this year 2 adults my 10 year old son and 4 year old. I’ve booked fp+ on space mountain for me and my 10 year old can we use rider swap for my husband to then go on with my 10 year? Thanks

Can I use rider swap even though my 10 year old is big enoughbut doesn’t wish to go on the ride? Our 12 year old will go on

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.

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