When visiting Disney with smaller children, it is important to know as many planning details as possible. Especially learning how to use the Rider Switch program at Walt Disney World.
There are several different reasons why you might want or need to use Rider Switch, which is also commonly referred to as child swap or parent swap.
This review will cover using Rider Switch at Disney World and all of the attractions that offer the program in all four parks. Below we’ll go over the following topics:
- What exactly is Disney Rider Switch?
- How To Do Disney World Rider Switch
- Rider Switch Example
- Rider Switch with FastPass+
- Attractions with Rider Switch
- Rise of the Resistance: Rider Switch
What exactly is Disney Rider Switch?
Rider Switch is Walt Disney World’s program that allows guests with children to experience select attractions when the child isn’t eligible to ride. In some cases, a child might not be eligible to ride because they don’t meet the Walt Disney World Height Requirements. In other cases, a child might not want to ride the attraction due to fear or various reasons.
When these instances happen, this leaves you with a minor who can’t be left behind while your party joins the line to experience an attraction. Situations like these could be frustrating, especially if you aren’t aware of Disney’s solution to the problem.
How To Do Disney World Rider Switch
- First, visit the attraction with your group and ask the cast member at the entrance for a rider switch entitlement. They’ll typically scan the returning guest’s magic band or ticket. Let the cast member know how many guests will be returning with you.
- When the cast member scans the band of the person waiting outside (not riding first), it will issue them a return time along with the number of guests that will be returning to ride with you.
- Next, the member of your group who is riding first with eligible children will enter the standby queue to ride the attraction.
- At this point, the returning guest who is waiting outside might elect to do something else nearby with the uneligible party until you finish the ride.
- When the initial party exits the attraction, locate the rest of your group.
- The member of your party who is waiting on the rider switch can then go and validate their entitlement with the cast member at the ride’s entrance.
- This second person experiencing the attraction will be allowed to enter through the Rider Swap queue and forgo the standby portion. Here you will scan your magic band or ticket.
- Remember, if this second member of your party waited alone initially, they could bring up to two guests back to the attraction with them. Make sure to get those entitlements scanned to your band initially.
- Since Rider Switch has gone digital, the waiting party will be assigned a one-hour return window to experience the attraction. There is an additional 10 minute grace period. In the event that the attraction you are experiencing has a longer than 70-minute line, this will be taken into account.
- If you were to experience any issue with the second guest returning, make sure to explain the situation to the cast member. If, for some reason, they do not resolve your issue, stop by a guest services team in the park. They have blue umbrella kiosks set up in the park to assist guests.
Example of using Rider Switch at Disney
- You have a family of five with children ages 3, 6, and 11 years old.
- Everyone, except the three-year-old, qualifies to experience Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
- The entire family approaches the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
- Dad receives the Rider Switch entitlement and waits with the three-year-old. They might do a little shopping or pick up a snack.
- Mom rides Big Thunder Mountain Railroad via the standby queue with the six and eleven-year-old.
- This first group then exits the attraction and meets Dad with the three-year-old.
- Dad takes the six and eleven-year-old back to the attraction entrance and redeems the Rider Switch entitlement.
- Dad and kids experience the attraction without having to wait in the standby line this time.
The idea of Rider Switch is that if you have multiple members of your party, then you don’t have to experience the attraction by yourself. This also works well when a family is visiting with a single child for the first time. You might have to experience some attractions by yourself, but it alleviates both parents from having to wait in more than one long line per ride.
Can you use Rider Switch with FastPass+ at Disney?
FastPass is not available at this time.
Yes, Rider Switch works the same way with FastPass+ as the above-described instructions. When greeting the cast member at the attraction entrance to scan your initial FastPass+, you will need to alert the cast member that your party needs Rider Switch and has FastPass+.
So when planning your vacation, make sure to prioritize your FastPass+ with plans to use Rider Switch.
Attractions with Rider Switch at Disney World
Here are the current attractions that offer the Rider Switch program at Walt Disney World per park.
- The Barnstormer
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Test Track
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continues
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (See below)
- Avatar’s Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
- Kali River Rapids
Additionally, Walt Disney offers several different programs for guests with disabilities. You can familiarize yourself with these programs here on Disney’s site.
Can you use Rider Switch on Rise of the Resistance?
Yes, you can use Rider Switch on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. However, your party must have a boarding group to experience Rise of Resistance.
What to do while my family is in line and I’m attending to a smaller child?
There’s no need to stand outside an attraction and wait for your party to finish while using Rider Switch. Each park has different attractions that are, in most instances, easy for anyone to experience.
A few of those attractions include spinners like Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and Dumbo at Magic Kingdom. You could always do “it’s a small world” or ride Prince Charming Regal Carrousel as well.
Over at Epcot, you might want to take a spin on The Seas with Nemo and Friends or Figment’s Journey into Imagination.
Hollywood Studios has several shows to experience, like the Frozen Celebration Sing-Along, or you might enjoy a walk through Walt Disney Presents.
At Animal Kingdom, there are tons of animal encounters and walk-through trails to enjoy. Or you might want to head over to Dinoland U.S.A. for a ride on TriceraTop Spin.
A few other ideas are participating in character meets, doing a little shopping, or grab a tasty treat!
Again these are just a few things that come to mind. There are plenty of options, and you should definitely use this waiting period time to your advantage.
Final Thoughts on Rider Switch
Rider Switch is a great program that you don’t want to miss out on if your group is eligible. The thought of two people from one family having to wait separately for an hour or more for the same ride is not a situation you want to end up experiencing.
The good thing is that Disney has taken these potential problems into account. The bad thing is there are so many need-to-know things when it comes to planning a vacation.
I often hear so many people telling me that they wish they had known this before their vacation because they would have planned things differently. Rider Switch is just one of the few things that’s important to know.
While we cover a good deal of information on the site, Resorts Gal specializes in providing detailed information about the Walt Disney World Resorts. Browse our Disney Resort Reviews to begin planning your next Disney vacation.
And if you are planning a trip to one of the Disney water parks, check out our full ride guide to Disney’s Blizzard Beach.
Don’t miss out on our full list of Disney restaurant reviews. They include character dining, signature dining, table service, and quick service.
Good luck using Rider Switch on your Disney vacation!