Have you ever wondered how you’ll enjoy the “grown-up” rides when traveling with little ones? Parents with children who are too young or too small to ride tend to give up the chance to ride the rides themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way! Disney Parks are not “all or nothing.” In fact, they offer a great solution — and it’s free!
All About Disney Rider Switch
Several attractions at the Disney Parks have a minimum height requirement. Unfortunately, not everyone reaches the line. Sometimes those who do reach the line are a bit fearful or reluctant to ride, but still need a guardian to stay with them while they sit it out.
For these instances Disney has an amazing option that allows the rest of the family to still enjoy all the rides. This service is called “Rider Switch.”
Basically they allow your travel party to split into two. One group will ride immediately while the other waits with the non-rider(s). Then they’ll switch — thus the name RIDER SWITCH! 🙂 — without having to wait in line a second time.
How to do Rider Switch
1 : Locate the Rider Switch cast member.
They are typically at the entrance to the ride. Let the cast member know you would like to use Rider Switch. Everyone in your party needs to be present. (My husband thought there was no need to bring our non-rider to the cast member, but Disney wants to confirm why you are using the rider switch system.)
2 : Do you have a fastpass?
The castmember will ask if you have a fastpass or if you are coming through the stand-by line. If you have the ride fastpassed, your time for the first party to ride starts immediately. If it is stand-by, then the time will start based on the current wait time for the attraction. (We were not asked this every time, more so on the highly popular rides like Flight of passage.)
3 : Define your two parties.
Decide who is staying out, who is riding first (with Adult #1), and who will ride the second time around (with Adult #2). You can have up to two others in your second ride party.
4 : Scan your MagicBands to get your Rider Switch passes.
The castmember will scan the MagicBand or card of Adult #2 (who is staying with the non-rider first) along with any others riding the second time.
5 : First group rides.
The first party rides the ride while Adult #2 waits with the non-rider.
6 : Second group rides.
Once the first party is finished Adult #1 swaps with Adult #2. Adult #2 then rides along with the others who scanned their bands in the beginning while Adult #1 stays out with the non-rider.
Tips and Tricks
- Adult #2 and the other members riding the second time get to go through the fastpass line. You’ll be able to see this in your MyDisneyExperience app as a normal fastpass. It will show the exact guests riding the second time.
- Adult #2 does not have to immediately ride the ride with the other two family members, you can wait and go eat or catch another attraction. Your reservation has a date on it but no expiration of time.
- While the castmember for Rider Switch is usually at the front of the line, you may find them holding the side away from the entrance. If you’re not sure, just ask.
- The adult staying out does not have to stay there at the ride. They can go and enjoy other Disney magic with the non-riders. Here are a few examples of how I utilized this at each park.
- At Magic Kingdom while my family rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, my daughter and I enjoyed Dumbo.
- At Epcot while the family enjoyed Soarin’, my husband and daughter rode Living with the Land.
- At Hollywood Studios while my family rode Rock’n’Roller Coaster, my daughter and I watched Beauty and the Beast.
- At Animal Kingdom while the family rode Everest, my husband and daughter enjoyed exploring Dinoland.
While participation may be subject to change, here are some attractions currently offering Rider Switch:
- Magic Kingdom Park
- Goofy’s Barnstormer
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Mission: Space
- Test Track
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours
- Tower of Terror
- Animal Kingdom Park
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
- Kali River Rapids
- Primeval Whirl
Want to know more? Talk with your favorite A Time to Treasure Travel agent.
Post by Jacalyn Allen