If you’re planning a trip to Disney and have kids of all ages, then the child swap Disney function will be a lifesaver. While it can be referred to as many things: child swap, rider switch, and rider swap, it is essentially the same thing. Disney rider switch allows one parent/adult to wait with a child while the other parent rides. Then, the adults switch. I will share some tricks to help you make the most out of the Disney rider swap so that you can ride even more. Here are the details on how the rider swap Disney system can work to your advantage.
The Basics: How to Use Disney Rider Switch
If you are a Disney first timer or are new to using the Disney child swap here is how it goes. In order to use the Disney rider switch, you must have a child that is either is under the height limit for that attraction or simply does not want to ride. The whole family goes together to the entrance of the line and lets a Cast Member know that they wish to use the Disney child swap service. Then an adult (and another guest) rides while the other adult and the non-riders wait or go do something else.
This means that if you are a family with an older child and a younger one, one adult can ride with the two big kids, while the other one waits with the baby. Then, the kids can go again with the other adult. Disney used to allow 2 extra guests to participate in the rider switch, but the policy changed in 2021. You may get lucky, so if you have older kids that want to ride again with the other parent, it could work if you try and ask nicely.
The cast members no longer give you a Disney child swap pass like they used to. Now it is digital and is loaded onto your Magic Band. These are the official rules for the Disney Rider Swap Feature.
Child Swap Disney Attractions
Let’s pretend you are traveling with your little one and both adults want to ride the “bigger rides”. This Disney rider switch option lets one adult ride while the other one stays outside with the little one and then the second adult swaps and doesn’t have to wait the line (they will send you through the Lightning Lane). Here are the height restrictions for all four Disney parks and which attractions have the Disney rider swap option.
Attractions that Offer Child Swap Disney
- Thunder Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Goofy’s Barnstormer
- Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
- Frozen Ever After
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Mission Space
- Test Track
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Star Tours
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- Expedition Everest
- Kali River Rapids
Rider Swap Disney and Using a Lightning Lane
You can use the rider swap Disney feature with your Lightning Lane selection. If you don’t know much about the Genie+ system (which is the system to get your Lightning Lanes formerly known as fastpasses, then I suggest you book your travel with me. I am a Disney Vacation Planner, with the Vacationeer, and can help you when trying to decide which Lightning Lanes to use when you purchase Genie+. My services are complimentary to those who book a vacation package or even tickets.
You can use the Disney Rider Swap feature and a Lightning Lane; however, the loophole that once existed is gone. Anyone who wants to ride has to have a Genie+ reservation. You used to be able to book a fastpass for Mom and then another for Dad and then use the rider switch, but those days are long gone.
What to do While Waiting for the Others Riding
While you are waiting for the rest of your group, consider doing something instead of just sitting around. I mean, you are in Disney World; there’s plenty to do! Consider grabbing a snack like Dole Whip, or seek out some air conditioning at a store and do some window shopping. You could also open up the My Disney Experience App and check to see what’s going on in your vicinity, such as a character greeting, special event, or even a ride with little/no wait.
Final Thoughts on the Rider Swap Disney Feature
While this does take some planning and strategy, using the child swap at Disney is a great way to still do all of the rides even if you have a baby or non-rider. We have been able to take advantage of the Disney Rider Swap on various trips in the past and can still use it when we travel in a larger group with little ones.
Disney Restaurant Recommendations
Disney dining options continue to improve. Here are some of my recommendations when visiting Disney World:
LAND AND SEA PACKAGE
Are you looking to combine a Disney Cruise vacation with a Disney World stay? Nothing extends the magic more than combining a Disney cruise with your WDW vacation. I can help book your stay at one of the Value, Moderate, or Deluxe resorts, book your dining, and Lightning Lanes. It may make sense to stay off-site, if you are considering staying nearby, check out these options on the best family resorts in Orlando. To try and cut down on some costs, you may want to take a look at how to do Disney on a budget and what to bring on the trip using this Disney packing list.
If you are planning on doing both a visit to Disney World and a Disney Cruise, I recommend doing your trip to the parks first and then finish it off with a Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral. Here’s why – while a Disney World vacation is fantastic, it is not always relaxing. You are waking up early, running around the parks, and trying to make it to the next attraction for days. On a Disney Cruise, you will vacation at a much slower pace and be pampered by the signature Disney service. In addition, Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is probably one of the best beach vacations you’ll ever have!
If you have not booked your Disney Cruise yet and are just looking at options, I would recommend using a travel agent to help you with the planning and give you some onboard credit as a thank you for using them. I have been on 5 Disney Cruises in the past 8 years and am a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. I can share my tips and tricks about cruising with Disney, provide free onboard credit, review check-in procedures, and go over what types of things to do on/off the ship. By the way, my services are completely free! If you’re interested in a free quote or even if you have already booked and would like to transfer it over so that I can help you, email me and we can get started.
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16 thoughts on “Rider Swap Disney: How to Use Disney Child Swap”
So cool. I’m still amazed by all of the Disney features and ride scenarios!
Such a great option! Thanks for the tips!
I haven’t heard of this before! How neat! Thanks for the great tips. We have only been to Disneyland but hope to visit Disney World soon!
So many great tips! I am definitely pinning this for our next Disneyland trip!
This is super helpful – we have taken full advantage of rider swap on our many visits to Disney!
Wow! You’ve got it all planned put. Great tips.
These are great tips! We have 2 older teens. No one younger. Almost makes sense to have one younger child to accompany us to take advantage of riding the rides more often! LOL jk
This is so smart Our kids are now at an age and a height that we don’t need to use this feature, but I sure wish we had known to use it back when. Great tips for maximizing the rider swap and Fast Pass concurrently. You would save a ton of wait time using these tips.
Great tips! I will remember this the next time I visit with my nieces and nephews.
What makes this program is even better, the second group don’t even have to go back in the line and can do something while waiting. Disney really knows how to make their visitors have a great time!
I love using the child swap, works out great for those of us that don’t want to miss out on a ride or two!
Love this schedule, the rider swap program is so useful when visiting with little ones.
These are such great tips for using rider swap with kids! We’re heading to Disney next month with kids of different heights and I’ll definitely be putting this to use.
We just found child swap and love it!!! With kids ranging from 1 to 9 years old, it’s the perfect way to keep all of our kiddos happy! Great article about such an important part of happy family travel!
Hi, we are going on May, but I have a question, we are three adults, my mom, my husband and me, AND 3 kids ( 3, 7 and 7 yearold), can we still make the child swap? Because i want yo use like you AND not having fastpass for everyone in every ride… Thank you!
Hi Nancy! Yes you can. You can use it for the 3 year old. What you can do is you schedule a Fastpass for what you want for 4 people (let’s pretend) and the whole group walks up to the ride and asks for a child swap. They add it to your magic band or ticket, then 4 people ride, while one stays with the 3-year-old. When those people come out, the person who stayed w the 3 year old rides and up to 3 people can go w that person on the Fastpass lane. Isn’t that great?!