How Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Rider Switch Works

My family has been going to Disneyland and Walt Disney World a lot in the last couple of years and we've gotten really good at a few things: eating Mickey ear bars, packing exactly what we need for the parks, and doing Rider Switch. Full confession, we did not take advantage of Rider Switch the first time we visited a Disney park and I'm still kicking myself. Doing Rider Switch allows Melanie to ride most rides TWICE while one parent cares for Finn (who is too short for them). Rider Switch is a fantastic way to get the most bang for your Disney buck so DO IT. And, for those wondering, here's how Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Rider Switch works:

My family has gotten really good at doing #RiderSwitch. Rider Switch is a fantastic way to get the most bang for your #Disney buck. And, for those wondering, here's how #Disneyland and #WaltDisneyWorld's Rider Switch works!Photo by: Annie Vovan

What Is Rider Switch?

Rider Switch (also called Kid Swap, Rider Swap, and Child Swap) is a great tool that Disneyland and Walt Disney World offers to those visiting the park with children of different heights, personalities, and abilities. Have a kid tall enough for a ride but your baby isn't? Rider Switch. Is one kid into riding thrill rides but the other is not? Rider Switch.

Rider Switch is when one person stays behind with the child who is unable to ride and the other members of your party ride with the child who is. Then, after they get off the ride, the adult who stayed behind gets to ride with the child who just rode the ride (and another guest, if desired). It's cool because everyone gets a chance to ride and one child gets to ride twice!

Just a note, each leg of the Rider Switch must have an ADULT (18+) in it. Anyone 17 and under is not eligible to do a Rider Switch as an adult in the party. For example, my husband does the first Rider Switch with Melanie while I wait with Finn – then, he waits with Finn while I ride with Melanie.

How Does Rider Switch Work?

The Rider Switch process is simple. You don't need any special passes or bands and it works with both the Standby line and FastPass line. I've broken it down by Standby Line and FastPass line (and detailed how it works at each park) for you:

Standby Line: Just have your entire party (including the child not riding) wait in the Standby Line together. Once you're all at the front of the line (i.e. at the beginning of the line by Cast Members), tell a Cast Member that you'll be doing a Rider Switch and show them the child not riding (in our case, Finn) and the adult not riding during the first round (usually, me).

At Disneyland, the second “waiting behind” party will have their tickets scanned and the first group will go ahead in the line for the ride. The party waiting behind will then wait (I like to find a spot by the exit of the ride) outside of the line for the first party to finish the ride. At that time, the adult in the first party will then wait with the non-riding child while the adult who waited the first time uses their tickets to take the riding child to the FastPass line for their turn to ride (if the ride does not have a FastPass line, you'll generally be allowed to board the ride at the exit or another pre-arranged spot – just ask a Cast Member).

At Walt Disney World, the first group riding will be given a special card on a lanyard and will go ahead in the line for the ride. This is later taken by a Cast Member and switched out for a ticket. HANG ON TO THE TICKET – you'll need to give that to the second group riding. The party waiting behind will then wait (I like to find a spot by the exit of the ride) outside of the line for the first party to finish the ride. At that time, the adult in the first party will then wait with the non-riding child while the adult who waited the first time takes the riding child to the FastPass line for their turn to ride – give the Cast Member at the start of the line the ticket your party received during the first round (if the ride does not have a FastPass line, you'll generally be allowed to board the ride at the exit or another pre-arranged spot – just ask a Cast Member).

FastPass Line: Just have your entire party (including the child not riding) wait in the FastPass Line together. Once you're all at the front of the line (i.e. at the beginning of the line by Cast Members), tell a Cast Member that you'll be doing a Rider Switch and show them the child not riding (in our case, Finn) and the adult not riding during the first round (usually, me).

At Disneyland, everyone in the party will have their tickets scanned (either paper or via the app) and then the first group will go ahead in the FastPass line for the ride. The party waiting behind will then wait (I like to find a spot by the exit of the ride) outside of the line for the first party to finish the ride. At that time, the adult in the first party will then wait with the non-riding child while the adult who waited the first time uses their tickets to take the riding child to the FastPass line for their turn to ride (if the ride does not have a FastPass line, you'll generally be allowed to board the ride at the exit or another pre-arranged spot – just ask a Cast Member).

At Walt Disney World, the first group riding will scan their MagicBands or tickets, then get a special card on a lanyard, and will go ahead in the line for the ride. This is later taken by a Cast Member and switched out for a ticket. HANG ON TO THE TICKET – you'll need to give that to the second group riding. The party waiting behind will then wait (I like to find a spot by the exit of the ride) outside of the line for the first party to finish the ride. At that time, the adult in the first party will then wait with the non-riding child while the adult who waited the first time takes the riding child to the FastPass line for their turn to ride – give the Cast Member at the start of the line the ticket your party received during the first round and scan your MagicBand/ticket (if the ride does not have a FastPass line, you'll generally be allowed to board the ride at the exit or another pre-arranged spot – just ask a Cast Member).

Why Do Rider Switch At All?

You don't have to do Rider Switch. There have been plenty of times that we've just had one person ride with Melanie and then moved on from that ride. However, Rider Switch is AWESOME if all the adults want a chance to ride and/or you have a kid who likes to ride attractions twice. Melanie LOVES getting to ride everything twice in a row and my husband and I really enjoy getting a chance to experience them with her.

How Many People Can Do Rider Switch?

One of the best things about Rider Switch is that each party can have three people – the adult in the party, the riding child, and another person. While my husband and I don't use this when we travel as a family (he goes with Melanie and then I go with her while we take turns waiting with Finn), on a recent trip to Disneyland, I used this feature to it's max! I visited Disneyland with the kids, my niece, and friends and being able to send two adults on the ride with Melanie, then switch out for two other adults, was really fun. This is also a nice feature for those of you with more than one kid who can ride – two kids get to ride twice!

Which Attractions Use Rider Switch?

Here's a complete list of Disneyland rides that allow Rider Switch and here's a complete list of Walt Disney World rides that allow Rider Switch.

Hope that helps y'all plan your next Disney adventure! Let me know if you have any additional Rider Switch tips in the comments.