Disney World Rider Switch Pass for Parents
Disney World Tips: Rider Switch Passes for Families Visiting Disneyworld
The Rider Swap Pass - commonly referred to as Baby Swap, Parent Swap , Child Switch passes, etc.- is an important tool for anyone traveling with someone who will not be big enough, brave enough, or physically able to ride certain rides or attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort and Theme parks. These special passes help minimize lines and long waits, allowing everyone who wants to ride a particular Disney ride or attraction to do so, while still accommodating the needs of the non-rider. Sadly, many people don't even know that Disney World offers this option so they end up waiting in line twice or, worse, one person doesn't get to ride certain attractions at all. Knowing how to get and use the Disney World Rider Switch passes will help you have a better Disney vacation.
All photos are my own. (c)Stephen Johnson.
How Do Rider Switch Passes Work at Disney World?
The Rider Switch Pass is important information for anyone traveling with children who will not be big enough - or brave enough - to ride certain attractions. The rider swap pass allows adults traveling with small children or family members with special needs to efficiently trade places on any attraction with a height restriction. You can always get a Rider Switch Pass when your child is too small for a height restricted attraction but some parents don't realize that you can also use this service for timid riders - the child who is physically tall enough for a particular attraction but is frightened and doesn't want to ride. Parents of adult special needs children (Downs Syndrome, etc) can also use this service. Here's how it works:
Standby Lines: Both parents take the toddler or younger child to the standby entrance and ask the Cast Member (Disney employee) how Rider Switch works for this particular attraction. In most cases, you will all have to go through the line together and, somewhere shortly before boarding the attraction, you will receive a pass that will let one parent exit with the non-rider while the rest of the party rides now. In most cases, the waiting adult will be issued a Rider Switch Pass that allows him or her to ride the attraction at any point in the day using the FASTPASS entrance. The Rider Switch Pass may have the number of eligible riders printed right on it. If not, ask the Cast Member how many riders can ride using the Rider Switch Pass. Disney knows that nobody likes to ride alone so at least two people can ride using one Rider Switch Pass. Other attractions will let up to three or four people ride using one Rider Swap Pass.
FASTPASS Lines: You use a similar method to get a Rider Switch Pass when using the Walt Disney World FASTPASS system. In this instance, you present your small child to the Cast Member at the FASTPASS entrance. Ask for a Rider Switch Pass. If it isn't already printed on the pass, ask how many people can accompany the Rider Swap Passholder. Being able to have one or more people accompany you is why you get a Rider Swap Pass - the waiting adult would end up riding alone if you just waited and used your FASTPASS+ reservations.
Here's how this looks with a more specific example - your baby is too small to ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror but your group has Tower of Terror FASTPASSes. When you go to ride Tower of Terror, take the baby to the Disney Cast Member at the FASTPASS and tell the Cast Member that you need a Rider Switch Pass and ask how many people can ride using the one rider swap pass. Three people can usually ride Tower of Terror using one Rider Switch Pass - the passholder and two extra friends/family members. The Cast Member gives you the pass to the adult who will wait with the baby while the others ride using their FASTPASS+ reservations. When they're done riding, the adult(s) who have already gone on the ride take the baby and then the adult who waited, along with two others, can then enter using the Rider Swap Pass at the FASTPASS Entrance.
Height Restriction Sign At Walt Disney World Resort
Poll - Have You Ever Used Disney's Rider Switch Pass System?
Have You Ever Used Disney's Rider Switch Pass System?
Why Disneyworld Theme Park Parent Swap Passes Are Important:
1.) Just from a practical standpoint, you need to know the most efficient means of letting everyone ride height restricted, scary, or intense ride or attraction.
2.) More importantly (at least for the older kids in your party), the baby actually gives you a tactical advantage during peak travel times. Because the Rider Swap Pass lets up to 3 people accompany the passholder, this is the best way to ensure that the older kids get to ride the headliners / thrill rides twice. This is a huge advantage and saves a lot of backtracking. Be sure the older kids know that the toddler is the reason they get to go twice - it should encourage sibling bonding.
Important note: Distributing actual Rider Switch Passes was implemented only a few years ago and there may be various adaptations or slight differences from attraction to attraction. For example, the last time we used this on Space Mountain, the cast member asked how many return riders we had. They then gave us that number of individual Rider Switch Passes, each good for only one rider.
TIPS for Using Child Swap Passes in the Disney Theme Parks
If you'd like to ride the attraction twice, be sure to get a Rider Switch Pass even if the waiting adult doesn't want to ride the ride.
You do not have to use the passes immediately. For example, if your group is at Epcot and needs to get through both Test Track and Mission Space using the Standby lines as soon as the park opens, get the Test Track Rider Switch Pass and let the first group of riders ride using the standby line. Then move on to Mission Space and do the same. Those riding using the Rider Switch Passes can do this after everyone else has gone through the standby lines when the lines are at their shortest. Those not riding again can enjoy the activities in the Mission Space Training Area at the end of the ride - there's even a play area there for the little one. The two rides are fairly close together so the minimal backtracking shouldn't be a problem. This works 2-ride approach works well at Splash Mountain & Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, at Tower of Terror & Rock'N Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios, and at Expedition Everest & Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme parks.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant at the Magic Kingdom theme park.
Poll - Have You Taken Young Children to Walt Disney World.
Some people wait until their kids are old enough to remember a Disney vacaiton while other have children as an excuse to head to WDW. How about you?
Tell us about your young travel companions...
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