Disney World rider swap (also know as Disney World child swap) is a handy tool to know how to use if you are traveling to Walt Disney World with children. This system allows a family to enjoy attractions that maybe the whole family isn’t tall enough to ride without having to wait in line twice, so it’s something that can drastically cut down on wait times for the more popular rides.
This post goes into more detail about the Disney World rider swap system with everything you need to know, as well as how you can use this system to your advantage to ride as many rides as possible!
Please note: with the introduction of the new Disney Genie system, we don’t yet know how rider swap will be impacted. Please continue to check back for more updates as they become available.
What is Disney World rider swap?
Put simply, rider swap at Disney World is a system that allows one member of a party to wait behind with a child that is too small to ride while everyone else enjoys the attraction, and then that party member can go through the FastPass line to enjoy the attraction with minimal wait.
The system is now completely computerized, meaning that it can all be done on a Magic Band without having to keep track of a paper FastPass; the rider swap will show up on your My Disney Experience account under the ‘FastPass’ tab and look like an additional FastPass for that particular ride.
To use rider swap, the party approaches a Cast Member at the outside of the attraction and tells them they wish to use rider swap. The Cast Member will need to see the child who is too small to ride, so make sure the little one is with you; we’ve even been asked to take a child out of a stroller to measure that they were in fact too small to ride, although this tends to vary based on the Cast Member.
The member or members of the party who will be waiting behind with the child will have their Magic Bands scanned and what will appear on their My Disney Experience account is essentially a FastPass for that ride, which will be good for the next hour (if for some reason the other party members are not off the ride in an hour, just let a Cast Member know that they’re not back yet and that hour time limit will be adjusted).
The other members then ride the ride, and when they return, you can switch and the other party members can go through the FastPass line.
The system can be used whether or not you have a FastPass for the attraction, although obviously the wait for the people riding first will be shorter if they do have one. If you have to wait in the stand by line, however, you can still user rider swap and the second party will still use the FastPass line to ride.
Does every ride offer this option?
No. This option is offered with every ride that has a height restriction, which makes sense since the purpose of the rider swap is to help out families who have a party member too small to ride. You can find a list of rides with height restrictions on the Walt Disney World website so you can see in advance which rides have this option and which ones your little one might be too small for.
Who can use rider swap?
Rider swap is complimentary for all guests at the Walt Disney World Resort, and is generally restricted to children who are too small to ride.
One thing to mention with this is that the Walt Disney World website doesn’t quite word the description like this; it actually says that children who are too small or do not want to experience an attraction are able to use this system, which would indicate that kids of any height or age can say they don’t want to ride, and rider swap can be used.
Although the Walt Disney World website says this, this has not been our experience in the parks and should not be counted on. We have, on more than one occasion, inquired about using rider swap when our child met the height limit but was too scared to ride, and were told no.
This seems to be a case of the Walt Disney World website not having up to date park information, so I definitely wouldn’t count on it, despite the particular wording.
The best way to use rider swap to your advantage
On select rides, we have been able to really use rider swap to our advantage. Because rider swap works like an additional FastPass, this means that the party members who are planning to wait with the child don’t need to book a FastPass for that particular ride.
This also means that those party members can then book different FastPasses, increasing the amount of FastPasses a party can have.
For example, if I was visiting with the parks with one other adult and a child and that child was too small to ride something, I could get a FastPass for that attraction and the other person wouldn’t have to because they could use rider swap. That person could then book a FastPass for a different ride and the opposite could happen elsewhere.
There are certain rides that seem to not allow this process, however. The more popular rides like Flight of Passage and Slinky Dog Dash require everyone in the party to have a FastPass for rider swap to be used in this manner, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this with the more popular attractions. We’ve had no problem doing this with the less popular attractions though.
The best use of time would of course be to ride another ride with the child waiting behind so be sure to read through the best rides for toddlers at Walt Disney World as well as the ultimate guide to taking a baby to Walt Disney World for some baby friendly rides as well.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World with children then knowing how and when you can use rider swap is absolutely essential; it’s such a great tool that allows all of the party members to experience an attraction without everyone having to wait unnecessarily.