There have been some changes made to the Rider Switch Service since the writing of this blog. Please see the updated info as of July 2018 here.
This free service for families with young children is often overlooked. Using it correctly can enhance your vacation and take some stress out of your park days while saving valuable time.
If guests in your party can’t or don’t want to board an attraction, you don’t have to miss out! If a child does not meet the height requirement or a guest does not wish to board a particular attraction, no problem! With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider (or riders) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, they can supervise the non-riding guests, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait through the regular line again!
Rider Switch is available at select attractions at all 4 Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
To Use Rider Switch:
- First check with a Cast member to see if Rider Switch is offered at the attraction in question. I have found that some cast members are more familiar with the option than others.
- Once at the attraction, approach the greeting Cast Member with your entire party. At least one adult member of your party and the guests who are not riding are “Party 2.” They can wait outside the line or go enjoy another area of the park.
- The other party members (“Party 1”) ride the attraction. “Party 1” will be given a paper Rider Switch pass that is to be given to the adult in “Party 2” once “Party 1” has ridden the ride.
- After riding the attraction, Party 1 locates Party 2 and gives the Rider Switch pass to the adult member who will be riding. Party 1 takes over supervision of the non-riding children or guests. The Rider Switch Pass expires a few days after the current date. So, if something happens and you don’t get to ride right after Party 1, you can still enjoy the ride later on in the day or later on in your vacation when it is convenient.
- Party 2 enters the line (usually the fastpass line) and boards the attraction without having to wait in the regular queue a second time. The Rider Switch Pass must be presented to a Cast Member at this time.
If the person in Party 2 waited alone with the child, he or she may bring one or two other guests back to ride the attraction with him or her. Please note that only 2 additional guests are allowed per Rider Switch Pass.
Fast Pass is not required to use Rider Switch.
- ***PLAN FAST PASSES STRATEGICALLY** If there is an attraction that you KNOW you will need to use rider switch for, then both adults don’t need a fastpass since the second adult will get the rider switch pass to use. Your travel agent can help you plan your fastpasses ahead of time.
- Procedures vary somewhat at each attraction and it sometimes depends on the cast member. Some attractions will offer the rider switch pass as soon as you approach the line, others will give you the pass once you are done and exiting the ride.
- Some cast members will want to see everyone in your party together, others will take your word for it (for example, I was nursing our infant and my hubby approached the line with the empty stroller and was still given the rider switch pass for me to use later even though I wasn’t present. However, at another attraction, the cast member wanted to see all of us and look us in the eye before one of us was allowed in the line.)
- Generally, if a ride offers a Single Rider Line, you might as well just do that line and no pass is needed. Ask the Cast Member which option is best. In my experience, they will point you toward the quickest option.
Attractions Currently Offering Rider Switch
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®
Kali River Rapids
I’d love to help you plan your next Disney vacation – I have plenty of tips for traveling with infants and toddlers and will help you plan your Fastpasses and Rider Switch options at each park. All of my services are free when you book with me.
Aleshia Sokoloski, Travel Planner affiliated with Travel with the Magic
Specializing in Universal Resorts and Disney Vacations including Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line.