Tips and Tricks for Disney World Rider Switch

 

Rider switch is confusing, especially for first timers. Even this seasoned veteran was confused how it works and how we can maximize our FastPass allotments each day. There’s a lot of things you can ready online, but what’s up to date and what actually makes sense for the average user?

I read about Disney A LOT and this is one I read up on quite a bit before our last Disney trip in December, the first time we took our daughter. I also corresponded a lot with friends who have been traveling with little ones several times.

The point of rider switch is twofold:Rider Switch Ticket

1. Allow adults to enjoy the “big kid” rides at Disney
2. Allow families with children of varying age ranges and interest in thrill seeking attractions to enjoy everything Disney has to offer

Families with 2 adults and toddlers or pre-school age children only

For those without older kids, this guide is for you. Mom and dad are taking their 3 year old daughter, Susie on her first Disney World trip. SO exciting! Susie wants to meet Anna & Elsa, Ariel, and ride the Disney World railroad. Mom and dad really want to try the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and relive the excitement of Space Mountain from their previous trips before having a child. So how does rider switch work?

With or without a FastPass, your general instructions are the same – your entire party proceeds to the cast member at the entrance of the attraction. The majorly important part is that the child needs to be present for this. You request a rider switch ticket and it will be issued to you. This works like the old FastPass system and is a paper ticket with no expiration time. It can be used any time during that day.

  • Mom scheduled a FastPass for dad to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while she and Susie go to meet Ariel at her Grotto using their two FastPasses.
  • Dad uses his FastPass and then meets the family at pre-determined location (Pete’s Silly Sideshow)
  • Mom takes the rider switch ticket she received earlier in the day while dad takes Susie to meet Goofy and Donald.
  • Mom gets to use the FastPass line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train utilizing her rider switch ticket
  • Mom meets dad and Susie back at Pete’s and then continue on with their park time
  • EACH GUEST ONLY USES 1 FASTPASS

Families with 2 adults with both older children AND pre-schoolers/toddlers

This is where I think the system gets a bit more confusing. The rider switch tickets clearly state that the pass is good for UP TO 3 guests per ticket. For a family of 5: mom, dad, Brian age 10, John age 6 and Susie age 3, everyone can still have fun riding rides with height requirements. I’ll use the same scenario as above but adding the other two boys into the mix.

 

  • Mom scheduled a FastPass for dad, Brian, and John to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while she and Susie go to meet Ariel at her Grotto using their two FastPasses.
  • All 3 boys use their FastPasses and then meets the family at pre-determined location (Pete’s Silly Sideshow)
  • Mom takes the rider switch ticket she received earlier in the day while dad takes Susie to meet Goofy and Donald.
  • Mom takes Brian and John with her and uses FastPass line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train utilizing her rider switch ticket
  • Mom and the boys meets dad and Susie back at Pete’s and then continue on with their park time
  • EACH GUEST ONLY USES 1 FASTPASS

The kids are the huge beneficiaries of this system as they can ride both times (once with a FastPass and once with the rider switch ticket).

What if I don’t have a FastPass?

The system also works well without a FastPass. You will just have to use the standby line for the first adult (or adult and kids) riding. Same goes for the adult staying behind with kids that are too small to ride. They can enjoy a non-FastPass character meet and greet, splash around in Casey’s Splash and Soak in Magic Kingdom, grab a snack or find another nearby distraction.

A HUGE ASTERISK to this plan. While it has been tested and works for families, it is up to the discretion of the cast member to make changes to this policy. It is a slight risk not including all of your party members in big ticket attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train if you plan on rider switching. For our upcoming trip, I did book my husband and I both FastPasses for that attraction but SPLIT our passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If for some reason, I couldn’t ride it, I wouldn’t be as upset as not riding Seven Dwarfs again.

Still have questions about this process? Feel free to comment below and I’d be happy to clear up any pieces to the puzzle! While this process is still newer to me (having traveled as an adult without kids more than with them), I have a firm understanding of it!

 

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14 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for Disney World Rider Switch

  1. I am going to Disney later this week and I am intrigued by the option. My wife, mother in law, and I are taking my two kids (age 5 and 2) to Hollywood studios and Magic Kingdom. Could you give me an example of how this would work with a ride at each – say toy story mania at HS, and my daughter wants to do Ariel under the sea and say the mine train ride?

    • Hi Brian! With a third adult, it makes the coordination a bit more tricky. Two adults will need FastPass allotments and the third can use the rider switch pass. This system would not work with Toy Story Mania as there is no height requirement for children. For Seven Dwarfs and Ariel, here’s how it would work:
      Both parents proceed to seven dwarfs with both children. One parent and mother in law (if she wants to ride) could ride with FastPass (NO children this time around)
      Other parent takes both kids over to Under the Sea using FastPass if line is over 10 minutes (if under 10 minutes, just ride standby)
      Other parent takes older child to Seven Dwarfs using Rider Switch pass while mother in law and first adult do something with the 2 year old (Pete’s Silly Sideshow??)

      That being said, I’m still not 100% comfortable without all members of the party scheduled for Seven Dwarfs. I have both adults in my party scheduled for FastPass and will make a change on the fly if it does work exactly as I had planned as above!

      Have a MAGICAL vacation!!

    • YES! Thank you for the reminder! Every rider switch attraction we tried (including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) worked just fine. Every time we requested a ticket, our daughter had to be present and they asked measure her about 50% of the time. The first Cast Member at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train asked if we both had a FastPass and I fibbed and said no because I really wanted to see how easily the process worked 🙂 We each used our FastPasses and my husband rode again using our rider switch ticket later that evening.

      Be on the lookout for a new blog within the next couple of days about how it worked a little bit differently at a few attractions and how long you can use the tickets.

  2. Hi there. We are a family of 2 adults, 1 five year old girl and 1 two yr old boy. Could I get a FP+ for just myself while the other 3 waited and then get a switch pass for my wife and daughter to ride later? That would free up a FP+ for my wife and daughter to meet another princess.

    • Yes you can! That’s exactly what we did on our trip and it worked out perfectly. It hinges on your 2 year old, so he will need to be present when you request the rider switch ticket to prove that there is someone too small to ride! We used it mostly in Magic Kingdom but it was also effective for the other 3 parks.

  3. Hi, we are doing our first family Disney trip for my 3 year old’s birthday. It’ll be me, my husband, my 3yr old and my 3 month old. How would that work? Also, would we need fast passes?

    • It depends on what your 3 year old plans on riding vs just adults riding! For major attractions, always FastPass 1 adult. Rider switch works as an additional FP. When are you traveling?

  4. Hi Melissa! I’m less than a week away from being able to book our advance FastPass+ reservations for our upcoming Disney trip in October! We’re very excited! I’d like to ask you a question about the rider switch pass. We are going to Disney in a group of 5 adults and 2 kids, and I would like to try to use FastPass+ and rider switch so we can get on more rides with less wait in line. My daughter is about 42″ so she’ll be able to go on some, but not all, of the rides with height requirements. My son is 2 and won’t be able to get on any of them. Let’s say we want to go on a ride that my kids can’t ride. I was thinking about getting FastPass+ for 3 of the adults, having the other 2 adults watching the kids. Those 2 would not have a FastPass+ for this ride. So my question is, would we be able to obtain a rider switch pass for the 2 adults watching the kids? Then, the 2 adults watching the kids could have a FastPass+ for a different ride, and the 3 adults that rode the first ride could get a rider switch pass for this ride? Does this make sense? Would it work? Thanks!

    • Hi Brett! How exciting that your trip is coming up quickly! I hope you have an amazing time!! What your planning makes sense but only one adult is able to use a rider switch ticket so it would have to be 4 adults with a FastPass and one without to watch the kids (this adult can have a FastPass for another attraction with the 2 kiddos – whether it’s a character meet an greet or family friendly ride). The other piece of it 3 of the adults will have to go in before the rest of the group (leaving 2 adults and the 2 kiddos that aren’t riding together) to request the rider switch ticket. Essentially from Disney’s perspective, if there are more than 2 adults in a group, one can stay behind without utilizing rider switch and everyone should have a FastPass and go in shifts. If you have more questions, let me know!! 🙂

      • Thanks Melissa! I don’t know why I find this to be so confusing. 🙂 Just so I’m confident I understand… a rider switch ticket can only be used by 1 adult? Everything I’ve read online says that it can be used by up to 3 “guests” so I assumed more than one of those could be an adult. Not true?

      • It’s tricky the first time! Once you get there and do the process once, you’ll totally get it! When you use the rider switch ticket, only one adult (and up to 2 children can utilize it). As I’m thinking about it, the better idea would be to check in for your rider switch with 3 adults (one of them getting the rider switch). Then 2 adults can stay back with the kids (one would have a FastPass and the other would use rider switch so you could go together).

  5. We are making our fast pass reservations soon and I had a quick question. In the past we did all of the reservations with my husband’s My Disney Experience account and it did fast passes for both of us together. If we want to schedule different fast passes (we have a 1 and 3 year old so will do rider swap) do I need to get my own account to do that? Or can we still do it on the one account?

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