A mom’s guide to Disney World Rider Switch

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Another Disney adventure in the books and I finally have a much better handle on rider switch (WITH photos)! We tried it all. The true rider switch, rider switch coupled with a FastPass selection, 2 FastPasses with no rider switch, and just using the single rider line. Everything worked better than I had planned (except the time the posted time at Splash Mountain was a LIE).

My first important mom note is that both adults DO NOT need a FastPass as long as you have a young one who is too small to enjoy the thrill ride of your choice. In our experience that was the key to every rider switch ticket we received. Our daughter was only measured once in all of the times we used rider switch. My guide focuses mostly on 2 adults with 1 child that’s too small, but it’s equally as useful if you have an older child who wants to enjoy thrill rides. The math says that one adult can start out with the equivalent of 6 FastPasses (the other adult will have 3 FastPasses and find 3 fun things to do without a FastPass).

The second important mom note is that you need to find something for the little one to do. Feel free to get creative or even just change a diaper or find a quiet spot to rest and have a snack.

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Traditional Rider switch ticket given at rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Soarin’.

Rider Switch with a FastPass

If you’ve got a FastPass for a thrill ride, you only need it for one adult (assuming you have 2 adults in your travel party). If you have more than 2 adults, keep it on the DL. Only TWO adults should present to make the request. Once you are inside your FastPass window, present a Cast Member at the attraction and ask for a Rider Switch ticket. There are two different styles of return tickets but the both work in the same way.

At rides like Soarin’ and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you receive what looks like the legacy/paper FastPasses. This is good for up to 3 people (1 adult and up to 2 children). At attractions like Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, they give the first rider a lanyard which gets brought up to the cast member right before they ride to bring back down to adult #2. This means you don’t have to be in your FastPass window when you request your rider switch pass.

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Rider switch lanyard given at the time of request for Splash Mountain (and Big Thunder Mountain, too). The first adult brings it to the cast member right before you board and then you are given the traditional legacy FasstPass

Rider Switch without a FastPass

If you don’t have a FastPass for an attraction that has a rider switch option, you can still use the benefits. The first adult will have to use the standby line and wait it out with the rest of the population. The other adult (and any additional kids – up to 2 kids plus one adult is allowed per rider switch ticket) will be able to use the FastPass line with the rider switch ticket.

Other options besides rider switch

Many attractions have a single rider line: Expedition Everest, Test Track, Rock n Roller Coaster to name a few. If you don’t have a FastPass, you can also use the single rider line + rider switch or 2 adults using the single rider line. If you have one thrill seeking adults and the other who is like me who doesn’t like the top thrill seeking rides, the single rider ride might be your best bet instead of splitting FastPasses. Test Track is much faster using the single rider line because you skip the car customization process.

What the “other” adult can do during rider switch

These are just some suggestions for the adult staying with the little one. A bathroom or snack break is also always an option (it uses up time for rides that are faster like Seven Dwarfs or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad). There are more beyond what is available. There are two columns: the first is if you are not using an additional FastPass and the second is if you are. If you have better suggestions, I’d love to hear them. We’re still a bit “green” in rider switch with only a 2 year old with us, so I welcome all sorts of user feedback!

Park Rider Switch Attraction Non-FastPass Options FastPass-able Attraction
Magic Kingdom Space Mountain Meet Buzz Lightyear (after 10 am)Pete’s Silly Sideshow: character meet and greet (check opening time)

People Mover

Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger SpinTomorrowland Speedway (32 inch requirement to ride)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Pete’s Silly Sideshow: character meet and greet (check opening time)Meet Gaston at his tavern

Casey Jr. Splash ‘n Soak

Meet Cinderella & RapunzelMeet Anna & Elsa

Dumbo

Prince Charming’s Carousel

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Laughin’ Place playground under Frontierland station railroadMeet Woody & Jessie near Splash Mountain entrance

Tom Sawyers Island

Not much very nearby – you can hike over to Jungle Cruise or Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Splash Mountain Laughin’ Place playground under Frontierland station railroadMeet Woody & Jessie near Splash Mountain entrance

Tom Sawyers Island

Ride the Railroad Around the loop

Not much very nearby – you can hike over to Jungle Cruise or Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Park Rider Switch Attraction Non-FastPass Options FastPass-able Attraction
Epcot Test Track The after-market: Tons of cars to climb in and out of and fun things for kids to enjoy! Epcot Character Spot
Soarin’ None really Living with the Land
Mission Space Exit has a play area for kids of all ages Epcot Character Spot
Park Rider Switch Attraction Non-FastPass Options FastPass-able Attraction
Hollywood Studios Rock n Roller Coaster Art of Disney Animation (or character meet and greet at the end of Hollywood Blvd – check daily schedule) Disney Jr Live on Stage (it’s not very close)
Tower of Terror Art of Disney Animation (or character meet and greet at the end of Hollywood Blvd – check daily schedule) Disney Jr Live on Stage (it’s not very close)
Star Tours Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie SetWatch Jedi Training Academy (or participate if kids are age 4+) Frozen Sing-Along
Park Rider Switch Attraction Non-FastPass Options FastPass-able Attraction
Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest Maharajah Jungle Trek Finding Nemo the Musical
Kali River Rapids Maharajah Jungle Trek Adventures Outpost (Meet Mickey & Minnie)
Dinosaur The Boneyard Finding Nemo the Musical
Primeval Whirl The Boneyard Finding Nemo the Musical

If you still have questions, please use the comments section below!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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7 thoughts on “A mom’s guide to Disney World Rider Switch

  1. We are first timers this fall and I’m trying to wrap my head around this and your post is very helpful. We will have two adults, two kids big enough to ride most attractions and an infant. Using this process, it looks like me and my husband can switch off watching the baby and two older kids can ride twice -/once with each of us? Does it only work like that on the fast pass rides? Also, on the disney site, the list of rides doing rider switch is small and Seven Dwarfs is not on it??

    • It is confusing, Jen! It took me two trips to truly understand the entire process. You are correct that your husband can switch off and the other two can ride twice. The first time the older two ride will either be standby or with a FastPass (I’d go FastPass so the 2nd adult isn’t trying to entertain the baby for an extremely long amount of time). The rider switch pass will allow the older two to then ride again with the 2nd adult (up to 3 total allowed in with your rider switch pass). Remember, you can always schedule a FastPass for 1 adult and the two kids and always switch it to something else through the My Disney Experience App if the standby line is really short (we did it quite a bit during our trip).

      Seven Dwarfs Mine Train does have rider switch capabilities. I was a bit concerned because it wasn’t on the list, but we used it on 3 separate days with no issue. I originally scheduled both of us for a FastPass when I booked them because I was unsure, but I definitely have confidence in the system now!

      Have a great trip! It sounds like you’ve been doing research, so it will be a better than average first timer trip!

  2. Thanks for the clarifications! Very helpful with all of the conflicting info out there. I have a question…at the rides which give the lanyard, do you still ultimately get a switch pass good for 1 adult and 2 kids? Is this the same type of switch pass you get at the other rides?

    • Glad it was helpful, Annie! For rides that you are given a lanyard, yes you do get the same switch ticket which is good for 3 people (so your 1 adult and 2 children – same as the attractions you start out with just the rider switch ticket). It’s just an extra step in the process. I’m guessing to deter people from using it without actually switching, but I don’t know for sure.

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