How to deal with non-thrill riders in Disney World

 

Disney World is all about the fun and have varying degrees of thrills. You have your family friendly attractions which are good for kids of all ages, rides that spin but often have no height requirement, motion simulator rides like Star Tours that have motions that sync up to a video in front of you, and coasters of all sizes from the family coaster with 35-38 inch height requirements to the high thrills with height requirements in the range of 44 to 48 inches.

For me personally, age (and having my daughter) have lowered my tolerance for thrill rides. I’ve never been a motion simulator type of girl and never well be and I don’t like to spin, so how do we manage trips where other adults want to ride while I don’t? There are truly several ways…

10 Long Lines in Walt Disney World ParksFirst, don’t try and do something that is above your comfort or tolerance level. It will make for a headache or queasy feeling the rest of the day and can make for absolutely no fun! I’ll get on things like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain, but that’s about the top of my tolerance level. In certain situations, I can be coaxed into Space Mountain (like when Disney rebrands it as HyperSpace Mountain in Disneyland and we are offered a sneak preview), but it’s well outside my norm! My husband and my dad are both big on coasters – everything from Expedition Everest and Space Mountain to Rock n Roller Coaster and Star Tours. Essentially during that time I “take one for the team” and allow them to enjoy their thrill rides. I also take the opportunity to take a bathroom break, do a little exploring, grab some water, or take photos of the surroundings!

How do we manage it? Making sure that those specific rides are done in the early morning hours the park is open or splitting a FastPass between a thrill ride and something else a little more tame for me. Several of these attractions also have a single rider line can be used if you don’t want to use schedule a WDW FastPass.

Attractions that have single rider line in WDW:Expedition Everest

  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Test Track

Attractions that need a FastPass regardless of time of day:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Soarin’

Attractions that can be done 1st thing in the morning with minimal wait for the non-riders (this means arriving 20-30 minutes before park opens and walking quickly and safely to the attraction and riding standby) (the attractions in parenthesis is something the non-riders can do in the area):

  • Rock n Roller Coaster (shops along Hollywood Blvd, Toy Story Mania)
  • Tower of Terror (shops along Hollywood Blvd, Toy Story Mania)
  • Star Tours (Watch Jedi Training Academy, Muppets 3D)
  • Space Mountain (PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lighyear, Pete’s Silly Sideshow)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Tom Sawyer Island, Laughin’ Place if you have kids, ride the train)
  • Splash Mountain (Tom Sawyer Island, Laughin’ Place if you have kids, ride the train)
  • Expedition Everest (Finding Nemo the Musical)
  • Dinosaur (The Dig site if if you have kids, Meet Goofy & Pluto – one of my FAV meet and greets!)
  • Mission Space (Test Track/after market area, there’s also a fun area near the exit of the attraction)

And attractions that can split FastPass between 2 attractions for the non-riders (especially if younger kids are involved):

  • Space Mountain (Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway)

    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Peter Pan’s Flight, Small World, Dumbo, and more…)
  • Splash Mountain & Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • Mad Tea Party (Tomorrowland Speedway, Dumbo and more…)
  • Rock n Roller Coaster (Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage or Toy Story Midway Mania – not in close proximity)
  • Tower of Terror (Frozen Sing-Along, Voyage of the Little Mermaid – not in close proximity)
  • Star Tours (Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show, Frozen Sing-Along – not in close proximity)
  • Expedition Everest (Finding Nemo the Musical, Meet Disney Pals at Adventures Outpost)
  • Soarin’ (Living with the Land)
  • Mission Space (Spaceship Earth, Epcot Character Spot)

If you have all riding adults and a non-riding child, check out rider switch which is truly the way to maximize your experience!\

If you have questions or are looking for help making sense of all of your options, I’d love to help!

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)

Interested in experiencing either a Disney World vacation in 2016?  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 vacation 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!

A mom’s guide to Disney World Rider Switch

IMG_4982 (2)

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.

IMG_4944 (1)

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.

IMG_4979 (1)

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!

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!