Have you heard? Disney has made some changes to the popular Rider Switch program. As Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening up doors, and doing new things…”
Disney World is taking its founder’s words to heart: as of June 2018, the Rider Switch program has gone digital. If you found the paper Rider Switch system confusing and are trembling at having to learn a whole new process, do not fear! We’ve got you covered.
What is Rider Switch?
Rider Switch, also called Rider Swap, is a program that Disney put in place to allow parents of little littles to still have an opportunity to ride all those cool rides their kids aren’t quite big enough for. Rider Switch is available at all four Disney Parks, and can be used in conjunction with FastPasses or as a Stand-by option.
How does it work?
Scenario: a family of four, with one child who is tall enough to ride all major thrill rides and one child who is not. All members want to ride Splash Mountain, but the smallest member of the family cannot. This is where Rider Switch comes in. Adult A will ride with Child 1, while Adult B waits with Child 2. Adults will then switch, with Adult B riding Splash Mountain and Adult A waiting with Child 2. If Child 1 so desires, she may ride Splash Mountain again with Adult B.
What is the big change?
The big change is that Rider Switch has gone digital. What used to happen was that when the entire party checked in to the ride, Adult B was given a paper Rider Switch, with a return time (usually all day, sometimes as long as all week or month) for the ride. Adult B and Child 1 could re-ride at their leisure, turning in their paper slip when they were ready.
Now, Adult B and Child 2 have their Magic Bands scanned, which enables them to ride. However, the window is considerably shorter, just an hour.
What is the exact process for the new, updated Rider Switch?
- The entire party approaches the Cast Member at the ride. If you have FastPasses, see the FastPass cast member first. If doing standby, see the standby cast member. It is important the entire party is there, most especially the party member too small to ride.
- Explain that you need to utilize Rider Switch. If you have FastPasses, they will have Group A scan their Magic Bands, redeeming their FastPass first.
- They will then ask who is riding on the second turn. Adult B may bring up to two additional guests with them, so potentially two members who are riding in the first group will get to ride again. They will then scan the Magic Bands of everyone riding with Adult B, essentially adding another FastPass into your account.
- You will be told a return time window, usually one hour from when the party checked in. Group A will ride.
- Group B joins the FastPass line when they are ready to ride. No need to check in again.
- If you are doing Standby, the process remains the same. The only difference is that Group A will need to wait in line, while Group B will have access to the FastPass line when it is their turn. Cast members will accommodate the wait time into your return window, so standby Rider Switch usually has a longer return window than an hour.
What are the differences with the new system?
With the paper system, if you were making a FastPass for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, you would do it for the members of your party who are NOT waiting with the little one. In the scenario above, only Adult A and Child 1 would need a FastPass. This would free up a FastPass for Adult B, who could use it to take Child 2 on something more height appropriate.
However, with the new system, ALL members of the party must have FastPasses for the attraction, even if they are riding as part of Group B.
With the paper system, you could use your Rider Switch right away or you could save it for later. There was no time stamp window, only the date you must use it by. This allowed families flexibility in their touring plans. With the new system, Adult B and Child 2 must stay relatively close by to the ride in question.
Can I still bring on additional riders?
Yes. Adult B can bring up to two additional riders, with a total of three people riding in Group B.
How strictly enforced is this new update? What if I want to do things the old way?
The biggest difference is for guests who are combining Rider Switch with FastPass. Guests who are using there Standby Line with Rider Switch will not see a difference in their experience.
Since the rollout, guests with FastPasses hoping to use Rider Switch at Walt Disney World have noticed some inconsistencies. Some Cast Members have strictly enforced this rule, while some have given leeway due to the transition, and others continue to operate as though the old system were still in place. Disney’s official word is that all members riding need to have a FastPass. You can always talk to someone at Guest Relations or chance that the Cast Member at your ride is still doing things the old way, but there is no longer a guarantee that Cast Members will honor the Rider Switch of one party member without a FastPass. To absolutely guarantee that all members who desire to ride have the opportunity, they must ALL have FastPasses.
Who can use Rider Switch?
Rider Switch is for those with children who either do not meet the height restriction or are too afraid to ride. It is not intended for parents with older, teenaged children who just aren’t interested in riding.
Does every ride have Rider Switch?
Rider Switch is available only at rides that utilize FastPass, but not every ride that utilizes FastPass has Rider Switch. Shows and rides with no height restrictions that you can FastPass do not offer Rider Switch.
Can you give me a list of all the attractions that use Rider Switch?
As of June 18th, 2018 the following are the attractions Walt Disney world that offer Rider Switch.
- The Barnstormer (Height requirement: 35 inches)
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Height requirement: 38 inches)
- Space Mountain (Height requirement: 44 inches)
- Splash Mountain (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Tomorrowland Speedway (Height requirement: 32 inches)
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE Green (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Mission: SPACE Orange (Height requirement: 44 inches)
- Soarin’ (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Test Track (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Alien Swirling Saucers (Height requirement: 32 inches)
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (Height requirement: 48 inches)
- Slinky Dog Dash (Height requirement: 38 inches)
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Avatar Flight of Passage (Height requirement: 44 inches)
- DINOSAUR (Height requirement: 40 inches)
- Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (Height requirement: 44 inches)
- Kali River Rapids (Height requirement: 38 inches)
- Primeval Whirl (Height requirement: 48 inches)
What do you think of the new changes to Rider Switch? Any good tips from people who have used the new system? Hit us up in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!