California Adventure Rider Switch Tips

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California Adventure rider switch tips for families at Disneyland Resort. Don’t miss out on all the fun! How you can ride the “big rides” even with little kids in your group.

California Adventure Rider Switch
California Adventure Rider Switch

Disneyland Resort makes it easy to enjoy the big rides, even if you have a little one who doesn’t meet the height requirement (or is a little nervous about the new experience).

Radiator Springs Racers
Radiator Springs Racers

What’s California Adventure Rider Switch?

If your group plans to ride, for example, Radiator Springs Racers but you have a child who doesn’t meet the height requirements or doesn’t wish to ride, rider switch is for you!
When you approach the queue for a “rider switch” option ride, just talk to the first Cast Member you see and tell them you’d like to get a rider switch pass. They will supply you with instructions and a special pass so your group only needs to wait in line once.

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How does California Adventure Rider Switch Work?

Disney MaxPass FASTPASS
Disney MaxPass and FASTPASS
Now the in-depth details on new guidelines for rider switch, updated since the implementation of Disney MaxPass (new FASTPASS option).
  1. Everyone in your party (including the child not riding) approaches the Cast Member at the entrance to the queue.
  2. Your group will be divided into two parties: Party 1 waits in line and rides the attraction first. Party 2 supervises the non-rider and will switch roles after Party 1 returns without waiting in the regular queue.
  3. Members of Party 2 will have their park tickets or Annual Passes scanned to load the rider switch onto their pass. This has changed from the old paper method and rider switch is now loaded to your ticket. You can only hold 1 rider switch at a time, no saving them up for later.
  4. When Party 2 returns to the attraction, sometime within the hour, simply scan your ticket at the FASTPASS entrance and rider switch will allow you to bypass the regular queue. Note: Party 2 can include up to 3 people, including people from Party 1. Yes, super confusing! But this allows an older sibling to ride once with mom and once with dad while one parent takes turn tending the younger child.

Can you use California Adventure Rider Switch with MaxPass?

Disney MaxPass
Disney MaxPass
Now that Disneyland Resort has upgraded to a digital FASTPASS system, MaxPass, rider switch works a bit different.
You have two options to combine rider switch and MaxPass:
  • Everyone who wants to ride gets a FASTPASS and simply takes turns riding during their FASTPASS return time.
  • Those in Party 1 get a FASTPASS and Party 2 uses the Rider Switch program.

California Adventure Rider Switch & MaxPass Hack

California Adventure FASTPASS
California Adventure FASTPASS

Party 1 gets a FASTPASS and Party 2 uses the Rider Switch program. Party 2 gets a FASTPASS for a different attraction, thus becoming Party 1 at the new attraction, and the group can now use the rider switch option at 2 attractions.

This works because your party is split into 2 groups, one group holding a FASTPASS to one attraction, another group holding a FASTPASS to another attraction at the same time. Still with me? Hopefully that makes sense, comment below if you need more clarification.

Can I use California Adventure Rider Switch without MaxPass?

Absolutely. You can use rider switch without MaxPass or FASTPASS. Party 1 will simply wait in the regular stand by line which is generally subject to longer wait times. However, Party 2 will not wait in the general queue and typically enters via MaxPass/FASTPASS entrance.

It’s important to remember that Rider Switch now has a time limit for returns. So if you do use Rider Switch without MaxPass or FASTPASS make sure the line is no longer than 40 minute wait.

What to Do While You Wait for Rider Switch 

What should you do with the little ones at California Adventure while you’re waiting for your turn on the big rides? There are plenty of attractions and things to do right around the corner from headlining attractions.

When they ride Incredicoaster, you ride King Triton’s Carousel.

Rider Switch | King Triton Carousel
Rider Switch | King Triton Carousel

When they ride Goofy’s Sky School, grab a snack at nearby Corn Dog Castle.

Disneyland Corn Dog
Corn Dogs at Disneyland Resort

When they ride Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters or Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, you can grab an ice cream cone from the Cozy Cone Motel while taking in all the Car’s Land scenery.

Cozy Cone Motel
Grab a quick bite to eat at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land.

When they ride Guardians of the Galaxy, you venture off to Sorcerers Workshop or join Animation Academy inside the Animation Building which is right around the corner. Animation Academy

When they ride Soarin’ Around the World, you take a stroll down Buena Vista Street and see what kind of characters you run into.

What are your favorite things to do while waiting for a rider switch at California Adventure? And if you’re headed across the way, read about more rider switch options at Disneyland, too.

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