Disneyland Rider Switch tips to make the most of your Disneyland Resort vacation. This trick can save you time and help you make more memories together, even when not everyone wants to ride.
Disneyland Rider Switch Basics
Disneyland Rider Switch is one of the major game changers when visiting Disneyland with young children or those who cannot ride for one reason or another. Rider Switch is also known as child swap or baby swap, but the same idea is at play.
Here’s the information you need to enjoy your day at Disneyland when you have a little one but don’t want to miss out on any Disneyland favorites.
What is Rider Switch?
Rider Switch at Disneyland allows adult guests to take turns waiting with youngsters or guests unable to ride. What’s new with this updated wording? Rider Switch is no longer limited to children who do not meet the height requirement.
You Can Use Rider Switch If…
You can use Rider Switch if someone in your group:
- Doesn’t meet boarding requirements
- Has a service animal that cannot board the attraction or wait in a provided kennel
- Cannot wait the duration of the queue and needs another member of their party to do the waiting for them
With Rider Switch, supervising guests (14 years or older) can wait with member(s) of their party who aren’t riding due to any of the reasons listed above. These supervising guests still get their chance to experience the attraction—without waiting in line again.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty details on how Rider Switch works and which rides you can use it on.
Disneyland Rider Switch Rides
In the past, Rider Switch was limited to rides that had height requirements. The thought was if everyone can ride, then additional accommodations weren’t needed. But Disney’s goal to be more inclusive is no longer limited by Rider Switch being tied only to height restrictions.
Which rides have Rider Switch at Disneyland?
Rider Switch is available at all attractions in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. That’s right all of them offer Rider Switch now!
If you’re using Rider Switch mostly for smaller children who can’t ride, the most popular attractions to use Rider Switch include:
- Autopia- 32 inches or taller
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- 40 inches or taller
- Gadget’s Go Coaster- 35 inches or taller
- Goofy’s Sky School (California Adventure)- 42 inches or taller
- Grizzly River Run (California Adventure)- 42 inches or taller
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (California Adventure)- 40 inches or taller
- Incredicoaster (California Adventure)- 48 inches or taller
- Indiana Jones Adventure- 46 inches or taller
- Jumpin Jellyfish (California Adventure)- 40 inches or taller
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (California Adventure)- 32 inches or taller
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run– 38 inches or taller
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (California Adventure)- 32 inches or taller
- Matterhorn Bobsleds- 42 inches or taller
- Radiator Springs Racers (California Adventure)- 40 inches or taller
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance– 40 inches or taller
- Silly Symphony Swings (California Adventure)- 40 inches or taller
- Soarin’ Around the World (California Adventure)- 40 inches or taller
- Space Mountain- 40 inches or taller
- Splash Mountain- 40 inches or taller
- Star Tours – The Adventure Continues- 40 inches or taller
Rider Switch Step-by-Step
- Approach the greeting Cast Member at the ride with your entire group, including those who will not be riding the attraction. Inform them you are interested in the Rider Switch option. Members will be divided into 2 parties:
- “Party 1” will board the attraction first via Standby or Lightning Lane (if you have a valid Genie+ selection).
- “Party 2”—a maximum of 3 people from the rest of your party—waits or enjoys another Disneyland experience nearby.
- A Cast Member will scan the tickets of Guests in Party 2. At times, some guest may be in both Party 1 and Party 2, but Party 2 will not exceed 3 people. I’ll share some examples below so keep reading.
- After Party 1 completes the experience, Party 2 who have waited to ride should return to the appropriate spot as directed by the issuing Cast Member to have their tickets re-scanned by a Cast Member for the Rider Switch entitlement.
- Party 2 may enter the attraction return line and board without waiting in the Standby queue.
- Party 1 waits with the non-riding Guests or enjoys another Disneyland experience nearby.
Rider Switch with Genie+ and Lightning Lane
A lot of people may wonder if they even need to use Rider Switch, especially if they have Genie+ or Lightning Lane. Super valid question, and it sorta depends.
Can you use Rider Switch with Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane?
Yes, it can. The Cast Member will help you get things all set following the steps above.
Note: Rider Switch is meant eliminate using the Standby line twice. It is not meant to squeeze 2 or 3 Lightning Lane accesses for one paid Lightning Lane. I don’t suggest using Rider Switch as a Genie+ “money saver” or “hack”
Can you use Rider Switch withOUT Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane?
Yes, you can use Rider Switch without Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane. Party 1 will simply wait in the regular standby line first which is generally subject to longer wait times. However, Party 2 will not wait in the standby queue and typically enters via Lightning Lane entrance.
It’s important to remember that Rider Switch also has a time limit for returns. So if you do use Rider Switch and the standby line is longer than about a 40 minute wait, or ask the Cast Member to add adequate time to your return. You will not be able to use them whenever you’d like later that day.
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What to Do While You Wait
Remember, when you’re asking for a Rider Switch pass, the entire group needs to be there initially in order for the Cast Member to add Rider Switch to the right tickets. After that, you’re free to have some fun while you wait for Party 1 to return.
Here’s What to Ride or Do While You Wait
- When they ride Indiana Jones Adventure, you check out The Adventureland Treehouse or take a stroll to get a Dole Whip near the Enchanted Tiki Room.
- When they ride Splash Mountain, you ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
- When they ride Matterhorn Bobsleds, you visit with the Princesses or choose from one of many rides in Fantasyland.
- When they ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you enjoy the views of Rivers of America or stroll through the shops nearby.
- When they ride Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETCoaster, you can let your little ones explore Mickey’s Toontown including Goofy’s Playhouse.
- When they ride Space Mountain, you go for a ride on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
- Print your perfect Disneyland Plan today with out new bundled option and see what to ride and when, even with little kids!
Disneyland Rider Switch Examples
In the beginning of the article I identified 3 reasons you might use Rider Switch on any attraction at Disneyland Resort. If you have someone in your party who:
- doesn’t meet boarding requirements
- has a service animal that cannot board the attraction or wait in a provided kennel
- cannot wait the duration of the queue and needs another member of their party to do the waiting for them
And now I’ll list 3 examples that line up with each one of those scenarios to help you better understand if Rider Switch might help you have a better Disneyland vacation.
Party of 5 with one child who isn’t tall enough or isn’t fond of Incredicoaster. Everyone else in the family wants to ride Incredicoaster.
- Party 1 consists of one adult and two kids who wait in line to ride first
- Party 2 rides Jessie’s Critter Carousel
- The parties meet up after the rides and swap adults
- The adult who didn’t ride first can now ride with the two kids without waiting in the Standby line
- The new supervising adult can take the child on Jessie’s Critter Carousel again or watch for their family to go by on Incredicoaster
Party of 6 adults including a service animal that cannot board the attraction or wait in a provided kennel.
- Party 1 consists of three people who wait in line to ride first
- Party 2 refuels with drinks or snacks, does some shopping or meets nearby characters
- The parties meet up after the ride and swap spots
- Party 2 now rides without waiting in the Standby line and Party 1 supervises the service animal
Party of 4 with someone who cannot wait the duration of the queue and needs another member of their party to do the waiting for them. One party member has a boot on their foot due to a recent surgery. Their doctor has cleared their Disneyland trip but it’s uncomfortable walking and standing for long periods of time.
- Party 1 consists of two people who wait in line to ride first
- Party 2 takes photos at some of the nearby iconic photo spots and rests their feet
- The parties meet up after the ride and swap spots
- Party 2 now rides without waiting in the Standby line
I hope this article helps you better understand Disneyland Rider Switch now that every attraction allows Rider Switch and the parameters for using Rider Switch are broader. Do you have more questions on Disneyland Rider Switch—leave them below.
8 thoughts on “Disneyland Rider Switch Tips”
What if your entire party has purchased genie +, but you want to do rider swap on a ride that you don’t have a genie + time reserved. Can you still do rider swap? Or do you HAVE to use genie + with rider swap.
Rider Swap actually doesn’t need to involve Genie+ at all. The first party waits standby, then the second party uses an expedited entrance (usually Lightning Lane). You’ll do great, please let me know if other questions come up.
We are three adults and one toddler. Can an adult from the first party ride again with the second party? You just keep saying an older child can go twice. Do they care if it’s an adult going twice so the second party adult doesn’t have to go alone? Thanks
Yes, two adults can ride. Thank you for mentioning that. I will make sure to add clarifications to this article. 🙂
How does the rider switch work when parents are swapping out with a child that wants to ride? Do we need to ask in a particular way? We have an infant that obviously can’t ride but an older kid that does and would love to ride with both parents on height restricted attractions. We will have Genie+ as well.
Yes, that totally works. The Cast Member will help you with that. A child can ride twice 🙂
Hello. When using rider switch with everyone in the party, and everyone riding has purchased the Genie + service, can the first party enter via lightening lane at any time, or does the time need to be reserved first and entrance for party 1 must be at (after) the reserved time? Thanks, Wes
Hi Wes, thanks for your question. The first party will enter the LL at the designated time according to LL. The second party will be given a new return time window to allow adequate time for the first party to ride and return. Hope that helps.