One of the most under-used perks available to parents that travel to Disney is the Disney World child swap pass. This pass (officially now called the “Rider Switch”) enables both parents to enjoy a ride that the entire family can’t ride, due to height restrictions or even if the ride is too scary for a child that does qualify.
How the Child Swap pass works
You will need to bring your entire family to the front of the qualifying attraction. A list of qualifying attractions can be found HERE. You simply ask the cast member for a Rider Switch/Child Swap pass. Show them your child and they’ll give you a pass. Whether you are going to stand in the normal line or use the Fastpass is of no consequence. You can get a pass either way.
So while the rest of the party goes on the ride, the adult that stays with the child waits for the family to complete the ride. When they return, that adult can then use the child swap and bring another guest along with them. The Rider Switch pass is used just like a FASTPASS. You take it to the cast member that is in the FASTPASS line and immediately get on the ride!
This pass is very helpful. Amazingly, many people don’t even know this pass exists! As such, usually families will move on from ride to ride, and one of the parents will forego the use of this ride.
Helpful Tips for using the Child Swap Pass
There are a few tricks you can use to maximize your time. Some may feel that a few of these tips aren’t what Disney intended, but they are all legal.
If you are travelling with multiple families, make sure you get a child swap pass for EACH adult that needs to sit out and watch their child.
Once you have a rider switch pass, you do NOT have to use it immediately! It is valid for the rest of the day. Disney has made this provision likely because they realize it might not be convenient to sit at once attraction for an hour. It might work best to use the rider switch pass immediately. But it also might make sense to wait!
Some choose to accumulate rider switch passes to use later in the day. There is no technical limit to the number of rider switch passes you can accumulate, and there is only one time limit: The passes must be used Same Day. So if you ride Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, you could get three passes and then come back later that night and use them as fastpasses.
What is Fair?
There is occasional controversy regarding the Rider Switch passes, especially when used as we outlined above. However, we believe there is a way to do it RIGHT and a way that isn’t technically in the spirit of what Disney intended.
For instance, if you and your spouse are going to Space Mountain, and your spouse never rides Space Mountain in the first place, would you really need to get a Rider Switch? Technically you could get one, and then you could ride it twice. Many would argue that this is not really what was intended, and we would agree with that.
But if the individual (that had to sit out originally) chooses to accumulate the child swap passes and use them later in the day, then we feel there is nothing wrong with this, as it is just doing what works best with the schedule of the person.
Technically, neither of these things are illegal, but you can use your best judgment!
The point of the Child Swap pass is to allow parents to have fun! So use them in conjunction with the Fastpasses, and have a great time!