This Program Makes Traveling To Disney With Small Kids Even More Enjoyable

Vacationing with small kids can be a challenge. Depending on their age, many of them still need naps to make it through the day. Some little ones have difficulty adjusting to a different routine on vacation. If they have older siblings, they may feel left out of activities that aren't designed for them. Families want to include everyone in vacation fun, but what can you do if the smallest in your party can't keep up?

Having children of different ages, heights, and needs can be difficult to manage at a popular vacation destination like Disney Parks. Occasionally, one adult must sacrifice their opportunity to experience an attraction to stay behind with a child who can't or doesn't want to participate. Thankfully, Disney has a system in place that addresses this situation for everyone. It is called "Rider Switch," and it is available at every park and most of the popular attractions. 

How does Rider Switch work?

Rider Switch works similarly at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. First, your entire party must find the Rider Switch Cast Member at the beginning of each attraction that offers the program. They typically stand by the entrance of the ride, but sometimes, they have to move off to the side if the entrance lines become too crowded. Next, you can decide who will ride first and second. At Walt Disney World, only one person may re-ride the attraction with the guest who waited with the smaller child or non-rider. At Disneyland, two people may re-ride the attraction with the guest who stayed with the smaller child or non-rider.

After the Cast Member has scanned the second group of riders, the first group will get in line to experience the attraction while the second group waits outside. When the first group finishes riding, the second group may enter the line through the Lightning Lane entrance so they do not have to wait again. We have found this program beneficial because it allows the non-riders to partake in other park activities instead of being forced to stand in line for something they can't or don't want to experience. 

Which attractions allow guests to use Rider Switch?

When visiting Walt Disney's original park, West Coast visitors will be pleasantly surprised. Every attraction at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure participates in the Rider Switch program. Unfortunately, for visitors at Walt Disney World, you will have a limited selection of attractions to use with Rider Switch. In Magic Kingdom, the participating rides are The Barnstormer, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. Though it is not listed on the official Disney World website, we have been able to use Rider Switch at the new Tron ride as well.

Rider Switch is available in Animal Kingdom at Dinosaur, Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and Na'vi River Journey. Hollywood Studios offers the most attractions with Rider Switch, including Alien Swirling Saucers, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Slinky Dog Dash, Star Tours® — The Adventures Continue, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. 

Finally, Epcot's Rider Switch rides include Test Track, Mission Space, Soarin', Frozen Ever After, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. To access Rider Switch for Cosmic Rewind or Tron, everyone in your group must be part of a virtual queue boarding party or have purchased an Individual Lightning Lane pass before requesting Rider Switch.