Home Disney News Major Change Coming to Child Swap at Disney World

Major Change Coming to Child Swap at Disney World

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Major Change Coming to Child Swap at Disney World
Credit: Disney

The rider switch (child swap) benefit at Disney World is about to undergo some major changes, and it’s not good. Here are the details.

Rider Switch

Child swap/rider switch is a free service Disney offers to Guests while visiting the theme parks. It ensures you won’t have to wait in the same line twice if someone in your party cannot or does not want to ride an attraction with the rest of the group.

Most commonly, rider swap is used for families with young children who do no meet the height requirement for various attractions. It gives the parents and the older children the opportunity to still ride it.

Credit: Disney

It can also be used for families where a child, who is tall enough but not old enough to sit out alone, chooses not to board. There are other circumstances that may require a group to use rider swap, but the two instances I just mentioned are the main reasons.

One adult will sit out with the child while everyone else rides the attraction. Then, once everyone gets off the ride, that adult who sat out gets the chance to experience the attraction without waiting in line.

Read more about rider switch HERE.

Rider Switch Changes

Photo courtesy of d23.com

Currently, the person that sat out the first time can bring two extra Guests on the attraction. This makes for a total of three guests. This is a great opportunity for Guests to ride again.

Now, here is where the big change comes in. Beginning July 16, Disney World will only allow one other Guest on the attraction with the person who sat out. That means now only TWO Guests can ride, not three. This change applies to ALL Disney World attractions.

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Instead of the 3 total Guests that can ride using the Rider Swap benefit, only 2 will be able to ride beginning July 16.

I think this is major news for two reasons. First, it requires a bit more planning/headache for families with multiple children. In a family of 5 (one child being too little to ride), it’s easy to allow the two older kids to ride again. Now, families will have to choose who rides the second time.

Second, this change is likely making way for FastPass changes that are coming. We know things are brewing behind the scenes at Disney despite any official announcements.

Read our most recent news regrading FastPass HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Do you utilize child swap at Disney World? What do you think of this news? Will it make park touring easier or harder for you? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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77 COMMENTS

  1. Same thing happened to me. Had no idea the policy was different than Universal or that we couldn’t just wait in line with all of the kids to reach a child swap room next to the boarding area like at Universal. My husband had a minor medical emergency and had to leave, so my very mature *just* under 14 (apparently Disney’s “magic” age) son wound up waiting outside with his 1-year-old brother in a stroller so that his other brother and sister could get on the ride with me. The 1-year-old started crying while we were in there and apparently some busy-bodies nearly called the cops even though kids my son’s age legally baby-sit ALL of the time, and as he told said busy-bodies, “News flash! Babies cry sometimes! He has food and water right here and a clean diaper. I’m in direct contact with our mom, who’s right over there…” Security showed up and — much to the disappointment of the busy-bodies who were obviously hoping to see me carried away in handcuffs — didn’t seem overly concerned. Still very nerve-wrecking and completely avoidable if only they operated like Universal.

  2. Or, one child can go with the first parent, and the second child go with the second parent. Let’s not overcomplicate things here people.

  3. Remember that WALT DISNEY started the amusement parks so that general public could afford getting in! He remembered not having $$ to get into Park while growing up.
    I noticed that Disney changed when Eisner took over the reins and moved away from the family–friendly atmosphere to how much they could get out of those in the parks.

    • Walt started the modern theme park. Amusement parks already existed. He began Disneyland to have something fun that parents and kids could do together. I’m the 1950’s it required a middle class income to afford to actually do the rides one time. Admission was one fee and rides were tiered and cost more for the best experiences. Overall WDW has been a decent value for a week long vacation.

  4. Amen. They are making changes that are destroying the experience. They will be closing parks soon because they are losing all the magic. It will become just another place where whoever spends the most money gets the Disney experience, the rest of us will get a crappy Six Flagg version. Why bother going at all then? Disney in Japan is now charging $40 per Fast Pass Ride per person. Adding hundreds of dollars a day to get on rides will just fill the parks with spoiled people who think they can buy whatever they want, screw everyone else. Who sees the Magic there?

  5. Exactly right! Whenever we used baby swap we never considered asking for anyone who already rode to ride again. We just split up, even if it meant adults rode alone and passed the child through. It is ridiculous expect to ride twice while waiting in line onve.

  6. Lol! Did you think of maybe letting only one of your two taller kids ride with the first parent, and then the other taller kid rides with the second parent so it actually doesn’t mean crying and headaches at all? If a child can not wait 3 minutes to ride a ride because they are selected to ride with the 2nd parent, because there is a younger child you can’t or doesn’t want to ride, then the parents has failed at teaching their children about sharing and “compassion and empathy”! Just a thought!

  7. Look above at the guy (Brandon) above straight admitting he uses this to get his daughters to ride twice, once with each parent, and uses his autistic child as an excuse. Read the comment before you freak. I’ve no issues with accommodations for disabled or non neurotypical children…..but this guy literally admitted he just lets his kids ride twice because “they might fight/argue and upset their disabled sibling.” So, instead of teaching his kids manners, he’s going to make wait times longer for everyone.
    If you think this is a rare case…. you’re sadly mistaken.

  8. It’s a nightmare to tell kids they have to ride with one parent or wait their turn, again? Good luck raising unentitled kids, I guess…

  9. You know most of the other guests pay all that as well, right? Why should other people be forced to wait longer so you can ride with BOTH of your older two (or whatever scenario)? They made the rule so no one had to ride alone, NOT so all of your kids could ride with BOTH parents without waiting twice. Multiply that two extras times all of the families there and everyone has to wait a lot longer.
    Though I do agree that their pandering to extremist left policies have gone away too far. They’ll go the extra mile to not technically have bathrooms in pioneer’s square (for authenticity), but males can now….what, wear saloon dresses? Like that’s authentic…

  10. I quit going but buy the stock. It is WAY too expensive to go to their parks and even though we make good income in our house, and pay tons of taxes too, I simply refuse to pay their prices. So I sit back and buy the stock as I thank those who do go….and spend, and spend, and spend, and…..

  11. It’s now the waiting teen/adult and one other person. It was 2 and now it’s 1. And no, with? Why would they do that? Just basically let large families ride twice while everyone else waits?
    People with large families don’t deserve any more or less than small families and singles.

  12. This made me happy to see. Previous experiences with large families has not been great for me; most seem to expect others to accommodate for their children and aren’t considerate of others. It’s good to know there’s still parents out there that are considerate of others, too.

  13. I agree it’s really sad….I never thought of going to Orlando and missing Disney but now the lines are so long even with fast passes, and if we have to pay extra its just out of control…we’ve been so many times and paid so much and can’t get on the rides, never even ride the Star Wars ride yet….Universal has perks thank goodness that help…

  14. They do not let you wait in line with a non riding child/under height/under aged….I unfortunately should’ve checked into this before I went but I had to send my young kids alone through the line and wait ….I had no other adult with me….it was upsetting, awful, scarey, stressful…but I paid a ton of money to go with my kids as a single parent and wasn’t turning back….

  15. I wonder what Walt would think of his family park today? This always comes to my mind when I see prices go up and everything that he stated about family’s being able to spend time together in a magical place. EVERYTHING….I mean EVERYTHING….that Disney was intended to be DIED.with Walt.

  16. Boo hoo. For real? The whole point is to allow the person who sat out the first time the opportunity to ride. I think allowing one person to go again with the adult is perfectly fair, and, yes, we have a large family. Why would we all want more ways to slow down lines? There is an easy solution – It’s called taking turns.

  17. This is true as I am here at the parks now. To get around this, one parent and one child walk up to get rider swap. Then send second parent and second child up to get rider swap. Works like a charm!

  18. Absolutely agree 100% a family of 3 (mom,dad,kid) cost for a week a minimum of 4k without airfare . And that’s only going up . Staying on property is Not an option at that price. And the rest of it will soon be out of reach for the rest also. Do stop crying about all the little inconveniences and complain about the financial abuse the magic requires.

  19. Atleast they are not making us pay per rider swap ride to be able to do that. I told the kids to be prepared to take turns for who rides for a second time. Doing away with Fast Pass and making us pay per ride to get a Fast Pass is insane. I am not happy with Disney at all. I hope these changes will start to deter people from going and that will make these policies change.

  20. Why is this so hard for families of 5? Obviously 1 kid isn’t riding at all. 4 are left. Mom and kid 1 ride, then dad and kid 2 ride. Switch up which kid rides with which parent each time. More than 3 kids? Dad and all kids but 1 ride first, then mom and remaining kid ride. Switch up next time. This isn’t that hard or that big of a deal.

  21. It’s an amusement park owned by stockholders and investors who are entitled to make a profit! Just like Rolls Royce and Bentley… it isn’t for everyone, only those who are willing and able to pay the price for access to world-class entertainment and innovation. You can always go to a parlor the beach if you believe you are being overcharge for billions of dollars worth of attractions and entertainment!

  22. I think this is fine. I have 3 kids and it was nice my husband and I could swap on Rockin Rollercoaster last year and both older kids got to go twice. But some people have 4+ kids or other family members and already had to choose who rode again. The service isn’t about kids riding twice, it’s about letting both adults ride without having to wait twice. One extra guest will usually fill the row; two extra guests can spill into another row decreasing capacity. Disney allows families to scan tickets/bands and come back later to ride, entering through the FP queue with a minimal wait. This can be very convenient for families as they can take younger kids to other attractions. Universal has the whole family wait together, then the non riders sit in a room and wait until the riders return, then the other rider can go. The upside of Universal’s system is they really do not have to wait again, the downside is the non riders just sit and wait. Both systems work though and are better than what parks like Six Flags may offer (ie Nothing).

  23. Maybe the parents love their children and would like to experience the ride with them. Sounds like you have no kids and don’t get the make the memories part about going to Disney world.

  24. Grow up!!! Adults keep saying they want to experience the ride with all the kids. Stop whining. Or pass on a ride. Why would you allow some kids take two rides while other kids are waiting on hot summer days? Why one kid is more important than another kid waiting? And the ones who are upset are the ones who have been to Disneyworld already while some kids never even visited.
    Count your blessings and don’t be so selfish. Teach your kids manners too! Or don’t ride it if you think it would be stressful for your family. Take turns with amother adult. Who’s an adult here?

  25. Disney is kind enough not to make anybody ride the ride by themselves because that is absolutely no fun at all when you came with a group. People are abusing that kindness.

  26. Why all the whining? It is a considerate feature to accommodate families with a non-rider. It was never intended as a cheat to squeeze in an additional ride.

  27. Disney shouldn’t be a privilege. But it is. People shouldn’t get special treatments by staying at Deluxe.
    That is sad. Money rules. What was supposed to be a theme park for kids turned to adults fighting to get on!
    Some people are SO selfish. They go every year, spend weeks there, and still take the line. SAD!

  28. I am glad that you get it. The child swap was never designed to allow family members to ride an additional time. That is abusing a privilege. There are people waiting in line to ride the first time.

  29. Hmm, the news to me is that two people have always been allowed to ride again with the parent who sat out. My large family has been going to Disney for decades and we have always been told to return with only one other person during rider swap.

  30. I have a large family. Seven children in all. As I see it in all fairness the point is to ride the ride. Not hold it up because this child wants to go again. The point is for the adult to get to ride after having to sit out. In our family no one rides a second time. We switch who sits out the next ride. I have pictures with the kids on that ride you have pics on the other. We still spend time with the children, rode the ride and enjoyed ourselves. In our family taking turns is not an act the congress and we think of others (the ones who are still waiting in line.)

  31. Hahaha it’s funny that you think Chapel is sitting there making these decisions. We get it; you know the CEO of Disney’s name!

  32. I don’t understand why no one understands this. Once again, people abused something and now Disney is taking steps to correct. Someone in this thread was actually yelling at someone else about how the purpose of child swap wasn’t so that everyone got to ride, it was so that each parent got to ride with all the kids. Um, NO. I NEVER cease to be amazed by delusional people…

  33. It’s amazing how many people think the purpose of “child swap” was to allow each parents to ride with all the kids. It’s NOT. It’s so a parent/teen who has to stay off with a non-riding child doesn’t have to wait in line again. One rides, one stays with non-riding child, and then YOU SWAP WHO STAYS WITH THE NON RIDING CHILD. These 5 person families who are complaining that they can’t possibly decide who gets to ride again have an extremely simple solution – NO ONE does! Someone waits WITH the waiting parent, everyone else rides. When first group is done, second parent and the person who waited with them ride. PROBLEM SOLVED. As usual, people turned a nicety into something it wasn’t, took advantage, and now Disney is clamping down so it’s used as iintended. No more taking up a whole car on TMRR, 7DMT, Slinky, Everest or any other 2 person ride vehicle that everyone else is waiting forever to get on. Again, the purpose of child swap is to allow everyone to ride (once) while keeping a non riding child safe, the swap is with THAT child, NOT the entire family!

    • I don’t think that’s true at all. If what you’re saying is true, Disney would have only let the one person who sat out ride – not allowed up to 3 (now 2) people.

  34. You’re always free to wait in line with them and when they board, you exit the queue and meet them when they exit the ride minutes later. I’m a single father and do this often.

  35. I make my kids wait for me after my husband goes on the ride with the bigger kids, then I go on alone. They had their turn and if they fuss then they can’t go on the next ride. Yes, Disney is taking away many things and pricing people out. But of all the changes this is the least annoying.

  36. Taking away more and more, charging more and more, waiting in long lines more and more. Chapek is catering to the 1% and the rest of us are paying the price. No longer any benefits for staying on property. Really questioning if a Disney vacation is really worth it. Time to see other places.

  37. This can be a teaching moment for your kids. And they can take turns when it comes to swapping the 2nd time around. Unfortunately, some kids never even get to go to Disney because their parents can’t afford it, so that’s something that I’ll use as an argument for my kids if they try to complain about it.

  38. I have seen this done. Plus there are plenty of people/kids that decide at the last minute to bail on the ride and they just escort you out of the line. Who told you you couldn’t wait with your children in line?

  39. Again adjust to changes is hard especially for those with younger children. Disney needs to make upgrade changes to attract younger families not to make it more difficult to enjoy the parks.

  40. The POINT of child swap–for most families–is for each parent to get to enjoy a ride with their other children. Not to get to ride the ride. It would/will absolutely suck to be alone in the in-ride photos and not have the experience a family _may_ want to have together. You obviously have no children, Kyle…why are you commenting on a post about things to do with people who *do* have children?

    • Yes. This. All of this. I want to experience the rides with (all) my kids! Not just experience the ride. We are out of this stage with all 4 of mine but it would have been very hard when they were younger.

  41. So every family is now forced to conveniently fit into there ride sizes? We pay a lot to get there, get in the parks, stay on or near the parks, eat in the parks and buy merch at the parks. I do not think that allowing 3 ppl back on the line , a parent who waited w a too young/too small/too scared child and that persons other kids is a big deal. But then again disney took out the “ladies and gentlemen,boys and girl’s “ from the fireworks…so clearly they are only concerned about limiting ppl that can go and afford the Disney experience….yet another disappointment put forward by them. And they’ll just hide it under the 50th anniversary.

  42. Four people bring a little one, one stays behind with the little one the other three ride, switch the little one off and the same three can ride again (if the original adult chooses not to ride).. so basically placeholders? Seems fair.

  43. Family of 5 here. 13 year old non-verbal, severely autistic son, 11 year old daughter and 6 year old daughter. Any slight thing can trigger the son to have a t total melt down and the main thing is his sister’s complaining or arguing, in this case would be who gets to ride with the other parent. I’m sure Disney will make acceptions to this rule and it’s always a ymmv by cast member. The 1 extra person isn’t hurting anything. For us if son has a meltdown it’s extremely hard to get him to calm down. Being able to avoid that situation by both daughters being able to ride with the other parent does wonders. I think the problem is adults abusing the system and ruining it for everyone.

  44. I use to be a huge Disney fan, but now they seem to be only interested in seeing how they can get more and more money. I don’t want to ever go again it’s just to expensive and way to crowded. Now they want to charge extra for fast passes? Disney is no longer the happiest place on earth. It’s the most complicated, expensive and stressful place on earth!

  45. This is why SeaWorld was rated the number one park. Disney was 9. Because they keep charging more and more but taking away everything too. Sorry but it is not worth it. SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Universal, and every other park has my money now. Disney is not worth it anymore.

  46. I guess you don’t have little ones to tell them you will bring just one with you… for a family of 5 this will be a nightmare

  47. We are the family of 5. Two kids are tall enough but still too young to understand. For example, we rider swapped on ROTR. Me and my two littles fit, while dad and baby waited. While but were tall enough they are still too young to understand why one will get to go again. Means crying and headaches for the parent left waiting. I am sure some will have no compassion or empathy, but it’s also not them so it’s easy to not care. A whole day at Disney in the heat and long lines is hard enough.

  48. We are that family of 5 where our third is much younger then the first two so it always made it nice that we didn’t have to pick who rode with the second parent. It will just add another layer now and although not the end of the world it takes away a little bit of the joy it is to go on a ride with your kids. I love getting off the ride and hearing both my kids joyfully share their favorite part. Now there is a chance someone is going to feel left out. To me this really took away from children. I don’t know maybe there are groups that when the second parent goes they bring other adults, but I would think most of the time they are bringing two children. It just seems like every new decision takes just a little bit of magic away. At least they didn’t completely take it away if you want to look at the bright side.

  49. I think this is fair. It will reduce wait times for everyone else by making more space available for others to ride. The extra person in each rider swap party adds up!

  50. This is NOT so bad. To me it’s all the other little things, rising ticket cost, paying for parking at hotels on site, losing the magic hours if your are NOT in deluxe accommodations. They are pricing the middle class. TOTALLY OUT. sad, sad sad.

  51. I don’t see the problem. Well, not as far as it’s intended use. I can see why you would be mad because you can’t “illegally” get double rides while everyone else waits in the muggy hot line.
    Just divy up the kids by drawing straws or something and take turns. At least you don’t have to go through the line again

  52. Disney is so inclusive, except when it comes to single parents. As a single mom, my children were unable to ride quite a few things because the youngest wasn’t tall enough. I obviously can’t be in both places at once. It would be nice it we were afforded the opportunities that others are. If I would have been able to take my littlest in line to wait with my other children, I happily would miss the ride with her so long as the others were able to ride it. I absolutely wasn’t going to let them stand in line for an hour by themselves though.

  53. I think that it is more than fair. They can just stop allowing this entirely. I am also in favor of paying for fast passes. This is a brilliant idea.

  54. I have a family of 5 with 2 older boys and a young girl. My daughter doesn’t always measure up or may be scared to go on rides. So now if we do rider swap I have to decide which son to take over the other. Guess I’ll be riding alone.

  55. Why? It’s unfair to the riders waiting in line that any guests get to ride again in this manner. If the person waiting with the non-rider doesn’t want to ride alone, the original party should split with another rider waiting as well.

  56. Don’t agree. One person riding twice doesn’t really affect the wait line and I personally don’t like to ride alone.

  57. This is not that bigg of deal. Most of the rides only sit 2 per row. By making this switch it will allow more people to ride from the regular line lowering wait times.

  58. I won’t be going any more if I have to pay for fast passes for each ride. I already stay on property, I no longer see a benefit.

  59. I don’t get the issue here…first, they didn’t take away the child swap. the child swap is for the person who didn’t get to go on as they had to stay with a child that couldn’t go on. They still get to go on, right? Correct. They still get to bring someone with – who already went on the attraction – so they don’t have to experience it alone, right? Correct. Quit the cryin.

  60. Aren’t most seats on the rides that this was intended for for only 2 people? So why is this so bad? It still allows the one who initially stayed with the little one or the one who is disabled, in my case, to have the opportunity to ride. This is an amazing opportunity they allow free of charge without a special pass and instead of complaining shouldn’t we just be grateful that they didn’t do away with it all together???

  61. It’s fair. Riding twice is not the goal. The goal is not having to wait in line twice for the adult who waited with a child.

  62. It doesn’t bother me. We never utilized that. Our family broke up into groups to do our thing and then got back together later. It worked great!!!! Now, that doesn’t mean that worked for every family and I’m like a bunch of others are getting SICK of Disney taking away perks for because that’s what all of this boils down to.

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