How Does Disney’s Rider Switch Work? A Parent’s Guide

Going to Walt Disney World with young children can be stressful, but with the right tools, everyone can have a great time. One of our favorite vacation-saving tools is Disney’s Rider Switch. In this post, we’ll explain how Disney’s Rider Switch works as well as the rides at all four Disney theme parks that offer this free service.

Stick around for some insider tips too!

This free service allows families to enjoy their favorite attractions even when little ones don’t meet the height requirement or simply don’t want to ride–without waiting in line twice!

Rider Switch is a great way to satisfy everyone and save time waiting in line, so if the Disney mountains are calling, then by all means, go!

father and son walk through Star Tours Entrance featuring AT AT Walker
Star Tours Entrance Dani Meyering

How Rider Switch Works

  • The entire party, including anyone not riding, goes to the attraction entrance to check in and request a rider switch pass.
  • At least one adult age 14+ waits outside with young children while the rest of the party waits in line. The cast member at the attraction entrance scans the ticket or Magic Band of any non-riders, who can come back and present their ticket later when it’s their turn to ride.
  • While the rest of the party waits to ride, non-riders can have a snack, use the bathroom, run and play, or simply ride something else. Some Rider Switch attractions, like Soarin’, even have waiting areas where you can sit with your child, if you prefer not to wander off.
  • When the first party exits the ride, they meet up with any non-riders and switch! Anyone who did not already ride can return to the attraction entrance and present their ticket or Magic Band for access to the Lightning Lane. The Rider Switch entitlement is good for up to two people, so the initial non-rider can bring someone along for double the fun!

Note: In order to combine a paid Lightning Lane service with Rider Switch, everyone in the party must have a paid Lightning Lane reservation.

In other words, if your party plans on using Lightning Lane to skip the standby line the first time around, the person waiting outside would also need a Lightning Lane reservation before cast members can assign a Rider Switch return time. This applies to both Disney Genie+ daily passes, and individual pay-per-ride reservations.

Which Attractions Offer Rider Switch?

Magic Kingdom Park

  • The Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run
4 year old boy drives car at Tomorrowland Indy Speedway magic kingdom
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway Offers Rider Switch Dani Meyering


  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind *All Rider Swap participants are required to be in a Virtual Queue boarding group or have an individually purchased Lightning Lane entrance for this attraction prior to boarding.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (you must join a boarding group before you can use Rider Switch)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® 
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Na’vi River Journey

What Can I Do While I Wait?

Rider Switch is a time saver in more ways than one. Not only do you avoid standing in line twice, but you can use the time spent waiting to take care of basic tasks or create special one-on-one memories with your children. Here are some great ways to make the most of your rider switch waiting period at Walt Disney World.

  • Squeeze in a nap! Find someplace less stimulating, turn on a stroller fan and some white noise, and walk or rock your child to sleep.
  • Take care of basic needs, like feeding, diaper changes or snack time.
  • Ride one of your child’s favorite rides, meet characters like Mickey and Minnie, or catch a show while you wait.
  • Mobile order your next meal to save time later in the day.
  • Find a playground or dance party and let your kid burn off some energy.
  • Explore! Browse the unique shops and take in all the little details that make up these incredible themed worlds.
slice of pizza burger, salad and dessert from Connections Eatery EPCOT
Connections Eatery EPCOT is located near rides with rider switch Dani Meyering

Overall, Rider Switch is a must-have for families with young children. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of a day at Walt Disney World, whether your family loves Star Wars or Mickey Mouse. Best of all, it’s completely free to use!

Here’s a quick refresher…

Rider Switch Process:

  1. The whole party checks in at the attraction entrance for the rider switch pass.
  2. One adult stays with young children or non-riders while others wait in line.
  3. Non-riders can explore nearby or ride other attractions.
  4. After the first party rides, they swap with non-riders.
  5. Non-riders return with their pass for Lightning Lane access, bringing one extra person.

If you have any questions along the way, cast members at each attraction are happy to help.

author avatar
Beth Bell