Hi Mamas(and daddies)! It’s Valentine’s week. The week of love! I have found that a lot of mamas put aside something they love at Disney for the sake of their children. Any guesses? The RIDES! Just because a child is too young or too small to ride a ride is no reason for the parents to not enjoy them. (pictured below is my favorite ride!)
Disney has a program called Rider Switch just for this situation. It has been explained on the internet all kinds of wrong ways so people don’t seem to understand how it actually works. I have found there are two ways it works-the official proper way and the unofficial way.
The first way, is the OFFICIAL protocol from Disney. One parent is to either have a fast pass for a ride or plan on waiting in the line to ride the ride. Before getting into line for either approach, you go to the Fast Pass entrance and tell the attendant you have a child that is too small to ride and you would like a Rider Switch pass. The attendant will want to see your children and other adult so you point out your spouse /friend/grandparent/other traveling companion and your children. Then they give you the Rider Switch pass (pictured below). It will have a date but no time on it. Then the first parent can enter the ride using their fast pass or the regular line. That parent comes out and “Switches” the children and the other parent goes in the Fast Pass entrance using the Rider Switch pass.
Things to know :
- The Rider Switch pass is good for three people.
- If you have multiple children and one is tall enough they can ride it with both parents.
- There will be plenty to do with the non-rider while you wait.
- There is a way to maximize your fast pass availability. You are only allowed one fast pass per hour. Since you only need to use one fast pass to enter the ride, the other adult can use their ticket for a different fast pass. Genius!
The second way is how it has worked for our family and others we’ve witnessed. This is not the OFFICIAL way so do not expect it to work this way. I do not want people to think this is a way to cheat the system, as it isn’t intended to do that. At some point the cast members will have a meeting and be retrained on Rider Switch. Until then you might get lucky and be able to eliminate a step. When we have approached the Fast Pass line to ask for the Rider Switch we tell them we have two adults that need to ride and they almost always have given out two passes. Then there’s no need for the fast pass. This has not always been the case but I would say more times than not, this is how it worked. There were a few that only handed us one. Remember the passes are good for three people but all three people have to enter at once. On our last trip there were four adults and they still handed us two passes in most cases. We only needed one pass because the official way would say one person waits in line then the other three ride on the Rider Switch. I truly believe that the cast members are not all trained properly on this feature and that is why some will hand out more Rider Switch passes than you need. I could tell you that you should give back the extra, but I don’t give back the extra pass. I don’t ask for the extra pass but if it is handed to me, I will use it.
Don’t wait until your kids are older for you to enjoy the rides. Ride them now and have fun too! Your kids will not be bored waiting on you. Things we’ve done with our kids while one parent rides: saw a character, danced at the dance parties, had a snack, just stopped and people watched, looked in a shop, rode another ride. There is no way the kids will be bored! Yes, at some point they will realize that you are doing something really cool and fun. Our oldest can’t wait to ride Space Mountain. He doesn’t even know what all it does as he’s only three. He just knows Mommy and Daddy love it so of course it must be fun. It’s ok to build their anticipation on when they are tall enough to do different things. We even have a growth chart that tracks their height based on what rides they are tall enough to ride! That is part of the fun of some rides!
It’s not selfish or wrong for mamas (and daddies) to get to enjoy the parks and the rides too. Everyone will have something fun to do while this happens. Enjoy! Use Rider Switch and get those thrill rides in now (assuming you aren’t pregnant of course!)