My traveling party is DS 71/2 not too adventurous, DD 12 1/2 very adventurous, SIL will ride everything and I’ll ride most things. Do I schedule FPP equally across the board for our group if we plan to mostly stay together in the parks? We would do rider swap where possible for my DS on things like Space Mtn, EE, TT, and RR. Assuming they let us do rider swap. He’s pretty small for 7 but is over the height for most of those. I just don’t want to waste his FPP, but we will be staying together so. . . I’m a little confused.
Last I knew you cannot do Rider Swap for a child who is allowed on the ride. You could book him his own FPP for another attraction, but then only he would be able to use it. Maybe with some encouragement (“See - Mickey thinks that you are a big enough boy to go on this ride!”) you can get him to go on so the whole family can enjoy the experience.
There have been varying reports about being able to use Rider Swap with an older child. I think @brklinck is correct but some CMs may let you - some may not. You can always schedule FPP for everyone in your group. You and DD12 can ride; then DD12 can borrow DS7’s magic band and use his FPP to ride again with your SIL. That way a FPP won’t be wasted.
If you can do rider swap - you can just switch two of your FPP to a different attraction. You don’t have to use the rider swap pass right away so you can use when the new FPP window opens.
I did a little research and I now see that WDW has changed the conditions of Rider Swap (or Rider Switch Service as they call it) to allow it for children who do not wish to go on a participating ride. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/rider-switch/ for details.
Since you do Rider Swap, then there are various tricks you can do to maximize your FPPs - I believe that it involves only getting an FPP reservation for 1 member of your party. However, I have never done this, so hopefully those with more experience can chime in.
The only time I have every “maximized” using rider swap is to get two Tier 1 attractions. My son likes Test Track but not Soarin’. I like both. My DH will FPP for Soaring and I will ride using swap. My son and I will FPP for Test Track and my DH could rider swap. We also have a DS2 who was too short for the ride - so I never tried rider swap with an older child.
For your family, you can make FPP for SIL at Soarin. Get a Rider Swap pass and use it for yourself and DD. Make a FPP for Test Track for yourself - use Rider Swap for DD and SIL. I guess that you could do the same thing at MK. Make 1 FPP for Thunder Mountain and 1 FPP for Space and use Rider Swap that would leave 2 “extra” FPP for your day - the kids could go on the speedway or something. It gets a little complicated and will take some planning.
Thanks this is really helpful information! Sounds like this could be tricky and a little complicated but doable.