My DS13 has decided that he doesn’t like thrill rides. Thankfully there’s still a lot at WDW that doesn’t meet that threshold but looking for suggestions on when the rest of the family (that’s 3 of us) want to do Space Mountain, ToT, Everest, etc. Will they let us do rider switch at 13? It’s less about not leaving him alone and more about him being bored while we all stand in line (plus with switch someone always has to ride by themselves and that’s not as much fun). I don’t remember the lines well- can he wait with us and then just pass through/not get on?
They won’t force him to ride, but I don’t know what the protocol is. For example at Splash I’ve seen someone simply get into the boat and out again on the other side; I expect that’s an option for some others. But they have a chicken exit for every ride AFAIK. I know there is for ToT - albeit it’s an elevator.
But also there would be things he can do nearby. Like Buzz whilst you ride Space Mtn. Or just look around, look in nearby shops, explore a little - if he has a phone you could text him when you’re off the ride and he could tell you where he is.
Not every attraction is configured to allow a “step-through”, but every attraction has a way to exit the boarding area without getting on the ride.
We always made our way to the ride exit, set that our “rally” point, and then split up. Using the estimated wait time plus a little fudge factor we set the time to meet back up. We have used that strategy with our then 13 year old and he was happy to sit nearby and play a video game or walk around.
Funny how things change over time. It used to be the kids who were afraid to get on an attraction, and now it’s Dad who can’t tolerate the Virtual Reality and has to bow out.
He’s not into VR either but they also make my DH queasy so it’s an even split. Sounds like he’ll at least have the choice of either hanging out with us in line or exploring.
To answer your question directly, I remember reading reports of people being denied rider swap if the rider was clearly tall enough to ride or able to be left alone. And even if they let you, it’s not really intended for the purpose of allowing parties to split up and do multiple attractions for the “price” of one.
So I would recommend the chicken exit approach or have DS do something on his own or with another member of your party who doesn’t want to ride.
I think people may be talking about two different things here. If you mean rider swap like baby swap, I don’t know if they’ll allow it with a 13 year old. Possibly since they allow it for people with handicaps. If you mean wait in line with you then bail out while the rest of the family rise, that should be possible. I don’t do thrill rides, but my husband does. I wait in line with him then when we get close I ask a CM when / where I can leave.
Most importantly, this would be really inefficient. Rider switch is really just a last resort for families that have to use it.
With a 13 year old, I’d offer the choice of checking out the gift shop/grabbing a snack or just staying with us in line.
This is why I can’t be a CM. I’d be the one telling you there’s no way out and you have to ride.
This isnt ideal, but if there is 2 adults, would yall be willing to swap riding with the one who wants to ride? Then DS13 doesnt have to go through the process of leaving a ride. Make a list of thrill rides and alternates close by, could be shops, experiences, just things to do, that he would enjoy. While the thrill ride is being ridden, 1 adult is doing the alt plan with DH13. Just a suggestion, if 2 adults.
Yes, two adults but I was being self-centered and not wanting to give up on experiences myself . If the line is short one of us could circle back on the ride but I’m not expecting that will happen often based on wait times I’m seeing. I’ll have to look at the maps at bit more and come up with some alternate plans. In the past we’ve had grandparents with us so this is the first time it’s been an issue. Curious how others have handled it.
Granted, at 13 he may only want to sit on a bench so he can “prove” what a miserable day he’s had away from his video gaming…
I wonder if the arcade/ game areas is AK and MK will be open. Might be an option. But yes, I went to Disney at 12 with grandparents and was sooo “miserable” (only in pics, i secretly had a great time) My DS at 16 decided he no longer liked Disney. Recently admitted it was just because he was in that awkward teenage phase
If the ride is outside, give him the job of capturing a photo of y’all.
Or get him a snack while you ride.
My 13-year-old would be mortified if we asked for rider switch with him there, and only slightly less mortified to have to utilize the chicken exit. Honestly I would toss him some money for a snack and have him wait by the exit.
So, if a kid has to be 14 to be unaccompanied in the parks (which is the official policy) then it seems crappy if they wouldn’t allow a rider switch. The point of doing it for little ones is so they don’t have to wait in line for things they aren’t riding, so why would it be fair to make an older child wait?
I didn’t know this and just looked it up to verify - sure enough it was changed in 2013 (used to be 7 and under). However, the official policy says they need to be 14 “to enter” the parks unaccompanied. I think there is implied latitude to allow for splitting up briefly once you’re in the park.
Is the rule still that a 7 yr old can ride alone on rides? That would seem to agree that a child under 14 can be left alone for the duration of a ride.
7 year olds can ride alone, yes. The 14 year old can be left alone for the duration of a ride, but what about the 90 minute wait before that? I personally would say yes, but we roamed the property freely at 13, so what do I know?
I take that to mean I can send my 7 yo through the line alone
At least there they’re contained, and not roaming around causing havoc and stalking attractive young tram operators.