Rider Swap and RD

Happy Friday all!!

Currently mulling over our HS plans for our upcoming trip in February. My current TPs are including FPs for SDD however I am not expecting to secure these (our HS days are 60+1 and 60+3) and trying to come up with a plan B.

Our party consists of myself, DH, DDad, DMom, DD8, DS6, DD4 and DD2. My youngest will not be tall enough to ride SDD and so we will plan on utilizing Rider Swap. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience or tips using rider swap either at RD or at park close. My current plan is to be in HS both nights for fireworks (Star Wars Dessert Party on one and F! on the other) but I am considering rethinking this and trying for SDD at park close. Can you still use RS if you hop in line less than an hour before close? What about right before close? What do they do with a rider swap pass then?

I think I would prefer to go the standby line at park close as opposed to RD…it just seems like a calmer, less crazy scenario! At RD I just picture swarms of people heading the same way as we are, trying to navigate the stroller quickly, and then people streaming by us as we stand at the front of the line trying to load our RS passes and it sounds awful and stressful.

I would so appreciate any advice anyone has to offer on this! Thank you!

I wouldn’t risk waiting until the end of the day if it will be my only time riding a top choice ride. If it closes for some reason, you’ll be out of luck. Better to go at RD and if anything happens you can try back later. You may have more swarming at RD but if you are truly there at RD your wait won’t be too bad.

I can’t speak for park close, since I haven’t done it at that time, but I would be worried the second group would not be allowed back in line for the rider swap after the official park closing time.

At rope drop, rider swap works just like at any other time, there is just a huge crowd of people behind you. Knowing what to expect will help, so what will happen is they will ask who is riding 2nd, and they will want to scan those people’s magic bands to add the rider switch pass to their MDE account. That group can consist of a maximum of 3 people. Everyone needs to come to the CM at the entrance to the ride to do this, then the group that is not riding first can go do something else, like ride Alien Swirling Saucers.

I’ve had 3 different experiences for how that process happens:

  1. Everything works fine, they scan the bands and the first group proceeds through the line.
  2. The handheld computer they scan bands with is not working yet and they hand out paper rider switch passes. In this case, when you come back, whichever 3 people want to ride can ride, since it is not tied to any specific people. (I had this happen at Big Thunder Mountain at rope drop)
  3. The CM with the scanner is having trouble and just takes the magic bands of anyone from the first group who will be riding in the second group so he can figure it out without causing you to get held up and have to wait in a long standby line. (This happened at 7DMT at rope drop)

I’m sure there are other possible things that can happen, but my experience is that rider switch at rope drop works just fine.

That’s a good point. And I had really wanted to try out both fireworks shows so avoiding last hour lines would be the best way to do that. Thank you!

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@heidelj, thank you for such great info! I agree with you that how we handle RD’ing SDD has a lot to do with expectations. And past experience is likely making me nervous. We had our first trip in January 2018 and all of what I thought I had prepared for ended up being off. Crowds were higher than I expected. Lines longer. RD was way more crowded, we were farther back in the pack than I had hoped, our RD ride had a longer line than I had planned for, etc…I think it’s scarred me :sob:

I appreciate your info on SDMT as I’d imagine similar chaos is there at RD with RS.

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