Rider swap crackdown - what is your experience in the parks?

I posted about this when I asked about FP but am hoping to hear about recent experiences with rider swap in the parks. Our agent told us that Disney is “cracking down on the system” and everyone who is going to ride needs to have the FastPass booked. This doesn’t make sense to me because if I’m booking FPs why do I even need rider swap??
Right now I have FPs booked for 2 of us for several rides and am trying to decide whether to change everything around.
Ex: Animal Kingdom
2 of us (myself & my daughter) are booked for Expedition Everest @ 11:10-12:10 so we were going to ride and then switch with hubby and my son and stay with our little ones. Then I have my hubby and son scheduled for Dinosaur at 11:50-12:50 and we were going to switch again. I am being told now that we can’t do that because all of us need the FPs.

What have your experiences with this been? Is it being enforced?

That is correct, you all need FPs

In my experience, everyone needs a FP. I would ask(the CM at the first FP reader) for a rider swap, and sit with the little one while the other two grand children rode with their parents(all using FP). After their ride, the parents would take the little one and I would ride with the others, using my FP. At the time, they were very careful to check my FP, take my rider swap paper, and count the number of people with me(up to 3). I understand that this is SOP.

While some CMs may have been bending the rules, you shouldn’t plan on it.

You don’t need a fastpass to do riderswap. You can get riderswap from standby.

Also every website I have read says only one person needs a fastpass.

Ok so then explain can you please explain to me how it works?? I am SO confused!! There are About 8 rides between the 4 parks that my two younger children cannot ride. I am trying to figure out how to book and schedule the FPs so that the 4 of us who can ride will be able to in the most efficient way. One of the adults obviously needs to stay with the babies.

Initially I had some of the FPs booked for 2 of us with the intention of using rider swap for the other two but I am getting mixed info. So all 4 of us want to ride space mountain for example. Right now, I have it booked for 3 of us (me & my 2 kids) while my hubby stays with the younger 2. I tell the CM that we want to do rider swap and then what? And does hubby need a FP for that too or no?

The “safe” answer is yes hubby needs FPP and kids get 2nd ride via the rider swap so hubby does not ride alone.

The “in practice” and “on the ground” answer is most cast members will not enforce the FPP being needed for the 2nd rider and only verify a rider swap ticket and 3 people entering.

As you can see from previous posts Disney’s official policy is not exactly how most of us experience the rider swap on the ground. But if a CM insists on following the official Disney policy you would be stuck.


Don’t know if I’m contributing to this or confusing the issue further :slight_smile:

How do you get past the CM if you all don’t have a FPP for a ride with or without children, to do this. From what you are saying only one adult out of the two needs a FPP for both adults to ride, using the Child swap as a reason… yes? How does that work?



You go to the first CM at the FP line and say you need to rider swap - you need the child who is too small to ride there to prove it. They give you the rider swap pass. Those with a FP ride. Then they take over care of the small child, and the rest of the party (up to 3 people so possible that some could ride twice, for instance an older child riding first with mum then with dad) ride using that, via the FP line. The rider swap pass is generally not only valid for that day - I think it’s normally to the end of the month.

If nobody has a FP, the first riders would go standby but the second riders, using the Rider Swap pass, would still use the FP line.



I get it now just read this link seems like a loophole that woud get closed eventually, as it seem to be open to abuse. One person apparently to scared to ride out of a party of four (with only two FFP) doing a swap and riding later using the pass.



They can’t be too scared, they have to be too small, and they have to be seen by the CM to verify this. It does mean as I said that some people can ride twice, but that’s deliberate and was the case before FPP - Disney is a family park, they don’t want to force someone to ride alone.

This is not exactly accurate. I have read many conflicting pieces of advice on forums and websites.

But you can use Rider Switch for children who are scared to ride. My son is 7 and tall enough for most things but he is literally terrified of any sort of coaster - even the Barnstormer. He hates anything with a track and cries with a real panic on his face. He once ran off all the way down the queue line here at a theme park in the UK and we had to run after him.

I emailed Disney the other day and this was the response:
“Rider Swap is when Guests take turns waiting with youngsters too small to ride a certain attraction or those that do not want to ride, then “swap” with another adult Guest from their party to experience the ride without standing in line twice.”

My son is definitely in the latter part - too scared. It also says this on the website ‘a guest who does not wish to ride’.

I am still going to book a FP for him because I’m hoping he will suddenly change his mind - showing him lots of youtube videos of the actual rides before we go in August. But if he doesn’t, we can make use of his FP for someone else in the party to ride again within the hour.

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It does say that, but in the parks there are many reports of people being refused the swap even for young children who hit the height requirement but are too scared.

I assume that is because of the possibility of abuse mentioned by @p800aul. Everybody could do that, then ride later.

Thankfully I have decided to book FP for all and if need be, someone else in the party can use my son’s when he doesn’t go on.

I will have the screenshot of my email sent to me and have their own rules online on my phone just as a back-up.

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Nowhere on Disney’s website does it say both need a fastpass. It just says both must go to the line.

Can I just review how this works? Your whole party goes to the FP area- with the child not riding and you say: we need a rider swap. At that time the cast member gives you a lanyard and the riding party enters the FP line, scanning their bands and going on the ride. The non riders leave- you do not enter the line and do not scan your band (that actually does not make sense).

When the riding party loads the ride vechicle they get the pass (Star Tours was our only exception- they gave the pass at entrance).

The non riders actual should not have a fast pass- is that child going to be punished because they cannot ride with their family- or should they have a fast pass for something they can ride (they need an adult with the same fast pass).

I have heard on podcasts that this is not “as they system is intended” but in reality it is the system that works for the child.


I was not saying it does. I don’t use rider swap much. Even when we have a non rider we usually just switch bands and let one of the other kids ride twice with the non rider adult. I was referring to the earlier thread on this discussion where @rosie_doal got information back from Disney about the rules.

Edit to add the link to the original thread discussion. FastPass tips

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It can be too scared too. My niece was tall enough for Tower of Terror and too young to wait alone. She hated that ride. We still received Rider Swap.

I know that’s what it says on the website but I’ve seen countless complaints that CMs have refused to give them because the child is tall enough. I’m glad it worked out for you though. My point was really just that it isn’t open to widespread abuse. CMs aren’t going to give rider swap passes to grown adults, unless they can’t be left alone for health reasons.

My exact experience in September (with DH and DS1) was that only one of us needed a FP+. We did this many times on 7DMT, Splash, Mission Space and Everest. The baby was often in the stroller or being held close by but never really went up to the CM to be scrutinized. I also got a swap at 7DMT once going through standby at rope drop. Sometimes the returning rider rode alone and sometimes we rode with my cousin.

This was back in September, so it is possible there has been a “crack down” so to speak. I do agree with the argument that if everyone already had FP+ then you wouldn’t need the rider swap. I think that the original intention of rider swap was so that only one parent would have to wait in the standby line.


Can I ask another question? What happens if the other rider(s) DO have a FPP for that attraction?


Soarin - I get FPP for all of us
DH & DS ride and get rider swap pass for me.
They get off and DS & I go ride - CAN I use my FPP? Or do I not even have that option?

I guess my concern is if I book them that way to keep them all together, not sure if I I would be able to use mine, or if would have to cancel mine out. Also not sure if it could cause problems booking additional ones in the “tier” parks?

Also, would a 2.5 yo have the option of getting FPP? I see her when planning for magic bands, but not sure if the option will be there to book FPP. I thought I’d read that you couldn’t book FPP for that age?