I am planning a trip for my family of 7 (6 adults, 1 baby). Do I need to reserve Fastpasses for all 6 adults for one ride if we plan to use Rider Swap (ex: Splash Mtn.), or can I book FastPasses for 3 adults for one ride - ie: Splash Mtn. (the other 3 use rider swap), and FastPasses for the other 3 adults for a different ride - ie: Space Mtn. (the other 3 use rider swap)? Thanks!
To the best of my understanding, most cast members (CM) will not ask to scan in all of Fast Passes (FP) for the second group of riders when doing the rider swap (RS), but they can and sometimes do ask. If the folks in the second group don’t have FP for that ride, the CM may refuse to issue a RS.
This is basically using RS to double the number of advance FP for your group, which many look at as scamming the system. The goal of RS is not to increase the number of FP your group can get, but to let groups enjoy attractions that their kid (or someone else) cannot without excessively long waits.
There is an extensive thread about this here:
Frankly, that thread makes my head swim.
Honestly, I think RS is a leftover idea from the days of pre Fastpass when everybody had to stand in the long standby lines.
Riderswap is only ‘necessary’ in the standby line, not FPP. If a family of 4 has 1 child who can’t (or won’t) ride Space Mountain, the family can get 3 FPP for the ride and no RS is necessary. 2 people ride using FPP, one waits with the kid, then when the first 2 are finished, the 3rd person rides using FPP (same as a RS) and, voila, no RS necessary (since FPP window is an hour, most FPP lines don’t exceed that time). It was only needed to avoid the 3rd person from having to wait in the (potentially long) standby line.
All that being said, I think Disney doesn’t really care, or they would address this. They could limit the RS pass to 1 person, only make RS available to people in the standby line, make the RS pass expire within an hour of it being issued, or do ANY of a number of things to curb whatever “abuse” of the RS policy exists. My short answer is, I don’t think that, as a company, they really care about it.
All of that really just supports what @Beth33 said. You may not need a FPP for all the people in your party. But every once in a while, you might.
The linked thread also demonstrates that, to REALLY game the RS system, a LOT of thought and planning is required… which is why Disney might not care.
We did this a few weeks ago and never needed both FastPasses, even on FOP. One can argue that it’s a scam of the system and we should all be limited by a timed return, but in reality with small children coming back within an hour may not happen. And, even in the FP line, you often wait 15-20 minutes, plus the ride time, plus the find your family and meet back up time, and the next rider could easily miss the hour window.
Scheduling this with real fastpasses would be hard since you would have to have a really good idea of all the above variables. This was the first time we paired FP with RS, and I was nervous (often made sure the other adult had the FP for that ride on a different day). In the past I’ve always reserved fastpasses for both adults, and there have been times when the second rider didn’t make the window.
The policy worked well in the days pre FP+, which was when I came across it.
So on our first trip, we had an 8 year old and 4 year old. In those days you raced across the park to get your paper FP, which gave you a time based roughly on the current stand-by wait time I think.
Anyway, we got ours for HM. When the time came to go, the little one started wailing “waaaah, it’s going to be too scary”! So I kinda sighed and said to DH to go on an dride it and we’d meet them after.
The CM said “wait up, have you heard of rider switch?” Obviously not “So you all redeem your FPs now. I give you this new piece of paper which allows you (as in me) to ride later on without having to wait stand-by; you just come here and redeem this rider switch instead of an FP. And the older one can ride too if he wants, so he gets to ride it with both of you. That way you can all go get another FP straight away without having to wait for you to ride afterwards”.
The key thing is that it was designed to save one parent missing out.
With FP+ it still does that. Otherwise one parent’s FP+ might expire before they could actually ride. Hence why they are still within their rights to insist everyone tap in before they issue a rider switch.
I agree with you, in that they probably don’t really care enough to implement it strictly across all rides. But if they begin to get wind of large numbers of people using it to get around the 3 FP+ limit, they might just do that.
Agreed. I would think that abuse of riderswitch is not all that common. I mean, what do you really gain? An extra 3 advanced FPP? In the Liner world, those are like gold, but to the overwhelming majority of people - they just might not care as much.
And I keep in mind that it is not a hassle-free thing to try and game the system. It requires a degree of planning most people are unwilling to go through. So, in reality, my absolute guess is that there is no significant RS abuse going on… which is why Disney doesn’t address it. I have never used RS, but i think the passes are good for an extended period of time (like days or weeks), so, I mean, if Disney cared AT ALL, there are many easy things they could do to curb abuse. They don’t, which tells me it is not likely a problem.
The previously linked thread though does a good job at the theoretical issues… and that is the kind of thing us Liner-Disney-Nerd types like to do.
So I have a possible hack for those people who are concerned about stranding fast passes for young children that are too small to ride specifically with FOP and Na’vi river. Let me know what everyone thinks. Its somewhat situation specific to my family with Myself, DH, DD- age 11, DD2-Age 9 and DS- Age3 (with a paid ticket even though my travel agent said that this maybe the only time i can get him into the parks for under 2 without a ticket because Disney doesn’t really check)
So DH and I will reserve FP for FOP. Tap in and get the rider switch.
All 3 kids will FP Na’vi river… except 1 of the older girls will wear DS’s magic band to tap in. DS for the purpose of Na’vi river will not have a magic band and be “under 2” not requiring FP.
Then when we return to rider switch Myself and 2 older daughters can ride FOP together
Only problem, DH misses out on Na’vi river - unless he wants to do standby line.
My only concern would be if your youngest were to ask “why can’t I tap in for this ride?” as you’re going in. But I think CMs are used to tots “tapping in” like the older ones, so he could still do that with his sister’s band!