Walt Disney World offers an incredible number of rides and attractions for kids of any height (including infants), but there are still a handful of rides in each of the four theme parks with height restrictions.

If you are traveling with small children, you might automatically rule those rides out – but you don’t need to because Walt Disney World offers a great solution called rider swap or child swap.

So what is rider swap, and how does it work?

Essentially, one parent/adult waits with the child who is too short while the other one goes on the ride.  When the riding adult is done, the waiting adult is able to go on that same ride via the FastPass+ line using a paper pass.

Here are the details on how it works:

Both adults and the child who is too short to ride approach a cast member at the front of the ride and say they would like to do a rider swap or child swap.  The cast member will want to actually see that there is a child too short to ride.

The riding adult is then handed a plastic card, such as the one below, at the ride entrance. (Note: Occasionally, and on certain rides, such as Star Tours, an adult doing rider swap will immediately be given a paper rider swap pass instead of first receiving a plastic one.  This is usually when a second FastPass+ checkpoint is not in use.)

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When they get to the second FastPass+ checkpoint, where the standby and FastPass+ lines merge, they hand that plastic pass to the cast member there and receive a paper rider swap pass, like this:

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After the first adult rides the ride, they give that paper pass to the adult who waited.  That adult then is able to enter the same ride through the FastPass+ line by showing the paper pass to the cast member at the entrance.  The paper pass is then collected by a cast member at the second FastPass+ checkpoint (or at the FastPass+ entrance if the ride isn’t using the second FastPass+ checkpoint for any reason).

Here are some important things to know about Disney World’s rider swap:

Rider swap is offered on every Disney ride with a height requirement – and only those rides.

Rider swap is only available to you if you have a child in your group who is too short to ride.  Disney does not even let children enter a line if they are too short for that ride.  Also, this is not something you can use if your child is too scared – but tall enough – to ride.

A paper rider swap pass is good to use for up to three people.  If you have one or two other children who are tall enough to ride, then they can go twice – once with mom and once with dad (or another adult in your party).

Paper rider swap passes generally expire at the end of the current month.  If you are tight on time (or your too-short child simply doesn’t want to wait any longer), you can use the rider swap pass later in the day or during another day of your trip.  

You can use rider swap if you are going on a ride through the standby line or the FastPass+ line (if you have a FastPass+ for that ride).

Occasionally, if a height restriction ride has no wait, a cast member may refuse to provide a child swap pass.

Tip: If you aren’t going to use your rider swap pass at all on your trip, you can always spread some pixie dust by passing it along to another guest to use.

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Here are all of the rides with height restrictions at Walt Disney World’s four theme parks (where rider swap is offered):

Magic Kingdom:

  • Tomorrowland Speedway (32″)
  • The Barnstormer (35″)
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38″)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40″)
  • Splash Mountain (40″)
  • Stitch’s Great Escape! (40″)
  • Space Mountain (44″)

Epcot:

  • Soarin’ (40″)
  • Test Track (40″)
  • Mission: SPACE (44″)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Star Tours (40″)
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (40″)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (48″)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • Kali River Rapids (38″)
  • Dinosaur (40″)
  • Expedition Everest (44″)
  • Primeval Whirl (48″)