We've seen it all too often — a wide-eyed child with a fresh MagicBand and Mickey ears eagerly walks up to the entrance of an attraction ...
"Whoa, partner, let me measure you before you head in there," says the cast member.
The eager toddler bravely stands against the measuring pole, wondering if THIS is the year they finally get to experience ... well, I'm sure you know how this story ends.
The joy of a Disney World vacation is seeing the tadpoles have the time of their lives — braving thunderous mountains or soaring over famous landmarks. No parent or family member wants to step into the queue of a toadally awesome attraction, only to find out that their little one is not tall enough to ride. Having an idea of which rides your little one will and will not be able to experience goes a long way. Preparation can avoid devastation. At the same time, there may be others in your party who meet the height requirements. Should they miss out on the thrills because one person can't ride? (Skip Space Mountain?! Are you kidding me?) Not to worry — Disney has a solution.
In this post, we'll walk you through all of the Disney World height requirements and outline the details of the Rider Switch service, sometimes called child swap. We'll also go over how Rider Switch operates with the new Disney Genie system. Let's hop in!
Complete Guide to Disney World Height Requirements
For those of you who just want to know Disney World's height requirements, feel free to skip down to them. We won't judge. For the rest of you, we're going to walk you through the ins and outs of using the Disney World Rider Switch service.
Disney World Rider Switch Service
When I visited Disney World as a young froglet, I was nowhere near tall enough to experience some rides. My siblings were plenty tall, and they were not going to miss out on all of the fun. The solution? My mom and I sat out while my dad and siblings went on the big rides. When they were done, mom would get back in line and wait by herself. Hey, mom loved watching Country Bear Jamboree with me, but she'd rather be on Space Mountain with her entire family.
Disney World Rider Switch allows grown-ups to take turns enjoying the thrill rides without having to wait in line twice. So everyone gets to ride who wants to! It works just as well for tadpoles who don't meet the height requirements or don't want to ride. Say your child is tall enough to ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but — NO WAY DROPS, FORGET IT — they may wait with an adult using the same Rider Switch procedure.
Using Rider Switch
Even if you've visited the parks before, please note that Disney World's Rider Switch policy changes from time to time, so read up before your visit. You can use Disney World Rider Switch at all four theme parks. Not every single attraction offers this option, but cast members do have the discretion to help you out.
When you're ready to use the Disney World Rider Switch service, just hop to the attraction's entrance with your entire group present and let the cast member know you'd like to switch off. The cast member will scan the MagicBands or park tickets of those who will ride second. You'll be known as "Party 2" and will see the Rider Switch passes added to the plans section of the My Disney Experience app. The rest of your group will be known as "Party 1" and will ride the attraction while Party 2 waits.
The return time for Party 2 will reflect the attraction's current wait time minus 10 minutes, and there will be a one-hour window of use. So, if you arrive at 10 a.m. and the current wait is 40 minutes, then your Rider Switch pass will show that Party 2 may return to experience the attraction between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m and enter the Lightning Lane. You can only have a Rider Switch pass for one attraction at a time, so you must use it before you get one for another ride.
Here's how we use it. I usually wait with Lily while Leap and Tad experience the attraction first, then Leap will take my spot with Lily and I'll ride! Tad can even enjoy the attraction twice if he wants (and he usually always does). We just scan his ticket as Party 2 before he rides with Party 1 and then he hops along in Party 2!
Keep in mind that with a recent change, the rider is allowed only one guest on the second ride through. So when the non-riding guest switches parties, there can only be a total of two guests per Rider Switch pass. This way, everyone can still enjoy the ride and no one has to ride alone (plus, someone gets to ride twice, lucky them!)
Using Disney Child Swap with Disney Genie
With the new Disney Genie, guests can purchase either Genie+ or individual attractions to bypass the standby wait and utilize the Lightning Lane. So you may be wondering how this affects Rider Switch? Never fear, Rider Switch is still toadally in use. If you do not want to purchase anything additional, you will use Rider Switch as normal with Party 1 entering through the standby line.
If you purchase Genie+ or individual attraction selections, you can use both Genie and Rider Switch together. Note that if you want your entire party to use the Lightning Lane, everyone who is riding must have purchased and selected the arrival window. For attractions using a virtual queue, everyone must have a boarding group. Once at the attraction, let the cast members know you are also using Rider Switch.
Disney World Rider Switch Rides and Height Requirements
The following rides offer Rider Switch and some have height requirements. Check with the cast member at the attraction, but the returning party will usually use either the Single Rider line or the Lightning Lane to access the ride.
- The Barnstormer: 35 inches (89 cm) min. height
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 38 inches (97 cm) min. height
- Space Mountain: 44 inches (113 cm) min. height
- Splash Mountain: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Tomorrowland Speedway: 32 inches (82 cm) min. height
- Frozen Ever After: No height requirement, but Rider Switch is offered
- Mission: SPACE: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Soarin': 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Test Track: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers: 32 inches (81 cm) min. height
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run: 38 inches (97 cm) min. height
- Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Slinky Dog Dash: 38 inches (97 cm) min. height
- Star Tours - The Adventure Continues: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage: 44 inches (112 cm) min. height
- DINOSAUR: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: 44 inches (113 cm) min. height
- Kali River Rapids: 38 inches (97 cm) min. height
- Na'vi River Journey: No height requirement, but Rider Switch is offered
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Bay Slides: 60 inches (152 cm) maximum height
- Crush 'n' Gusher: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Humunga Kowabunga: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Ketchakiddee Creek: 48 inches (122 cm) maximum height
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Chairlift: 32 inches (82 cm) min. height
- Downhill Double Dipper: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Slush Gusher: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Summit Plummet: 48 inches (122 cm) min. height
- Tike's Peak: 48 inches (122 cm) maximum height
Have a question about Disney World height requirements? Are you a Rider Switch pro with stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Related: Our Magical Overview of Disney Genie