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.
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. It works just as well for tadpoles who don't meet the height requirements. BONUS — Combined with FastPass+, it effectively gives you more FastPass+ selections.
One thing to know is that Rider Switch is not just for tadpoles who don't meet the height requirement. 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. Be sure to 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 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 FastPass+ 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 FastPass+ line. 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).
Keep in mind that up to two guests are allowed per pass each time. So when the non-riding guest switches parties, there can only be a total of three guests per Rider Switch pass.
Using Disney Child Swap with FastPass+
Combining FastPass+ with Rider Switch is a terrific save-time strategy in the parks. You'll start by making FastPass+ reservations for only the Party 1 riders. If you are a family of four with one little one, for example, and three of you want to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, only two of you would need FastPass+ reservations for it. This effectively gives you more FastPass+ options. Here's how it works: Your party will enter the FastPass+ queue, and you'll be given a Rider Switch ticket that covers up to three people. Those who are riding first will need to have FastPass+ reservations, and they will stay in line, while the others will exit. Once those riding first are finished, you'll reunite with the waiting pair, switch and then use the Rider Switch ticket to hop on the ride.
Disney World Rider Switch Rides and Height Requirements
- 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 (112 cm) min. height
- Splash Mountain: 40 inches (102 cm) min. height
- Tomorrowland Speedway: 32 inches (81 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 (112 cm) min. height
- Kali River Rapids: 38 inches (97 cm) min. height
- Primeval Whirl (open seasonally): 48 inches (122 cm) min. 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.