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Guide to Disney World Height Requirements

by Mommy Frog on August 31, 2017 47 Orlando

Disney World Height Requirements

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 a queue of a really awesome attraction, only to find out that their little one is not tall enough to ride. Having an idea of which rides your little 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 that 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 child swap system, sometimes called Rider Switch.

Guide To Disney World Height Requirements

Guide to Disney World Height Requirements - Pandora Avatar Height Requirement

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.

Disney World Rider Switch

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 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 grownups 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.

Disney World Height Requirements - Test Track

One thing to know is that Rider Switch is not just for tadpoles that 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 the Disney World Rider Switch, just hop to the attraction's entrance with your group and let the Cast Member know you'd like to switch off.  The Cast Member will issue you and the guest who will not be riding the Rider Switch Pass. You'll be known as "Party 2." You'll then be shown a designated waiting area. The rest of your group will be known as "Party 1" and will ride the attraction while you wait. Once Party 1 is finished, you'll board the attraction and the non-riding guest will switch over to Party 1!

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).

You won't have to wait a second time after the non-riding guest switches to Party 1. You'll be able to immediately board the attraction—that's the beauty of Rider Switch. Be sure to hold onto that Rider Switch Pass, because you'll need to hand it over to the Cast Member in order to ride. One time we lost our pass. Meltdowns ensued. Leap took it worse than the kids.

Keep in mind only two guests are allowed per pass each time. When the non-riding guest switches parties, there can only be one other person present with them.

Using Disney World Child Swap with FastPass+

Disney World Height Requirements - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

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

Disney World Height Requirements - Big Thunder Mountain RailroadMagic Kingdom

Epcot

Guide to Disney World Height Requirements - Epcot Mission Space

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Guide to Disney World Height Requirements - Pandora Avatar Flight of Passage Entrance

Have a question about the Disney World height requirements? Are you a Rider Switch pro with stories to share? Let us know in the comments below. 

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Sep 30, 2017 at 6:27 p.m. Carolyn Says...

I will be traveling with my 3 children. Ages 12, 10 and 5. Will we be allowed to use rider swItch? Only one adult so my 12 year old will be watching the 5 year old.

Reply
Oct 1, 2017 at 9:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carolyn,

This is a good question, and we're not sure. There is no age restriction on Rider Switch. However, Disney's policy is that a child under 7 must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or younger in order to board an attraction. Perhaps one of our readers has experienced this and can let us know how it works?

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 3, 2017 at 2:47 a.m. Maren Shaw Says...

Do you know why you can get a ride swap for frozen and na'vi river (both no height requirement) , but not for pirates of the Caribbean?

Reply
Jul 3, 2017 at 7:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Maren,

That's a good question, and one we don't know. Maybe one of our readers does.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 10, 2017 at 1:31 a.m. Theresa Says...

Just a guess but I think you can do child swap for frozen due to the super long lines. I wouldn't want to take a baby in a line that is over two hours long personally.

Reply
Jun 22, 2017 at 4:27 p.m. Felicia Says...

Hello, I'll be going to Animal Kingdom on Dec 23, and we all want to get on Expedition Everest and by the time I don't know if my 5 year old will 44" to ride. So do I still have to get the FastPass+ for her an order to get the rider switch? It will be 2 adults , 2 kids. (Ages 5, 10). So my husband will get to ride with his son, and when its over I'll get to ride with my son correct ? We will have to get FastPass+ for us ? Sorry if this doesn't make sense lol

Reply
Jun 22, 2017 at 3:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Felicia,

If your 5-year-old will not be tall enough, then they will not need a FastPass+ if you are going to do Rider Switch. Everyone else will need their own individual FP+.

Hoppy planning,

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 10, 2017 at 9:38 p.m. Kim Says...

I thought that only the first riders would need FP+'s. If a party of 4 (2 riding adults, 1 riding child, 1 non rider). You will need to use FP+ for 1 adult and riding child. Then other adult and riding child go using RS. Riding child goes twice, only 2 FP+s used. Is that wrong? Do all 3 riders need FPs?

Reply
Sep 10, 2017 at 8:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kim,

Your method is correct. You'll only need two FP+ per attraction for your party of four.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 20, 2017 at 1:09 p.m. Todd Says...

Am I understanding this correctly... We are traveling with 6 adults and a 20 month old.

Adults 1-3 use their fast pass and ride while adults 4-6 stay back with the little one. After adults 1-3 get off the ride adults 4-6 can then ride w/o needing fast pass?

This essentially means adults our group would be able to fast pass up to 6 rides w/o any issues. Or in the case of Epcot we could have 3 people fast pass test track as tier 1 and the other 3 past pass Soarin.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Reply
May 31, 2017 at 2:29 a.m. Jeremy Says...

Did it work? When did you go?

Reply
May 20, 2017 at 11:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Todd,

Yes, that's a good strategy. Know that child swap only works with attractions that have a height requirement so things like Frozen Ever After or Haunted Mansion would not apply to that strategy.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 7, 2017 at 2:22 p.m. Laura Says...

Hello,

We are heading to WDW in a few days and this will be the first time traveling to WDW with our kids. We are a party of 4 adults, 2 kids and 1 toddler. The toddler does not get fast pass, b/c he is 22 months and no ticket was purchased, correct? The kids meet height requirements, so they will be able to ride all the rides. I am trying to maximum fast pass and rider swap. So for many of the fast passes, I selected 3 adults and 1 of the kids using a fast pass. Can the other kid use a fast pass from one of the adults? Meaning we will have 2 adults and 2 kids riding. Would we need to switch wrist bands, so that both kids can ride the ride. I was hoping to maximum the number of fast passes for the kids by using some of the adult fast passes for the kids. I was also going to use rider swap. Do I need a fast pass for the person waiting with the toddler, if the other people in the party have a fast pass? Can I use the rider swap without fast pass for a ride that the others in my party are using fast pass?

Here is a little chart that I hope helps you answer some of my questions....

Fast Pass Selection Ride Selection 1 Like to Ride

Using Fast Pass

Adult 1 X X

Adult 2 X X

Adult 3 X Fast Pass

Used by Kid 2

Adult 4 Wait (rider swap)

Kid 1 X X

Kid 2 X use FP from A3

Both kids would be able to ride again using rider swap and A4 would ride. A3 would not ride the ride at all.

Reply
May 8, 2017 at 8:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura,

Here's answers to your questions.

A) Your toddler does not need an admission ticket/FastPass+

B) After entering the park, you may swap Magic Bands between adults and kids

C) As we understand it, the non-riding adult with the toddler does not need a Fastpass+

D) If you are going to use Rider Swap, then you would need a FastPass+

Hoppy Planning,

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 28, 2017 at 5:45 a.m. Jennifer Says...

Is a ride swap system available at Disneyland?

Reply
Apr 28, 2017 at 7:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer,

Yes, Disneyland has Ride Swap. You may read about it here!

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 26, 2017 at 3:45 p.m. KR Says...

I don't know that this has been answered yet--if it's Just me and my two kids, will a cast member wait with my not-tall-enough hold while I ride with the older? Or do we effectively have to miss all the big ones because there isn't another adult to wait?

Reply
Apr 26, 2017 at 12:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

KR,

While Cast Members are not permitted to wait with children, Disney has a preferred childcare provider. Kids Night Out, is a sitter in the park service that can wait with your child.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 5, 2017 at 11:14 a.m. Drock Says...

I just read on a message board that rider swap passes are good until the end of the month they are issued, could any one verify this please?

Reply
Jan 5, 2017 at 3:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Drock,

Disney has been known to print bulk Child Switch passes for easy distribution. While it's possible that practice could still be in use during your visit, your best bet would still be to get the passes on the day of your visit and use them that day.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 29, 2016 at 2:40 p.m. Stacie Says...

I'm trying to better understand the whole fast pass/parent swap situation.

We have a little one who can't ride Space Mountain, so if I book fastpass for Space Mountain, myself and older child, and book a fastpass for my husband and little one on some ride nearby, can we get parent swaps and swap out on both rides? Essentially, the kids would ride each ride twice and my husband and myself would each ride once with each child.

Does that make sense? Is that possible?

And does the parent swap pass get you back in the fastpass lane or regular lane?

Reply
Jan 9, 2017 at 3:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacie,

While policies may change, as of now you and the kids would ride each ride twice and your husband and you would each ride once with each child.

And yes, if you have Fastpass+, then you'd go into the Fastpass+ lane.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 1, 2016 at 5:23 p.m. Holly Says...

I just called Disney World and they said those entering a ride with a fastpass would NOT be given rider swap unless the second group also had fastpasses. Obviously if you had fastpasses for everyone you wouldn't need child swap! Is this just a policy they say but don't actually practice? My kids are split into bigs and littles and I'm really bummed that the adult fastpasses have to be split between their rides. :-/ Isn't that the whole point of child swap?

Reply
Dec 20, 2016 at 10:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Holly,

Disney's official policy may vary from what is in practice, and cast members at the rides have the discretion to make a decision. Perhaps others can share their experience as well.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 8, 2016 at 11:07 p.m. Amanda Says...

In using the system, I was wondering if this scenario would work thus enabling more fast pass rides. One parent and one child books a certain ride and time. Using the system, you then book the other parent and other child another fast pass ride an hour later or so to a different ride. They ride the first one and fast pass with the other parent and child who did not have the original ride on their fast pass. Then the party goes to the second ride and does the same thing. Creating 6 fast pass rides/doubling the amount assuming those rides do the child swap. Does that sound correct? Thanks in advance :)

Reply
Oct 11, 2016 at 1:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda,

You could effectively double the number of FastPass+ reservations, since only one adult and one child needs the FastPass+ reservation if using child swap. This is subject to change at any time, but sounds like a solid strategy.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 25, 2016 at 11:33 a.m. KP Says...

Hi, we're a party of 6 - 4 adults and 2 kids. I understand the logic of one of the children not riding and being offered the rider switch by staying with an adult in the party. In our case, the kids will want to ride - but their grandparents won't. I'm assuming 'scared grandparents' wouldn't cut it for the rider switch. And that one of the kids would need to stay behind, but then both kids could ride a second time with the grandparent? Or is that frowned upon because the child sat out the first time because they were 'scared'....They should be tall enough for the rides we want to go on. Thx so much, K

Reply
Oct 3, 2016 at 11:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi KP,

Maybe others have been in your situation and can share their thoughts, but generally, no, child swap doesn't apply to grandparents ;)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 5, 2016 at 1:46 a.m. Brett Says...

Hello, can more than one adult stay with the child that doesn't meet the height requirement and then can both of the adults use the rider switch pass? I'm going to Disney in October with 5 adults and 2 young children and trying to figure out how we can use FastPass+ and rider switch to get on more rides with shorter lines. Thanks!

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 8:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brett,

Yes, the two adults can stay together and then ride with the child.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 29, 2016 at 12:06 a.m. Jen Pence Says...

I haven't found this answer yet... Are there any restrictions to a party of 3 or 4 using rider swap or just riding rides in general when there is one adult and 3 kids? One is 48 inches and the other 2 are 40 inches. We have always gone with 2 adults and 2 children so on the coasters a grown up rode with a child in each seat. Will there be any issues with a smaller child riding alone or with a 48 inch child in a row? I can't find the answer to this one. One of the grown ups going will be pregnant and unable to ride the coasters. If we use rider swap and I take myself and 2 kids to swap I just don't know how that works? Do they ask a single rider adult to fill in a spot by a smaller child that meets the height requirement?

Reply
Apr 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Amanda Says...

Hi there!

Has anyone used rider swap for Haunted Mansion recently? I realize there is not a height requirement, but there is the scare factor for small children. Thanks for your help!

Reply
Apr 10, 2016 at 9:44 p.m. Lizzie Says...

Hi, just to double check...the second adult doesn't need a fast pass+ for the ride? Just the first adult and the child that is riding, or just the first adult if both kids too small? Seems too good to be true, unless I have totally misunderstood!

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 12:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lizzie,

You are correct. Just your first set of riders need the FastPass+ reservation.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 22, 2016 at 6:05 a.m. Alexa Says...

Hello! Are you able to do rider switch when it's two adults and a child. Our son will be three when we go and I'm wondering if we would be allowed to take advantage of this program.

Thanks!

Reply
Mar 28, 2016 at 9:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alexa,

Yes, this is no problem!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 17, 2016 at 10 p.m. matthew Says...

It seems like using this in conjunction with Fastpass+ is sort of gaming the system. Is there any indication from Disney that they wont give rider switch if you are going into the fastpass line?

Reply
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Matthew,

Nope, it shouldn't be a problem.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 17, 2016 at 8:34 p.m. Shana Says...

Okay, another question about swap/FP. We have 4 kids, 11,9,4 and 2 y.o. Both parents and the older 2 kids would want to do these rides. So would we do Parent A with child A riding, then Swap so parent B and child B can ride? Would we bring the whole family and get in the line, then Swap? If using FP must one rider be used for each time? Do use use FP for both the A rider names or 1 A and 1 B rider total of 2 FPs? Thanks, 1st trimmer and I have so many questions.

Reply
Mar 22, 2016 at 1:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shana,

Perhaps others here will share how it's worked for them. For sure, one parent would be able to ride with one kid and then the other parent could ride with the other. You would need two FastPass+ reservations for this. But it's also possible that the cast member might let one parent and both older children ride and then let the other parent take the older two children again. I would definitely make the FP+ reservations for two, and maybe three and then you exchange it for something else if you don't need it.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 16, 2016 at 4:07 a.m. Mandy Spall Says...

I keep double (triple, quadruple...) checking this. We have 5 kids, trying to make the most out of FP and rider swap without screwing it up. We have 6 of us 48" and taller and one 35" 1yr old.

My current plan has my hubby using their FP, riding w 2 kids and then me swapping and riding w the other 2 and vice versa...

My question is - can I bring 2 of the kids w me w rider swap or just one? I am confused. If just one, I need to re-do our FP!

Reply
Mar 16, 2016 at 2:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mandy,

If you go by Disney's policy on this, you would only be able to have one more person with you, but since it's your children, I seriously doubt that Disney will turn you down. Disney would in the past have allowed more riders. The cast member at the queue would have the authority to let more of you in.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 15, 2016 at 4:06 p.m. Linda Says...

We're a party of 5. Dad, Mom, 12 year old, 8 year old, 7 month old. Obviously, the baby is our non rider. Am I understanding you correctly in that when we rider swap, only 1 of my old enough to ride kids will be able to ride a 2nd time?

Scenario:

Dad, 12, & 8 are "party 1"

Mom waits with baby

Mom & just her favorite kid (lol) are "party 2"

Seems like in the past, the rider swap pass was good for up to 4 people. Was there a change?

Reply
Mar 16, 2016 at 2:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda,

There were more allowed in the past on one pass. I think you will be fine, but if you go by Disney's stated policy on this, you would only be able to have one more person with you, but since it's your children, I seriously doubt that Disney will turn you down. The cast member at the queue would have the authority to let more of you in.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 15, 2016 at 2:57 p.m. Tamarah Says...

Actually, up to 3 people can do rider switch. Great article.

Reply
Mar 15, 2016 at 2:50 p.m. salty Says...

if my son just meets the height requirement but is too scared to ride will they still offer a rider switch pass? I don't to change my fastpasses yet if they don't do this.

Reply
Mar 16, 2016 at 2:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Salty,

Yes, this will be fine.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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