When we first started visiting theme parks as a family, back when Tad was a small frog and Lily wasn't even an egg waiting to hatch, we were always unsure just how much we'd get to do at the parks. Nowadays we don't worry about this at all—and not because everyone's all grown up. Tad's tall enough now for even the biggest coasters, but Lily still doesn't meet every height restriction. If you're planning a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth with tadpoles of your own, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Disneyland height requirements.
Understanding what your children can and cannot ride goes a long way toward having a stress-free visit. Preparation begins at home. For example, when we start planning our visit to a new park, one of the first things we do is familiarize ourselves with the rides and check out any that have height requirements or the potential to scare Lily. We review park maps and videos from the comfort of our own lily pad.
The Disneyland Resort goes out of its way toward making sure all guests have fun, even if they can't experience all the rides. Let's start with the Disneyland height requirements and then we'll hop to Disneyland Rider Switch. If you want to see any of the Disneyland height requirement rides in action, check them out on our the Undercover Tourist YouTube channel.
Complete List of Disneyland Height Requirements
32 inches (81 cm) or taller
- Autopia - Disneyland
- Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters - Disney California Adventure
- Mater's Junkyard Jamboree - Disney California Adventure
35 inches (89 cm) or taller
- Gadget's Go Coaster - Disneyland
36 inches (91 cm) or taller
- Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies - Disney California Adventure
40 inches (102 cm) or taller
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Disneyland
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! - Disney California Adventure
- Jumpin' Jellyfish - Disney California Adventure
- Radiator Springs Racers - Disney California Adventure
- Silly Symphony Swings - Disney California Adventure
- Soarin' Around the World - Disney California Adventure
- Space Mountain - Disneyland
- Splash Mountain - Disneyland
- Star Tours — The Adventures Continue - Disneyland
42 inches (107 cm) or taller
- Goofy's Sky School - Disney California Adventure
- Grizzly River Run - Disney California Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds - Disneyland
46 inches (117 cm) or taller
- Indiana Jones Adventure - Disneyland
48 inches (122 cm) or taller
- California Screamin' - Disney California Adventure
Disneyland Rider Switch
While the list above of Disneyland height requirements may seem long, we should tell you that most of the attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure don't have height requirements. Indeed, the Disney parks are among the most kid- and baby-friendly parks on the planet. It's possible that you could skip every ride with a height requirement at Disneyland and still have a full day—and a great time! Still, we know that the rides with height requirements are also some of the most amazing and most popular at the parks. There's no way Tad would let us head to Disneyland and not ride Radiator Springs Racers or Indiana Jones Adventure!
Thankfully, Disneyland offers Rider Switch for just this very thing! With Disneyland Rider Switch, families with kids too young to ride can take turns so they don't miss out. An adult (or supervising companion 14 years or older) can wait with non-riders while the rest of the party rides, and then after that, the waiting adult can take his or her turn. BONUS - up to two kids can ride with the waiting adult! Do know that there have been changes made to Disneyland Rider Switch with the rollout of Disney Maxpass? Here is the official process now:
Here Is What Happens with Disneyland Rider Switch:
- When the rest of the family wants to ride an attraction that Lily can't or doesn't want to ride, we approach the cast member at the queue and let them know we want to do a Rider Switch.
- Our group is divided into 2 parties—“Party 1” includes those riding the attraction first, while “Party 2” consists of non-riders and their supervising guests. Party 1 would be Leap and Tad. Party 2 is Lily and me.
- The supervising guests of Party 2—which can include a maximum of 3 people—will have their admission passes/tickets scanned. We'll have Tad's ticket scanned as part of Party 2. Lily and I will wait in the designated area—usually outside the attraction—while Leap and Tad wait in line to experience the attraction.
- After Leap and Tad experience the attraction, we switch. Leap watches Lily.
- Tad and I will return to the attraction entrance (e.g., FASTPASS queue or attraction exit) and have our admission pass/ticket re-scanned by a cast member for the Rider Switch entitlement. At this point, we'll enter the appropriate attraction return line and board without waiting in the regular queue.
We love Disneyland Rider Switch because it means that everyone who wants to ride gets to ride. However, it still takes a little prep work on the part of the parent. Back in her younger days, Lily didn't even want to enter the queue of a ride she thought was going to be scary—no, thank you attraction formerly known as Tower of Terror! We'd have to reassure her over and over that she wasn't going to ride. Yes, there were tears. Now, she knows the drill and is often more upset that she still doesn't meet the height requirement! Another problem entirely. If you're heading to an unfamiliar park with a little one, prepare your tadpole in advance for what is going to happen when she is too little or doesn't want to ride.
Note that just because your little one can ride doesn't mean she is necessarily ready to ride. Even some of the rides without height requirements can be intimidating or scary to young riders (here's looking at you, Haunted Mansion.) Thankfully, you can ask to do Rider Switch for these attractions too. This is another reason we like to watch YouTube videos of rides. We also do this to check out the ride configuration, so we'll know whether all four of us can ride together, or whether we may have to split into two pairs.
We hope you find this post outlining Disneyland's height requirements and Disneyland Rider Switch service helpful. Do you have any tips or tricks you've learned for handling height requirements, scary rides and child swap at Disneyland? Let us know in the comments below.
Related: Disneyland Park 1-Day Touring Plan
Related: The Ins and Outs of Disney Maxpass