We're sorry but your browser doesn't support some of the newer web features we take advantage of. In order to use this site please consider installing the latest version of one of the following browsers:

What to Do with Young Kids During Rider Switch at Disneyland

By Kimberly Fidler 03/15/2016
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2017. The Disneyland Resort is the perfect family vacation destination with so much incredible entertainment and a huge list of attractions that everyone can enjoy together. However, there are some attractions that require riders to be a certain height. Because it's Disneyland, they've of course thought of everything and how to make it a magical experience for everyone.
Enter Rider Switch. Or Child Swap. Or whatever you want to call it. The basic premise is that groups with small kids who don't quite measure up to the ride requirements can still enjoy the attractions without waiting in line twice. The process has changed since the digital FastPass and MaxPass have been introduced, but is relatively the same.
Your group will visit the Cast Member to the entrance of the line and let them know you'd like to use Rider Switch. Make sure to have your whole party with you during this time! The Cast Member will scan your ticket and you'll be given a return time, similar to that of a FastPass. The first group, without the smaller child, will be able to wait in the regular line and ride the attraction. Once they've finished riding, the second group will be able to ride when that return time hits and go through the FastPass line. 

Depending on how long lines are, one group will most likely have a longer wait, while the other will have quite a short wait. We recommend using the Rider Switch in conjunction with FastPass to get as small of a wait as possible for everyone. Either way, that still leaves kids that will need to be entertained during both waits. To make it easy, we've compiled a list of attractions with minimum height requirements and ideas to keep smaller children occupied during longer and shorter wait times.


Matterhorn: This is one of the easiest attractions to find something nearby to occupy tiny tots because it is located in Fantasyland, where almost everything is fit for any rider. For longer waits, take the smallest kids on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or Peter Pan's Flight. For shorter wait times, try a spin on the Carousel, or a walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Space Mountain and/or Star Tours: Both of these Tomorrowland attractions have a minimum height requirement of 40 inches, but not to fear, there is so much to do nearby. Try any combination of the following activities for both longer or shorter wait times; watch Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, ride Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters, explore Star Wars Launch Bay if you're traveling during Season of the Force, or ride Astro Orbiters.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and/or Splash Mountain: Although these attractions aren't in the same land, they are close enough to share some of the fun things to do with smaller kids while you wait. Head over to the Many Adventures of Winne the Pooh, then grab a special treat to share at Pooh's Corner.

Indiana Jones Adventure: There is so much to do with kids in Adventureland. Climb up Tarzan's Treehouse, hop aboard the Jungle Cruise, catch a show at the Tiki Room, and don't forget to grab a Dole Whip.

Disney California Adventure Park:

Soarin' Over California and/or Grizzly River Rapids: Young kids will love exploring Redwood Creek Challenge. Or, head over to the nearby Buena Vista Street where you can watch the Red Car Trolley News Boys with Mickey or the Five and Dime Performers, and meet the characters that call Buena Vista Street home.

Tower of Terror: Located in Hollywood Land, there are so many activities to do nearby. Ride Monsters Inc. to the Rescue, spend time in the Animation Building where you can meet Anna & Elsa, watch Turtle Talk with Crush, and learn some of Disney's animation secrets. Also, coming this Memorial Day weekend, you can watch Frozen - Live at the Hyperion. You could also head into "a bug's land" where there is a fun splash pad and lots of rides for little bugs.

Radiator Springs Racers: If your kids are just shy of the 40" height requirement for RSR, they'll enjoy taking a spin on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree or Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters. If they're not quite tall enough for those attractions, they can meet Lighting McQueen and Mater, grab a snack at the Cozy Cone Motel, or enjoy a meal or just hanging out at Flo's V8 Cafe. No matter what you do, you'll be immersed in the story of Cars in Cars Land.

California Screamin': If your kids are really little, they'll love King Triton's Carousel located right next to California Screamin'. If they're a little older, or you have more time, try Toy Story Midway Mania.

Goofy's Sky School: If your kids barely miss the 42" height requirement, take them on Jumpin' Jellyfish, which requires riders to be 40". If they don't miss that mark, anyone is welcome aboard the Golden Zephyr. Or, take the littles to a whole new world on The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

Ride times are also a great time to hit up the Baby Centers where you can nurse, warm a bottle, change a diaper or pick up any necessities you may have missed. The Baby Care Center in Disneyland is located right next to the Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A., and the one in Disney California Adventure is conveniently located to Girardelli's Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain. Pop in afterwards for a free chocolate sample. After all, you deserve it for taking care of the kids!

We hope this article gives you lots of fun ideas on how to fill your days and make memories at the Disneyland Resort! When you're ready to book your Disneyland vacation, be sure to check out our packages online, or call our Disney Experts at 855-GET-AWAY. We give you the best tips and tricks, and of course, the lowest prices!

Check out these other great articles:

3-Day Disneyland Itinerary for a Princess
3-Day Disneyland Itinerary for the Star Wars Super Fan
3 Disneyland Splurges for Families

Kimberly Fidler