UPDATED AUGUST 2023. 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 thought of everything and how to make it a magical experience for everyone.
Enter Rider Switch, also known as Child Swap at Disneyland. Whatever you want to call it, the basic premise of Rider Switch 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 changed slightly with Disney Genie+, but is relatively the same as when it first debuted.
How to Use Rider Switch at Disneyland
To use Rider Switch at Disneyland, your whole group will visit the Cast Member at the entrance of the queue to let them know you'd like to use Rider Switch. It is important to make sure to have your whole party with you during this time!
The Cast Member will scan your ticket, MagicBand+ or Disneyland App digital ticket and you'll be given a return time to ride, similar to Lightning Lane. The first group, without the smaller child, will be able to wait in the designated queue to ride the attraction. Once they've finished riding, the second group will be able to ride when that return time hits and do so by going through the Lightning Lane queue.
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 Disney Genie+ to get as short 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. This way you’re prepared and know what’s nearby so you can keep little ones busy during the Rider Switch wait time.
Rider Switch Rides at Disneyland
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 size rider. While guests 42 inches and taller ride Matterhorn, you can take the smaller kids on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or Peter Pan's Flight. These rides tend to have longer wait times, so plan accordingly. For shorter wait times, try a spin on King Arthur’s Carrousel 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 a combination of the following activities for both longer or shorter wait times: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Astro Orbiter.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and/or Tiana's Bayou Adventure: 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 Winnie the Pooh, then grab a special treat to share at Pooh's Corner. Big Thunder Mountain and Tiana's Bayou Adventure both have a minimum height requirement of 40 inches and taller.
Indiana Jones Adventure: There is so much to do with kids in Adventureland. Climb up the Adventureland Treehouse, hop aboard the Jungle Cruise, catch a show at the Enchanted Tiki Room and don't forget to mobile order a Dole Whip. Indiana Jones Adventure is designed for guests 46 inches and taller.
Rider Switch Rides at Disney California Adventure Park
Soarin' Around the World and/or Grizzly River Run: Young kids will love exploring Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Or, head over to the nearby Buena Vista Street where you can watch the Five and Dime Performers, and meet the characters that call Buena Vista Street home. Soarin’ Around the World has a 40 inch height minimum, while Grizzly River Run is for guests 42 inches and taller.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!: Located in Avengers Campus, adjacent to Hollywood Land, there are so many activities to do nearby this ride, which has a minimum height requirement of 40 inches. Ride Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley 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. You can also ride WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure in Avengers Campus.
Radiator Springs Racers: If your kids are just shy of the 40" height requirement for Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, 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 hang out at Flo's V8 Cafe. No matter what you do, you'll be immersed in the story of Cars in Cars Land.
Incredicoaster: Incredicoaster has a minimum height requirement of 38 inches. While you wait to use Rider Switch, take the smaller kids to experience Jessie’s Critter Carousel, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind or Toy Story Midway Mania.
Goofy's Sky School: If your kids barely miss the 42" height requirement for Goofy’s Sky School, take them on Jumpin' Jellyfish, which requires riders to be 40". If they don't hit that mark, anyone is welcome aboard the Golden Zephyr. Or, take the little ones to enjoy life under the sea on The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
What to Do with Young Kids During Rider Switch at Disneyland
When waiting during Rider Switch at Disneyland, take the opportunity to hit up the Baby Centers where you can nurse, warm a bottle, change a diaper or purchase any necessities you may have forgotten. The Baby Care Center in Disneyland is located right next to the Plaza Inn on Main Street, U.S.A., and the Baby Care Center in Disney California Adventure is conveniently located near Ghirardelli's Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain. Pop in afterwards for a treat; 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!