Rider Switch (Baby Swap) Going Digital

By: Amy Kawa

At the end of this month, Walt Disney World will fully change their rider switch system (baby swap) from a paper system to a digital platform.

Rider switch has been available to families at attractions with height requirements inside the Disney Parks for the better part of two decades.  Under the current system, families with a child unable to ride (or who does not want to ride) would approach a cast member at the entrance to an attraction and explain they’d like to take part in the rider switch program.  Upon request, each adult receives a rider switch pass (similar to an old, paper fastpass), while one adult waits in the standby line for the attraction and the other waits out of line with the child.  After the one adult has waited in line and experienced the attraction, he or she will meet up with the other adult, take over the child-watching duties, and the other adult will take their rider switch pass to a cast member and enter the Fastpass+ queue to experience the attraction.  It should also be noted that up to three people can enter the Fastpass+ queue under the rider switch program. The system has seemingly worked well for some time, but as with all things in Disney these days, it’s time for this process to become digitized.

At the end of June, the rider switch program is going digital.  The cast member at the entrance to the attraction’s queue will scan the party’s MagicBand to add rider switch entitlements to their My Disney Experience account.  Anyone who would like to utilize this system, including the up to three guests who can enter the Fastpass+ queue upon the switch, must all have their bands scanned.  Perviously, the paper rider switch passes were valid for up to one month after they were given out, but the entitlement will now expire later the same day it’s issued.  Guests are also unable to hold more than one rider switch pass at a time.

Disney is making this changeover, in part, to avoid fraud that has always been an issue in regards to the reselling and black market that has developed for rider switch fastpasses.  Despite the paper passes stating they are not for sale at the bottom of the ticket, people would still collect rider switch fastpasses to sell on eBay or Craigslist to willing buyers who can score an extra Mine Train or Test Track fastpass for a relatively small fee.  Moving the system to a digital platform makes the entire process more customized to the party and more secure overall.

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