My experience with Rider Swap - 2/23 thru 2/28

Brian4891

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
I was in Disney from 2/22 thru 3/1. Prior to my trip I monitored these boards quite a bit looking for updates on how the rider swap system was working as there had been several posts saying that it was not working how it always had. Here is how it worked for me, and I’m going to give a lot of detail so that people really understand.

My family is myself, my wife, 6 year old son, 4 year old son, 1 1/2 year old daughter. I booked my fast passes under the premise that the people riding second did not need a fast pass. To make things easier for me to keep track of, I always kept myself and my 6 year old son together and my wife and 4 year old son together. So every time I approached a ride, there were two possible scenarios.

Scenario 1: Dad and 6 yr old son have a FP and will ride in Group 1. Mom and 4 yr old son do not have a pre-booked FP and will try to get rider swap.

Scenario 2: Mom and 4 yr old son have a FP and will ride in Group 1. Dad and 6 yr old son do not have a pre-booked FP and will try to get rider swap.

At almost every single ride where we attempted to obtain a rider swap, Group 2 was given a rider swap despite not having a Pre-booked FP.

Here is exactly how the conversation happened each time:

Me: My daughter is too small to ride so we would like to get a rider swap.
CM: Who will be riding in the 2nd group?

Depending on who had the FPs, I would identify the non FP holding people as those who would be riding in Group 2. Depending on the ride and if it was possible for one parent to ride with 2 kids I would also inform the CM that one of my kids would be riding twice. First time on a FP, second time on a rider swap.

Now continuing the conversation...

CM: Are the first riders going through the standby line or FastPass line?
Me: FastPass line
CM: OK

About 5 minutes later the rider swap would show up in the My Disney Experience app. It would show a start time usually no more than 10 minutes later than when the rider swap was requested. It would also show all the riders in group 2. It would not show an expiration time. Group 2 usually rode right after Group 1 finished so I cannot really comment on how long the swaps are good for, but since there was no end time shown I assume it was good the rest of the day.

What I described above is how the process worked on the following rides:

Soarin
Test Track
Splash Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain
Slinky Dog Dash
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

My kids are not tall enough for some rides like Flight of Passage or Space Mountain so I cannot comment on those.

Now there was one ride where I had an issue and that was on Alien Swirling Saucers. Here is how that conversation went:

For this ride, my wife and 4 year old son had the FP and me and my 6 year old son were trying to get Rider Swap. We also wanted to get my 4 year old on a second time with rider swap.

Me: My daughter is too short to ride so we will need a rider swap.
CM: Who is riding in Group 2?
Me: Myself, my 6 year old son, and my 4 year old son.
CM: OK I will scan your boys so they can ride again, but I’m not going to scan you since it will just take your FP when you ride.
Me: I do not have a FP, only my wife and 4 year old son do.
CM: Why would you only make a FP for half your party?
Me: Since I was planning on getting a rider swap, I did not think we all needed a FP.
CM: Well you should all have FPs. I will put the rider swap on your band as well but from now on you should make FPs for your whole group.
Me: Ok thank you

So out of 7 attempts, 6 had no issues and the 1 that did have an issue still ended up working out.

One other thing worth mentioning. With Seven Dwarfs Mine Train I got a little greedy and tried something hoping to get everyone in my family on the ride twice. I made a morning FP for me and my 6 year old son. I also made an afternoon FP for my wife and 4 year old son. I was going to try to rider swap both of those times and get everyone two rides. Well this does not work. As soon an the CM went to give my wife her rider swap he saw that she had a FP for later in the day and said you cannot have both. So he removed the FP for later and she rode on the rider swap. No big deal, but just wanted to throw that out there that you cannot hold a rider swap and a FP for the same ride. Yes I know that was really taking advantage. What can I say, this may be our only trip for a long time so it was worth a shot.

And one more thing. If you get a multiple experience FP, be careful with your rider swap. We had a FP for Thunder Mountain but the ride was shut down during our time so we were given a multiple experience FP. We then got the Splash Mountain rider swaps. When Group 2 rode Splash, the system took their multi experience FP instead of the rider swap. Luckily we realized this soon after it happened and the CM outside of Splash was able to fix it and put the multi experience FP back on which was then used on Thunder Mountain later on when it opened.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to make everything as clear as possible for those who are planning to do this.
 

MooseBucks

Living the Dream
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Thanks for sharing all of this! It is all very helpful - did you rope drop any stand by rides and get a rider swap? I keep seeing this is hard since adding the swap takes time people just pass you :(
 

Brian4891

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Thanks for sharing all of this! It is all very helpful - did you rope drop any stand by rides and get a rider swap? I keep seeing this is hard since adding the swap takes time people just pass you :(
I did not do this. I did not want to have to deal with that with the three kids. I just made sure that we had a FP for the most popular rides so that we could rope drop the less popular rides and not have any wait at all.

In Hollywood Studios, we rope dropped Toy Story Mania so we were walking with the Slinky Dog people. It was pretty crowded but people seemed to be behaving themselves. I was towards the back of the rope drop crowd so I’m not sure if the same can be said for the people up front.

For that ride in particular, the way it works is there is a bridge over the Slinky Dog track. The entrance to the FP and standby queues is over the bridge but the standby line is so long that it extends out the entrance over the bridge and into the rest of Toy Story Land. They keep these people on the right side of the bridge. The FP people can walk past them on the left side to get to the FP queue. The rider swap person was standing all the way to the left about halfway across the bridge.
 
  • MooseBucks

    Living the Dream
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2017
    I did not do this. I did not want to have to deal with that with the three kids. I just made sure that we had a FP for the most popular rides so that we could rope drop the less popular rides and not have any wait at all.

    In Hollywood Studios, we rope dropped Toy Story Mania so we were walking with the Slinky Dog people. It was pretty crowded but people seemed to be behaving themselves. I was towards the back of the rope drop crowd so I’m not sure if the same can be said for the people up front.

    For that ride in particular, the way it works is there is a bridge over the Slinky Dog track. The entrance to the FP and standby queues is over the bridge but the standby line is so long that it extends out the entrance over the bridge and into the rest of Toy Story Land. They keep these people on the right side of the bridge. The FP people can walk past them on the left side to get to the FP queue. The rider swap person was standing all the way to the left about halfway across the bridge.
    Thanks! We book our FPs soon so i hope we get the favorites and don’t have to rope drop ::fingers crossed::
     

    Brian4891

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2019
    You should be fine if you’re booking 60 days ahead. If you really want to be sure, save the top ones for later in your trip so that you are actually booking 60 + a few days ahead.

    Using the rider swap like I described is very helpful because you can work it to get yourself more fast passes. In Epcot book half your party for Soarin and the other half on test track. That way you don’t need to rope drop either. In Hollywood Studios book half on Slinky Dog and the other half on Alien Swirling Saucers. It really is such a valuable tool. I felt like the parks were very crowded while I was there, but by being there for park open, using FP on the rides that actually need them, and taking advantage of rider swap, we never waited longer than 20 minutes for anything.
     

    MooseBucks

    Living the Dream
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2017
    You should be fine if you’re booking 60 days ahead. If you really want to be sure, save the top ones for later in your trip so that you are actually booking 60 + a few days ahead.

    Using the rider swap like I described is very helpful because you can work it to get yourself more fast passes. In Epcot book half your party for Soarin and the other half on test track. That way you don’t need to rope drop either. In Hollywood Studios book half on Slinky Dog and the other half on Alien Swirling Saucers. It really is such a valuable tool. I felt like the parks were very crowded while I was there, but by being there for park open, using FP on the rides that actually need them, and taking advantage of rider swap, we never waited longer than 20 minutes for anything.
    I’m very excited to read this since I’ve seen so many confusing posts or confusing explanations. HS and AK are both at the end of our trip to hopefully snag SD and FOP.
     
  • samsonjs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2018
    So if I have a daughter who is 39” and may or may not be tall to ride a ride, so I make her a FP too. Then we get there and realize she’s not tall enough will they give me the riderswap to extend my FP window? I’m mostly worried they will say I don’t need a swap because I have a fastpass but it’s not enough time for me to actually get into the FP line if we go towards the end of my window.
     

    Brian4891

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2019
    So if I have a daughter who is 39” and may or may not be tall to ride a ride, so I make her a FP too. Then we get there and realize she’s not tall enough will they give me the riderswap to extend my FP window? I’m mostly worried they will say I don’t need a swap because I have a fastpass but it’s not enough time for me to actually get into the FP line if we go towards the end of my window.
    I’m not sure if I completely understand your question.

    The rider swap has nothing to do with whether or not you arrive within your FP window. If your daughter is too short they will give you the rider swap either way. If you are within your FP window then you can go in the FP line. If you miss your FP window then you will have to go through the standby line. Either way, the people who get the Rider Swap will enter through the FP line after Group 1 finishes.

    Remember that you actually have 15 minutes after your FP window that your FP will still work. I even missed one by 20 minutes and the CM still let us in.
     

    marcyleecorgan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2017
    So if I have a daughter who is 39” and may or may not be tall to ride a ride, so I make her a FP too. Then we get there and realize she’s not tall enough will they give me the riderswap to extend my FP window? I’m mostly worried they will say I don’t need a swap because I have a fastpass but it’s not enough time for me to actually get into the FP line if we go towards the end of my window.
    who is waiting outside the ride with your too-short daughter? she can't wait by herself while you ride alone...
    obviously CM's are more lenient about FP's within a family and they would let other adults in your party redeem the FP/RS at the measuring stick as long as you're not more than 15 min late for it.
     

    samsonjs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2018
    Sorry I should clarify, say I make a reservation for Space mountain for my husband and kids and I. Our window is from 10-11. We show up at 10:55 and they say my daughter is too short but because mom has a FP she will have to use the FP instead of the rider swap. But dad doesn’t get off the ride until 11:20pm and moms FP has now expired. It seemed like they told the OP she couldn’t get a rider swap because she had a FP And you can’t have a rider swap and FP for the same ride
     
  • Brian4891

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2019
    Sorry I should clarify, say I make a reservation for Space mountain for my husband and kids and I. Our window is from 10-11. We show up at 10:55 and they say my daughter is too short but because mom has a FP she will have to use the FP instead of the rider swap. But dad doesn’t get off the ride until 11:20pm and moms FP has now expired. It seemed like they told the OP she couldn’t get a rider swap because she had a FP And you can’t have a rider swap and FP for the same ride
    Ok now I see what you’re saying. If you try to get the rider swap during you FP window they will not let you have it. The CM I spoke to told me the system will not allow it.

    If you explain your situation to the CM outside the FP entrance I think they will work with you. They are able to add and take away FPs right there on the spot and adjust times.
     

    danikoski

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2014
    Just be aware, there are rumors from CMs that this process may be changing where the whole party has to have FPs. I'm hoping, if Disney does make changes, they implement the changes with the 60 day window in mind so they give people enough time to plan.
     

    CT Disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2012
    Using the rider swap like I described is very helpful because you can work it to get yourself more fast passes. In Epcot book half your party for Soarin and the other half on test track. In Hollywood Studios book half on Slinky Dog and the other half on Alien Swirling Saucers.
    Just be aware, there are rumors from CMs that this process may be changing where the whole party has to have FPs. I'm hoping, if Disney does make changes, they implement the changes with the 60 day window in mind so they give people enough time to plan.
    First quote above....this is why I think Disney will eventually change their process. But, I agree with the second post in that I hope Disney gives enough notice of the change so people know how to make their fast passes.
     
    Last edited:

    Brian4891

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2019
    First quote above....this is why I think Disney will eventually change their process. But, I agree with the second post in that I hope Disney gives enough notice of the change so people know how to make their fast passes.
    I actually do agree with you. Even as someone who benefited from the way it works, I recognize that it is an unfair advantage.

    That being said, I just can't imagine that this gets abused to the point that Disney would care enough to change the policy. While I was there, I talked to several parents with kids who had never even heard of rider swap before, let alone how to use it the way that I did. I just don't think the few people who are doing this are enough to really move the needle.

    I do agree with you though. If they decide to change the policy, it would be nice if it becomes effective more than 60 days out so that people can plan accordingly.
     

    chris1212

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks for sharing all of this! It is all very helpful - did you rope drop any stand by rides and get a rider swap? I keep seeing this is hard since adding the swap takes time people just pass you :(
    We rope dropped every park and never lost our spot in line by getting a rider swap! Only trickier one was SDD, just make sure the person not riding with the too short child go up to the RS cast member while you are still a ways back in line. But we also just use the cards, not MB... so the parent waiting can stay while they load the RS and the rest of our party continues in line.

    As soon an the CM went to give my wife her rider swap he saw that she had a FP for later in the day and said you cannot have both.
    Maybe because the FP was later in the day it was different? Our case would be myself, kid 1 and kid 2 would have FP.... then dad and kid 1 and 2 would get RS, they always set it for at least 10 minutes later so they system would first use our FP and not take our RS first. So kid 1 and 2 would have a FP that would get used right away, but also hold a RS for that same ride a few minutes later.
     

    Brian4891

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2019
    We rope dropped every park and never lost our spot in line by getting a rider swap! Only trickier one was SDD, just make sure the person not riding with the too short child go up to the RS cast member while you are still a ways back in line. But we also just use the cards, not MB... so the parent waiting can stay while they load the RS and the rest of our party continues in line.



    Maybe because the FP was later in the day it was different? Our case would be myself, kid 1 and kid 2 would have FP.... then dad and kid 1 and 2 would get RS, they always set it for at least 10 minutes later so they system would first use our FP and not take our RS first. So kid 1 and 2 would have a FP that would get used right away, but also hold a RS for that same ride a few minutes later.
    Yes that is how it worked for us as well. As long as we were within our FP window they would give the rider swap to someone who also had a FP at that same time. But when they saw there was a FP for later on that same day for that ride, then they would not allow a RS.
     

    MooseBucks

    Living the Dream
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2017
    We rope dropped every park and never lost our spot in line by getting a rider swap! Only trickier one was SDD, just make sure the person not riding with the too short child go up to the RS cast member while you are still a ways back in line. But we also just use the cards, not MB... so the parent waiting can stay while they load the RS and the rest of our party continues in line.
    Thank you for this! Brilliant - hadn’t crossed my mind they would “assist rider swap out of order”
     

    La Belle

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2013
    Thanks for this information!

    According to the Disney site rider swap can be used if the child does not meet the height requirement or doesn't want to ride. Does anyone have experience successfully using Rider swap when a child meets the height requirement but doesn't want to ride?
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    In Nov we were told that we all had to have FPs. I just don’t understand the point of that. It seems you wouldn’t even need rider swap if everyone has FPs. To me this just unnecessarily ties up extra FPs.
     




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