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Differences Between Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch

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A vacation in Orlando is incomplete without a visit to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios (or both), especially when you’re with kids. Planning a theme park getaway with your baby is a great way for the whole family to spend time together.

Going on rides together, walking through the park, and visiting different themed attractions make the whole experience fun and wholesome. However, we also understand the hurdles that come with traveling with a toddler.

Visiting theme parks with a baby can be pretty tiring and parents are usually left wondering about which experiences they can do together. But Disney and Universal have that covered with Rider Switch and Child Swap.

Difference Between Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch child swap sign at Universal

Advantages of Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch

You might think that a trip to Disney or Universal with a baby will involve having to pick and choose between rides or even skip a few in between. Well, that’s where you’re wrong! Each of these amusement parks has its own little facility for groups with a baby in tow, so that parents can also make the most of their adventure with the least amount of fuss.  

Disney Rider Switch and Universal Studios Child Swap allow you to skip the line and go on a ride immediately after your partner is done. So, not only does your child get to hang back in the comforting arms of one parent, but parents get to trade places and go on rides without having to join long queues twice! It’s a complete win-win situation; happy babies and happy adults. 

Curious to know how this works? Read on to know all about Rider Switch at Disney and Child Swap at Universal. 

Many Child Swaps at Universal have a TV and a baby change plus a water fountain.

Difference Between Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch: What is Universal Studios Child Swap?

Your baby being too short, small, or tired for a ride doesn’t have to mean you and your partner have to miss out! Child Swap is a facility offered by Universal Orlando that allows parents to get on all the rides they want by taking turns waiting with the baby. Universal makes it possible for you to experience the ride and ensure that your partner, or the second group, does not have to wait in line all over again.

How does this work? When one adult gets on the ride, the other waits with the baby. And with Universal Studios Child Swap, once the first adult is done, the second can simply go on the ride without having to stand in the queue. They just take the place of the first parent. 

You’re usually directed to a waiting room when waiting to get on a ride at Universal, although some rides may just have a separate seating area too. In fact, some of these rooms are quite an escape for both parents and babies alike with a themed movie about the ride, baby change and a water fountain or cartoon if the original film is too scary like The Mummy.

Child Swap ensures your baby has an adult watching over them at all times, but also allows the adults in the group to enjoy themselves without having to jump through hoops. An added bonus? If you’re visiting with two kids, your older kid will get to experience the ride twice; once with you and then again with your partner! 

What is Disney Rider Switch?

Rider Switch is Disney World’s equivalent of Child Swap. It is the perfect solution to the main issue you face when visiting a theme park with a baby. General height restrictions make it so that your toddler can’t try out certain thrilling rides just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. After all, you don’t want to go to Disney World and miss out on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, The Barnstormer, and so much more, do you?

If you and your significant other are eyeing a specific ride that you’d love to get on, just  approach one of the Cast Members before queueing up and they’ll direct you through the process.

As soon as the first adult is finished with their ride, the second trades places with them. This way, you save on the time that you’ll spend waiting in the queue again while your baby gets a break from the park. 

Rider Switch at Disney World allows you to wait in a designated area while your partner enjoys the ride. One of Disney’s Cast Members will be happy to direct you there as well as help you identify which rides have this feature and which do not.

Some of the rides that come with the Disney Rider Switch option are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park, and Frozen Ever After at Epcot, among others. 

Child Swap sign in Suess Land
Child Swap sign in Suess Land

How do you do a Child Swap at Universal Studios?

It’s pretty simple! All you have to do is ask the ride attendant assigned to the ride of your choice about the Child Swap facility. Make sure to do this before you join the line to minimize confusion and the length of time you spend waiting. 

Once you’ve informed them that you would like to avail of this feature, they’ll direct the other adult and baby to either a waiting room or a separate line. Then, once you’re done with your turn on the ride, your partner will trade places with you and get on the ride separately, avoiding having to join the queue for a second time. 

The whole thing is a piece of cake and Child Swap Universal Studios makes your holiday with the baby much smoother. Some rides that offer Child Swap include The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Fast & Furious – Supercharged, and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, among others. 

If you’re worried about being confined to a room or in a separate area with your baby, when all they want to do is be out and about, then don’t worry. Just ask your ride attendant if they can issue you a paper pass. This will allow you to move around with your child in your arms, and still make sure that you don’t lose out on your Child Swap privileges once your turn arrives!

Difference Between Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch: How do you do a Rider Switch at Disney World?

To make use of Rider Swap Disney World, approach a Cast Member near the themed ride before you join the queue. It’s always best if the whole group goes along, so that they know whom to send to the line for the ride, and whom to escort to the waiting area. 

Mention that you want to use the Ride Switch option. Once the Cast Member confirms if Rider Switch is applicable for the specific ride, you’ll be all set to split yourselves into two groups and carry on with your fun! The group that gets in line first is called Party 1. If you stay behind with your baby in the waiting area, you will be known as Party 2.

The pass itself is issued through My Disney Experience, and the Cast Member may ask you to scan a code or object for it to show on your account. This will also help you access it if you need to quickly move away with your toddler for a washroom break or a stroll outside. 

Your pass may be a ticket card, a MagicMobile, or a MagicBand, depending on your ride. Just look for it on the My Day tab in Genie. Once your partner is done, you will be allowed to skip ahead and get on the ride using Lightning Lane, unless your Cast Member shows you a different way. 

Wondering if the Lightning Lane passes, offered by Genie+ at Disney to get on rides without much of a wait, can be clubbed with this service? You may or may not be allowed to use this during a Rider Switch depending on what your Cast Member says, so be sure to ask about it before getting in line.

Just keep in mind that if you wish to use Rider Switch with Lightning Lane passes, all the members of Party 1 and Party 2 need to have purchased these passes. If only one parent has a Lightning Lane pass and the second one tries to use Rider Switch on the same reservation, the Cast Members will check and won’t allow it.

We recommend saving your Lightning Lane passes for other rides since these are for a fixed number of experiences. Moreover, the use of Rider Switch will cut down the wait time for the second group of people, so really, you will be making up for the lost time.

Rider Switch at Disney

Attractions Offering Rider Switch at Disney World

Get a complete list of attractions at Walt Disney World Resort where you can use Rider Switch. 

Magic Kingdom Park
The Barnstormer
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Space Mountain
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway

Frozen Ever After
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
*Please note: All Rider Swap participants are required to be in a Virtual Queue boarding group or have an individually purchased Lightning Lane entrance for the attraction prior to boarding.
Mission: SPACE
Test Track

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Alien Swirling Saucers
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Avatar Flight of Passage
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® 
Kali River Rapids
Na’vi River Journey

Attractions Offering Child Swap at Universal and Islands of Adventure

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Men in Black
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy

And at Islands of Adventure:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Velocicoaster
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Difference Between Universal Studios Child Swap and Disney Rider Switch: FAQs

Do you need magic bands at Disney for rider swap?

Your Rider Swap pass may be issued through your MagicBand. The pass can also be issued through a MagicMobile or a ticket card, instead of the bands. This will help you get skip-the-line access to the ride, even if you’ve stepped outside for a minute. 

How many people can do rider swap at Disney? 

At Disney World’s Rider Switch, you’re split into two groups to make use of this pass. While the first adult or group is allowed to take more than one kid with them on the ride, after the swap, the second adult can only take one child. 

So two people (one adult and one older child or adult) can do the swap. 

Do Disney rides have child swap? Can Rider Switch work with Genie+, Lightning Lane, and Individual Lightning Lane?

At Disney, it’s called Rider Switch not Child Swap. You can use Rider Switch with Genie+ Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane passes, but we recommend checking with your Cast Member before doing so. However, since these are skip-the-line passes for a specific number of experiences, you may want to hold on to them for a while. 

Rider Switch allows parents to take their older kids along with them twice (once with the first parent, once again with the second), which won’t be the case with Lightning Lane. 

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Queue Cheat Sheet
Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Queue Cheat Sheet

Will older kids be allowed to ride twice using the Child Swap at Universal?

Yes! Your older kid can go on rides twice, without having to wait in line. Each parent that’s trading places and getting on the ride gets to take a plus one, typically the older kid. 

What happens if my child doesn’t want to wait in line or in a room?

Babies can get cranky waiting in one place for a long time, especially when they’ve been out all day and already had their share of fun. That’s why you might want to rock them around, walk around with them, push them around in their stroller, and try your best to keep them feeling comfortable. 

Now, if it’s Child Swap you’re worried about, don’t sweat it. Ask your ride attendant for a paper pass and step outside with your child. Your baby will love being taken around to see other attractions, and it’s a good break to do some quick exploring. Once your turn arrives, just show your ride attendant the paper pass and swap places! 

Can we take strollers into the Child Swap lines?

Since it can get quite chaotic, strollers aren’t usually allowed into these lines. In fact, your stroller might even be too difficult to maneuver in lines this tight. It’s for this reason that strollers need to be left outside before you get in line or enter the waiting room. 

If this is an inconvenience, you can ask for a paper pass to step outside with your baby in the stroller. However, if you’re comfortable with waiting with your baby in your arms, then that’s the best way to go.

Does my Rider Switch have a return time? How long do I have till I can use it?

There’s no set return time for the Rider Switch pass. Sometimes, estimates are made depending on how long it might take the first person to be done with their ride. The pass is usually usable till the end of the day, but you can only have one pass at a time. 

It’s always best if you ask a Cast Attendant to help you figure out how long you have until you get to swap and go on a ride.

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