7 Tips You Must Know About Child Swap At Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens and Sea World

Child Swap At Disney, Universal, Sea World and Busch Gardens

Although child swap at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens and Sea World is available now, they all have different rules and regulations to abide by. Have you ever wanted to get on a ride at an amusement park that your child was too young to ride?

Child Swap, Rider Swap, or Rider Switch is a system that allows parents with younger children, who don’t meet the height requirements, to take turns riding on a ride. The way it works is that the first adult gets on the ride, while the other sits out with the child. Once the ride is over, they switch places so that the other adult can also enjoy the ride. This allows parents to avoid waiting in the line twice.

Many times, parents are faced with this problem and end up missing out on some of the most amazing rides. For years, my wife and I have encountered the same dilemma, until we learned about the child swap system.

Many theme parks in Florida, such as Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Sea World, all offer child swap for parents with younger children who don’t meet the height requirements for a ride.

Insider Tip 1

Keep in mind, every theme park has a different approach when it comes to child swap. So, it’s a good idea when visiting an attraction to check beforehand what their rules and regulations are regarding their own method.

7 Best Theme Parks In Orlando
7 Best Theme Parks In Orlando

Rider Switch or Child Swap At Disney

What I’ve noticed about the child swap or the rider switch system at Disney World is that it’s not available at every ride. In fact, many of their attractions were designed for younger children to enjoy.

I’ve even seen parents carrying babies onto some of the rides with them. Which is great for many parents, but what about the children that don’t want to ride?

Unfortunately, if the attraction doesn’t offer rider switch then parents will have to take turns and wait in the lines a second time.

How To Use Child Swap At Disney

If your planning to get on a ride that does offer rider switch, remember to first go to the front of the main entrance of the attraction and let a Disney Cast Member know that you want to use the rider switch service. They usually will ask how many people are in your party and who plans to ride first.

Next, they will hook up the rider switch to your park tickets or magic bands. Then, they will direct the parent and child where they need to wait, while the others get in line. When the ride is over both parents switch places allowing the other parent to now enjoy the ride without waiting in the lines a second time.

Can You Ride Multiple Times Using Child Swap

What my family and I love about the rider switch system, is that my children can usually ride twice. For example, we arrive at an attraction, such as a roller coaster that my son is too small to ride.

My wife sits out first with him, while I get on the ride with my other two older children. After the ride is over, my wife and I switch allowing her to now ride with our children.

This allows my kids to ride twice, once with me, then another time with her. This is only possible because Disney allows a total of three guest per switch.

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Insider Tip 2

Keep in mind, Disney’s Child Swap or Rider Switch System only allows three guests per switch at a time. So, if you have a larger party, make sure to decide in advance who will be the ones standing in the line first, while only three others can wait to switch.

Rides That Have Child Swap At Disney

Magic Kingdom

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Space Mountain44 inchesRoller coaster in the dark
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train38 inchesIndoor/Outdoor roller coaster
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad40 inchesWestern theme roller coaster
Splash Mountain40 inchesIndoor/Outdoor water-flume ride
The Barnstarmer35 inchesSmaller roller coaster
Tomorrowland Speedway32 inchesGo Karts

Epcot

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Test Track40 inchesAutomobile test track
Soarin’40 inchesFlight simulator
Frozen Ever AfterN/AAdventure boat ride
Mission Space40 & 44 inchesFlight simulator

Hollywood Studios

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster48 inchesRock music theme roller coaster
Tower of Terror40 inchesSci-Fi indoor thrill ride
Slinky Dog Dash38 inchesMid-size roller coaster
Alien Swirling Saucers32 inchesSpinning saucers
Millennium Falcon38 inchesFlight simulator
Star Tours40 inchesFlight simulator

Animal Kingdom

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Expedition Everest44 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Avatar Flight of Passage44 inchesFlight simulator
Dinosaur40 inchesDark simulator ride
Primeval Whirl48 inchesSpinning coaster
Kali River Rapids38 inchesWhitewater raft ride

Child Swap At Universal

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are both great places for using child swap or rider swap, because many of the attractions there are designed for much older guests.

What my family and I enjoy the most about this system at Universal is that most attractions have child swap rooms which are equipped with changing tables. Some even have TV screens and air conditioning in them, which makes waiting around much more enjoyable.

Sometimes while we are waiting, we will enjoy some snacks or leftover food from lunch that we had at one of Universal’s awesome restaurants.

How To Use Child Swap At Universal

If your planning to get on a ride at Universal, remember to first go to the front of the main entrance of the attraction and let an employee know you want to use the rider swap service. They usually will tell the guest to walk through the line together until they reach near the child swap room.

At that point, the party then splits up. The first adult and the child who is not riding will sit in the child swap room, and the other adult rides the ride with the rest of their party. When the ride is over both will switch places allowing the other adult to now enjoy the ride without waiting in the line a second time.

Insider Tip 3

Keep in mind, there are three guests per switch at a time. So, plan ahead which adult and two others will wait first in the child swap area.

Another Way To Use Child Swap At Universal

If you’re not able to walk through the lines with the non-riding child, then ask an employee at the front of the attraction if you can go straight to the child swap room, while the rest of your party walks through the line.

Explain your situation to them, usually they will direct you to where the child swap room is, so you don’t have to wait in line. This option has worked many times with my family because our little one won’t stand still if the line is too long.

Insider Tip 4

Remember, you may encounter an employee that will insist that you walk through the line. This has happened to us before. Just be patient, because some of the employees are new.

All you have to do, if you absolutely cannot stand in the line, then go to another attraction nearby and try that ride again later. The employees usually switch places and someone else may be able to assist you better next time.

Rides That Have Child Swap At Universal

Universal Orlando

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit51 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Harry Potter Escape From Gringotts42 inchesIndoor ride & roller coaster
Revenge of the Mummy48 inchesDark ride & roller coaster
Fast & Furious40 inchesSimulated car chase
Transformers40 Inches3-D dark ride
Jimmy Fallon: Race Through New York40 inchesComedic simulator
Men In Black42 inchesInteractive dark ride
The Simpson Ride40 inchesSimulator ride

Islands of Adventure

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
The Incredible Hulk Coaster54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey48 inchesMotion simulator dark ride
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike48 inchesRoller coaster
Skull Island: Reign of Kong36 inches3-D ride
Amazing Adventures of Spider Man40 Inches3-D simulator ride
Doctor Doom’s Fearfall52 inchesLaunch & free fall ride
Jurassic Park River Adventure42 inchesRiver raft ride
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls44 inchesFlume ride
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges42 inchesWhitewater rapids ride

Child Swap At SeaWorld

The child swap service at SeaWorld has been really convenient for my family. What we enjoy the most, is that it’s easy to use and you can be in and out of attractions quickly.

How To Use Child Swap At Sea World

The way the child swap program works at SeaWorld is that you first need to tell the employee at the front that you want to do child swap. Some of your party will need to wait in the stand-by line, while the other non-riders need to wait outside near the exit. When the rider gets off the ride, they need to ask for a child swap pass from the employee standing there immediately when you get off the ride.

Insider Tip 5

The child swap pass can be used anytime throughout the day. So, if you want to go to another attraction first and then come back later, you can.

Rides That Have Child Swap At Sea World

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Mako54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Kraken54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Manta54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Infinity Falls42 inchesWhitewater rapids ride
Journey To Atlantis42 inchesFlume & roller coaster hybrid
Wild Arctic42 inchesIndoor simulator

Child Swap At Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the ultimate family adventure park that combines awesome thrill rides, live entertainment and more than 12,000 animals. If you need detailed directions on how to get there from Orlando, check out my article Orlando To Busch Gardens: An Illustrated Guide.

Child swap for Busch Gardens in my opinion is the best out of all of the theme parks.  They make it easy to get multiple child swap passes at one time and you don’t have to wait in any lines.

How To Use Child Swap At Busch Gardens

When you first come to the front of the line, ask the cast member for a child swap pass.  They will ask you how many people are in your party.  Then they will hand you a pass with a return time. 

The return time is supposed to be the same amount of time it would take you to stand in the regular stand-by line, however we have found most of the time it is a lot shorter.

Then you can go throughout the park and experience any other ride or attraction or restaurant until you have past the return time.

Insider Tip 6

We go around to all of the major thrill rides first and ask for a child swap pass. Then by the time we get back to the first ride, the time has passed and now we are able to go through the Quick Que line on every ride.

Once your return time has passed, go to the Quick Que line and show your pass to the cast member.  Once you get near the front of the line to get onto the ride, you will need to show your pass again to another cast member.  They will then punch a whole in the ticket showing that you rode the ride 1 time.

When the first party gets off the ride, hand the child swap pass to the waiting adult to use.  They will go through the Quick Que line as well.  Any family member that rode the ride the first time is able to ride again if they wish.

When you get to the front of the line the second time, the cast member will keep the child swap pass and let you on the ride.

My Related Busch Gardens Article:

Rides That Have Child Swap At Busch Gardens

RideHeight RequirementRide Type
Tigris54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Cheetah Hunt48 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Sheikra54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Montu54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Falcon’s Fury54 inchesFree fall ride
Cobra’s Curse42 inchesSpinning roller coaster
Kumba54 inchesHigh speed roller coaster
Congo River Rapids42 inchesWhitewater rapids ride
Scorpion42 inchesRoller coaster
Sand Serpent46 inchesRoller coaster
Stanley Falls Flume46 inchesFlume ride

Insider Tip 7

To avoid future disappointment, always familiarize yourself with the rides and height requirements before you go to the park. This way you can make a plan ahead of time and not have to deal with any temper tantrums because your child was looking forward to riding a ride that they are unable to get on.

Final Thoughts

Many times, before the child swap system was available, we would have a difficult time riding all the rides and experiencing all the shows at the park. However, thanks to this system we no longer have this problem and neither should you.

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas is the founder of Visit Orlando With Kids and loves going to theme parks with his family. Every year he has annual passes to all Florida's theme parks and loves to share tips and tricks that he has learned over the 35 years living in Orlando.

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