Hey WDW Radio Blog readers! Aly Miller here from San Antonio, TX, with another question from Lou’s Inbox! James from New York writes:
“We are visiting Disney World in October with a party of seven and staying for the first time at Old Key West Resort. We are all Disney veterans, except for “Sleepy”, who is our baby that is due April 22. We have never visited the World with such a young baby, our other child was one year old when he visited Mickey for the first time. My questions are can you explain exactly how line “swapping” works when you have a little one that can’t participate on a ride? What are some activities that we all can take advantage of while staying at Old Key West? Do you have any recommendations to make our little “sleepy” have a magical first trip? Thanks and have a magical day.”
James, this is such a great question! I traveled with my little dude when he was not even two years old, and again when he was almost four but still too short for many of the rides (he didn’t quite get to 40” by our trip). Rider swap was an essential part of our trips and, when used intelligently, can be a great way for some members of your party to experience the same attraction multiple times.
Please note that Rider Swap is not available for all attractions. I have listed the attractions in each park that offer this service as of the time of this writing in April of 2017. In addition, only 2 people are granted re-entry to the attraction per Rider Switch Pass, so you will have to break up your party of 7 for the purpose of using Rider Swap.
The way rider swap works is pretty simple: You split your party into 2 groups. For the sake of this post, we will call them “Group 1” and “Group 2”. First, both groups go up to the start of the queue for the attraction, and check in with the attendant there (typically the person who is checking the height of smaller guests). They will issue you a Rider Switch Pass. Group 1 of your party will then enter the queue and experience the attraction, while Group 2 waits nearby (Group 2 must contain at least one adult and the person who isn’t able to experience the attraction). One thing we did was leave my mom with our son in the playground of the Dumbo attraction, where he could play in air conditioned comfort while we waited to ride.
Once Group 1 has finished on the attraction, they meet back up with Group 2. At that time, up to 2 guests can take the Rider Switch Pass up to the FastPass line and will be granted entrance to the attraction via the FastPass line. The adult(s) from Group 1 wait with the baby. If you have an older child or if there are 4 people in your party, one person is able to ride twice by being part of Group 1 and then participating with the Group 2 adult. I hope this works out well for you!
List of attractions offering Rider Swap:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®
Kali River Rapids
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Your family will find lots to do at Disney’s Old Key West Resort! You can relax by the pool, shop in Conch Flats General Store, or dine at Olivia’s Café. You can take a boat to Disney Springs as well for more dining and shopping options. I also suggest taking buses to other resorts and experiencing the various atmospheres and restaurants. If you’re looking for a specific schedule of what pool parties and other activities taking place during your stay, you will be given an itinerary upon check-in with times and locations of any events on site.
Making Baby’s Trip Magical
As for making “Sleepy’s” trip a magical one, the best advice I can give you is to make memories for yourselves. If you have not purchased Memory Maker, I highly suggest you do so. For less than $150 (pre-trip purchase price) you will have access to the high-resolution digital images taken by any ride or Photopass photographer in the parks, resorts, restaurants or Disney Springs. Take full advantage of as many photo opportunities as possible, so that you can document the story of the trip for when “Sleepy” is all grown up. In addition, make sure you go at “Sleepy’s” speed – take breaks, let him/her rest when he/she needs to, and don’t force any experiences on him/her that he’s/she’s not comfortable with. The less you stress, the more fun your experience will be.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful time in Walt Disney World making magical memories!
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To learn more about Alyson and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.