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Child Swap at Disney World: How it Works

Child Swap at Disney World: How it Works

So, you’re at the parks and you have a child that’s too small for the ride, what do you do? You don’t want to not ride anything, because after all, you’re on vacation, too. Never fear, Walt Disney World utilizes a Child Swap system so anyone who is able to ride, can ride. 

Since Magic Kingdom is the most family friendly park, we will be focusing on specific tips regarding good ol’ MK, but the Child Swap system works the same all throughout Walt Disney World.

The Basics on Child Swap

The child swap system can be used if a child isn’t tall enough to ride, or if they are just too scared/don’t want to ride. All the guardians have to do is find the Cast Member at the entrance of a Lightning Lane and let them know that you want to use child swap. They will want to scan your magic band or park ticket, as well as the child who is waiting with you. Then the rest of your party goes to wait in line.

If your party has purchased Genie+ and you have a Lightning Lane for the attraction, then your party will utilize the Lightning Lane. If you either don’t have Genie+ or do not have a Lightning Lane for that time, then your party will wait in the Standby Lane the old-fashioned way.

Once they get off the ride, they basically give you a high five like a relay race and now you and ONE other person get to scan in through the Lightning Lane and essentially skip the line while the rest of your party that just got off the ride gets to stay with the underaged child! You used to be able to take 2 people back through, but in 2022 Disney has changed it to just one person.

Wait, isn’t that unfair because you’re skipping the line? Are you, though? The way Disney figures is that when you were waiting with the child outside of the line, you were essentially waiting in line, just not in the line. 

What to do While You Wait for Child Swap

Ok, the family is waiting in the standby line that says 45 minutes and you’re hanging out with a 2-year-old, what do you do? If the line is 15 minutes or less, just hang out in the gift shop just at the end of the line because they will be out before you know it.

MOM TIP: To keep from asking to buy everything, we always allow our kids to hug all of the stuffed friends they want in a store. If it gets excessive, then we limit it to 10 hugs, but if you have to wait a while, then go to town! Why hugs? Frankly, kids don’t really want all the stuff, they just want to touch it, so if they have clean hands and are respecting the boundaries of the hugging game, then everyone is happy!

Grab a Snack!

Who doesn’t love a little snacky? Plus, it’s a great time killer! Our favorite snack to kill time during a child swap is a root beer float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland. It’s cold, refreshing, and root beer is caffeine free. Other great quick snacks are corn dog nuggets at Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA, or Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Adventureland. Another favorite snack for our youngest Disney friends is popcorn from the popcorn carts all around Walt Disney World. 

PRO TIP: You can buy a souvenir popcorn bucket and refill it for just over $2! This will work your whole vacation! If we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ve brought old popcorn buckets and never had an issue getting the refill discount. 

Take a Nap

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There are plenty of quiet places if you just know where to look, and what better time to go sit for a while in the quiet than when you have to kill some time! 

Great quiet spots in the Magic Kingdom are:

  • The Hub Grass: Funny enough this area is right in front of Cinderella Castle and yet so many people just walk on by not realizing that you can go and sit for a spell in the soft green “grass”.
  • Circus tent in Storybook Circus: Storybook Circus has a lot of nooks and crannies of space that have just not been used. Among them is a tent that is shaded with fans. You will probably be the only ones in there, so you know it will be quiet enough for a nice cat nap.
  • Liberty Square by the Liberty Tree – Liberty Square is often under appreciated as people just run past trying to get to and from other attractions. Liberty Square is low sensory, quiet, shaded, and under the tree is the perfect place to catch a breeze and a nap!
  • Tom Sawyer Island: You need to take a boat from Frontierland over to Tom Sawyer island, but don’t expect to be back in a quick hurry! This boat is running on Mississippi River time where everything slows down. But the island is so tranquil and simple that you will completely forget that you’re in the busiest theme park in America!

Meet a Character 

Whether it’s an actual character meet and greet or a cavalcade passing by, kids of all ages get excited for the characters all over the parks, proving that you’re never too young for Disney World!

Does your child have a specific favorite character (https://www.wdwvacationtips.com/what-not-to-do-when-toddlers-meet-characters-at-disney-world/) ? Be sure to check out the My Disney Experience app to see where they will be in the parks and what their time schedules are. Just click the map and select your park. Then where it says “Wait Times”, click and select “Characters”. 

Go on a Ride

There’s no rule saying that you can’t ride another ride as you are waiting for Child Swap for a different ride. Let’s say you are looking to use child swap at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and you have an hour to wait… You can easily take the little one on The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or another child-friendly ride during that time. Most of the family-friendly rides tend to have low wait times, with the exception of Peter Pan’s Flight. My personal Magic Kingdom quick go-tos are Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. These rides typically only have a 10-minute wait time. 

IMPORTANT Disney Child Swap Information

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The most important note about Disney’s child swap is to not only know your child’s actual height (hair doesn’t count), but also what the height requirements are for the rides. You don’t want to get a kid all excited for something he can’t go on. 

Remember, those height requirements are there for a reason! Disney has put these restrictions to keep our precious little bundles safe, so please, let this be your PSA to not fudge their height by teaching them to go on tiptoes or buying your kid shoes with a heel. 

If you are traveling with small children, Magic Kingdom is the best park because there is so much that the whole family can do! It lists 17 rides that have no height requirement. There’s definitely no feeling left out there because you likely can’t get through all of that!

Magic Kingdom Attractions

Family Friendly (No Height Requirement)

  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • “It’s a small world”
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Mad Tea Party

32” or Taller

  • Tomorrowland Speedway

35” or Taller

  • The Barnstormer

38” or Taller

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

40” or Taller

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Splash Mountain

44” or Taller

  • Space Mountain

EPCOT Attractions

Family Friendly (No Height Requirement)

  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Living with the Land
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Spaceship Earth

40” or Taller 

  • Mission: Space
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Test Track

42” or Taller

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Hollywood Studios Attractions

Family Friendly (No Height Requirement)

  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Walt Disney Presents
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Toy Story Mania!

32” or Taller

  • Alien Swirling Saucers

38” or Taller

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

40” or Taller

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

48” or Taller

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Animal Kingdom Attractions

Family Friendly (No Height Requirement)

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Triceratop Spin
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Na’vi River Journey

38” or Taller

  • Kali River Rapids

40” or Taller

  • DINOSAUR

44” or Taller

  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

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