Disney World Height Requirements and Rider Swap
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In this post not only will I give lists of the height requirements for rides in each park (including the water parks), but will also discuss:
- Why your child may be physically tall enough, but not emotionally ready to ride certain attractions
- What to do when your child can’t ride, including how to use Rider Swap
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Disney Strict with Height Requirements?
- 2 Magic Kingdom Height Requirements
- 3 Epcot Height Requirements
- 4 Animal Kingdom Height Requirements
- 5 Hollywood Studios Height Requirements
- 6 Height Requirements for Disney Water Parks
- 7 Age for Single Rider Lines
- 8 Disney Rides Without Height Requirements
- 9 Which Rides are Too Scary for Kids?
- 10 Disney Rider Swap
Is Disney Strict with Height Requirements?
And they should be strict, since we’re talking about
a) Safety concerns and
Note that some rides have two points of being measured: first at the queue entrance (this is just a courtesy so you don’t waste time standing in line), then again at the ride loading area (which is the “official” measuring and, I guess, a way of catching a cast member’s error or people who somehow snuck in).
So if your child is very very close to the height requirement and made it into the queue, know that you’re not out of the woods quite yet.
Please, please do not yell at the cast members, give them nasty looks, or get into an argument with them if they tell you that your child doesn’t meet the height requirement.
Aside from the fact that they work long hours at a tiring job, the cast members:
a) Could get fired if they fudge the height requirements; and
b) Are following a rule designed to keep your child safe.
Also be aware that, since you could be talking about the difference of a tiny fraction of an inch, it is possible that you will get different results at different times, so be prepared for that and be nice.
For example, get this — I read in the comments section of an article that people’s spines decompress throughout the day, causing you (and your kids) to get ever-so-slightly-shorter as the day goes by.
So … it is within the realm of possibility that your child got on a ride in the morning, but in the late afternoon got turned away for a ride with the same exact height requirement.
So now that you know that yes, the height requirements do matter and are strictly enforced, let’s go through each park to see what they are.
Magic Kingdom Height Requirements
Space Mountain – 44″
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 40″
Splash Mountain – 40″
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38″
The Barnstormer – 35″
Tomorrowland Speedway – 32″
Epcot Height Requirements
Mission: Space (Green) – 44″
Mission: Space (Orange) – 44″
Soarin’ – 40″
Test Track – 40″
Animal Kingdom Height Requirements
Primeval Whirl – 48″
Expedition Everest – 44″
Flight of Passage – 44″
Kali River Rapids – 38″
Hollywood Studios Height Requirements
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 48″
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – 40″
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40″
Slinky Dog Dash – 38″
Alien Swirling Saucers – 32″
Height Requirements for Disney Water Parks
Summit Plummet – 48″
Chair Lift – 32″
Downhill Double Dipper – 48″
Slush Gusher – 48″
Crush ‘n’ Gusher – 48″
Humunga Kowabunga – 48″
Age for Single Rider Lines
There are three Disney rides that have a separate single rider line, which will move faster than the regular Standby line:
- Test Tract at Epcot
- Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom
- Rock n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studies
Children have to be 7 years old to get in the single rider line. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’ll want to. My kids never wanted to do single rider, even when they were considerably older than that, because they didn’t like the idea of having to ride with a stranger.
Disney Rides Without Height Requirements
Believe it or not, that still leaves a lot to have fun with, even if you have a child that meets none of those requirements.
Here’s the list of rides, alphabetically by park, with no height restrictions:
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Carousel of Progress
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Enchanted Tales with Belle
The Enchanted Tiki Room
The Hall Of Presidents
The Haunted Mansion
It’s a Small World
Liberty Square Riverboat
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Vehicles
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Swiss Family Treehouse
Tom Sawyer Island
WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Walt Disney World Railroad
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
An American Adventure
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Frozen Ever After
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
Impressions de France
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Living with the Land
Reflections of China
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Discovery Island Trails
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Fossil Fun Games
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kids Discovery Clubs
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Up! A Great Bird Adventure
Wildlife Express Train
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple
The Magic of Disney Animation
Disney Jr.—Live on Stage!™
Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi
Toy Story Mania!
Voyage of The Little Mermaid
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
Which Rides are Too Scary for Kids?
Okay, that was the easy part, because it included strictly-enforced rules and facts. If your kid is only three and half feet tall, then they can’t ride Space Mountain. Period. Move along.
But, like most parenting matters, they are more decisions to be made that aren’t always that simple. And when it comes to rides at Disney World, it’s important to remember that just because a child can go on a ride doesn’t mean they should.
Originally I was going to list some rides that could potentially be scary for a child … but what’s the point?
If you’re a parent you already know that things that “sound” scary (ie, the skeletons at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean are often not the things that freak your kids out.
For example, the first Disney movie I tried to watch with my girls was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
How benign can you get, right?
Well, first both of them got scared when Pooh starting floating away with the red balloon. I fast-fowarded to the end of that section … and they both got upset again when Pooh got stuck in the door to Rabbit’s house. “How is going to get out?” one of them asked me in tears.
So yeah, I could say, “This ride could be scary because it’s dark, and that other ride could be scary because it has a dinosaur.” But if your children are anything like mine (or like me when I was a child), that won’t really help.
What makes it even worse is that you can’t even go by an obvious-sounding principle, like “Don’t go on anything your child doesn’t want to ride.”
Sure, that sounds like common sense. But the fact is that there are some kids who won’t want to do anything, but then after you
force encourage them to, they end of having a really great time.
So I don’t really know how to help you here. Parenting can be tough, and most likely your kids are all wildly different from each other, which makes it even more challenging. Read the ride descriptions (this book is fantastic), read some of the YouTube videos if you like, and hope for the best.
Oh, wait … I do have two suggestions:
1. Start small. Don’t have your kids’ first roller coaster experience ever be Expedition Everest.
2. Be kind and gentle if you child does get scared on a ride. Don’t ignore them, laugh at them, or tell them to toughen up. Pull them close and, depending on the ride, say kind things and/or direct their attention to something else.
Disney Rider Swap
Rider Swap is a great option for when to ride something that your kids don’t meet the height requirements for. It is sometimes referred to by other names, like Rider Switch, Rider Swap, Switching Off, Child Swap — or my personal favorite, Baby Swap.
What’s also nice about Rider Swap is that, according to Disney Park Moms, you can use it not only if your child doesn’t meet the height requirements, but also if they just don’t want to ride it.
So if you want to ride Space Mountain, but your nine year old doesn’t, you can use Rider Swap, even though they meet the height requirement.
How Does Rider Swap Work?
Disney transitioned from paper to digital Rider Switch passes in June 2018. With this change came another: you now have a limited return window of 1 hour for using your Rider Switch pass. So make sure you make a note of that, especially if you’ve used Rider Switch in the past prior to that date.
1. Split your party into two groups of people who will ride. (The “groups” can be as small as one person each.)
1. Everybody in your party approaches the ride’s queue and tells the Cast Member that you want to use Rider Switch
2. Everybody in the first group get on line to ride.
3. The Cast Member scans the ticket or Magic Bands of everybody in the second group of riders. The people in this second group have an hour window to come back back and ride.
This is basically like getting an extra FastPass — sweet!
The really neat thing, though, especially if you older kids or several adults in your party, is that each Rider Switch pass allows entry for up to three guests.
Okay, so in the hopes of better explaining all that, I’ll paint an imaginary scenario from when when my kids were younger.
In this scenario, my husband Rob and I both want to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Our daughters Rachael and Rebecca, are ages six and eight and also want to ride. Benjamin, however, is three years old and only 37″ tall, so he doesn’t meet the height requirement and can’t ride.
We do not have a FastPass in this scenario, for the sake of simplicity, but we were savvy enough to arrive during the afternoon parade so that the line won’t be too long.
Rob, being the great husband that he is, allows me to ride first, and Rachael and Rebecca both get to join me.
While the girls and on get on line, Rob gets his Magic Band scanned, then he and Benjamin go ride Walt Disney World Railroad.
The five of us meet up again in about 30 or 40 minutes. Rob hands Benjamin to me, then gets in the FastPass queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, taking Rachael and Rebecca with him.
Benny and I go ride the Walt Disney World Railroad, because three year old Benjamin really likes trains, and I like sitting.
The five of us meet up again when we’re finished.
Can You Use Rider Swap with FastPass?
And there is where things can start to get a little confusing, but the basic gist is that only the people who ride in group one need a FastPass.
In the above scenario, only me, Rachael, and Rebecca would have needed a FastPass. Rob doesn’t, because he will get the Rider Switch pass that acts like a FastPass.
So it’s a pretty cool deal (assuming you can understand it.)
If you’re still a little confused, this infographic probably explains it better than I did:
And here’s a video explanation that also has some really nice footage:
Video: How to Use Fastpass+ and Rider Switch Pass
What to Do While Waiting on Your Ride
So what do you do while you’re waiting for the other group in your party to ride?
Well, “eating” is one answer and always a popular activity, but there are a lot of other options as well. WDWPrepSchool has these suggestions for things to do while you wait on each ride:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — Carrousel or Mad Tea Party
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — Walt Disney World Railroad
Splash Mountain — Walt Disney World Railroad
The Barnstormer — Dumbo or Casey Jr. Splash n Soak Station
Space Mountain —
WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway —
WEDWay Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Test Track — Exit area of ride
Soarin’ — Living with the Land
Mission:Space — Exit area of ride
Star Tours — MuppetVision 3D
Tower of Terror — Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
Rock n Roller Coaster — Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
Slinky Dog Dash — Toy Story Mania or meeting Toy Story characters
Alien Swirling Saucers — Toy Story Mania or meeting Toy Story characters
Expedition Everest — Maharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids — Maharajah Jungle Trek
Dinosaur — Triceratop Spin or The Boneyard
Primeval Whirl — Triceratop Spin or The Boneyard
Flight of Passage — Na’Vi River Journey or exploring Pandora
Now it’s your turn.
What has your experience been with Rider Swap? Do you have any tips to share? What rides have been too scary for your kids? How do you determine whether or not a young child should ride something? Let us know below in the comments!