Traveling With Kids -
Using the "Baby Swap"
The "baby swap" allows a group to ride
the more thrilling rides at the parks in shifts when some members
of the group are too short (some rides like Space Mountain and
Star Tours have height minimums to ensure that the restraint
systems work properly) or are simply too young (i.e. an infant
or toddler) to ride.
The "baby swap" is when a portion of
your party gets in the attraction queue. The rest of the party
stays with the child(ren) that can't or doesn't want to ride
while the first group transverses the queue and the ride. When
the first group is done, the second group enjoys the attraction
while the first group stays behind with the non-riders. It's
kind of ironic that the baby isn't really swapped so much as
the adults are.
The advantage of the "baby swap" is
that the second part of the group doesn't have to wait through
the entire queue. That's a big advantage when the lines for
the ride are over an hour or more.
The "baby swap" is handled differently
depending on the attraction:
Alien Encounter - Both groups
have to wait through the entire queue. Effectively, this
attraction does not really have a "baby swap".
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- The group that is staying with the child(ren) waits at
the attraction exit, then waits for the first group of riders.
When the first group is done, the second group walks up
the exit to the loading area and is seated on the next train.
Space Mountain - Everyone
in the group must go through the entire queue. This is a
real pain, because you're still not allowed to take a stroller.
Only when you get to the loading area is the part of the
group that is staying with the child(ren) directed to exit
(temporarily) down the last exit ramp. That part of the
group, along with the child(ren) waits at the attraction
unload area (inside the building), then waits for the first
group of riders. When the first group is done, the second
group walks back up the same exit ramp to the loading area.
Splash Mountain - The group
goes through the queue together. When you reach the loading
area, the first group rides. The second group is allowed
to walk over the flume and wait on a few nearby benches
until the first group is done.
Body Wars - The group goes
through the queue together. When you enter to load the simulator,
the group that's waiting first walks through the row of
seats to the benches at the exit. After the first group
rides, the cast members will allow the second group to load
from the exit before the other guests are permitted to enter.
Disney / MGM Studios
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Like Space Mountain, in the Tower the whole group stands
in line together until the very end, then part of the group
exits and waits for the rest of the group. When the first
group of riders is done, the others enter through the exit
and tells the cast member that they are completing a "baby
swap" and they are allowed to ride.
Star Tours - This is handled
just like Body Wars. The group goes through the queue together.
When you enter to load the simulator, the group that's waiting
first walks through the simulator to the exit. After the
first group rides, they switch places.
Countdown to Extinction -
The group that is staying with the child(ren) waits at the
attraction exit (to the left of the attraction building).
Then, when the first group of riders finishes up, the second
group goes to the cast member at the attraction entrance
and is escorted to the pre-show room, so you get to hear
the "set-up" for the attraction. Unfortunately,
that also means that you have to wait through the last portion
of the queue from the pre-show room to the vehicles load
area. It's good to hear the pre-show, but having to
wait through so much of the queue is a pain.
Kali River Rapids - The group goes
through almost the entire queue together. Just before
you walk down the stairs to the loading platform, the group
that is staying with the child(ren) stands off to the left-hand
side and waits (this is just at the top of the loading platform
stairs.) When the first group returns, the groups
Some things to keep in mind when you're using
the "baby swap" strategy:
ALWAYS let the cast members at the entrance
and loading areas of the attraction know that you're using
a "baby swap". The CMs can help you make things
go smoothly. They are also up-to-date on how the "baby
swap" is to be done.
Everything is handled by the cast members
in a very cordial and efficient fashion. They are clearly
very used to working with guests on the "baby swap".
Riders are never expected to ride alone. This
can work to your advantage. Since each parent is permitted
to ride with another guest, an older child or a third adult
can enjoy the attraction back-go-back.
The "baby swap" is not advertised.
You won't see signs in the queues that you can do such a
thing. Even so, you should never feel guilty for trying
to get away with something...the "baby swap" is
allowed by Disney to enhance the enjoyment of the guest.
Take advantage of it!