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Child Swap at Universal Studios: What It Is and How it Works

For families with young children, the “child swap” or “rider swap” option at Universal Studios theme parks can help save time while the adults get to enjoy roller coasters and other rides.

What is Rider Swap?

The child swap program allows the entire family to stand in line once. One adult gets to ride the attraction while the other adult watches the child. When the first adult gets off, they can switch places without having to wait again. The first adult now watches the child, while the second adult can ride the attraction.

At Universal Studios, the program is called “child swap.” At Disney World, you might hear the program called “rider swap.”

You will be given a ticket when the non-riding party goes into the waiting room. Then that ticket will be used for the other adult to board the attraction later with no wait.

Not all rides will have the Child Swap option. For instance, out of the Universal water rides, only one has a rider swap option, and that is Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.

Where Do We Wait When Doing Child Swap?

At each attraction with the child swap option, there is a family room available for waiting in. The indoor rooms will keep you cool in the summer or warm in the winter, and you will escape outdoor elements such as rain. Some have TVs and books in the room.

However, the Simpsons ride isn’t an enclosed room but a separate seating area.

These rooms are a great place to have a snack while waiting. Universal Studios does allow you to bring in food from outside. Get some of these snacks for theme parks to enjoy during child swap.

We have heard multiple reports that these rooms are scary or loud, which is not great for little ones. Who designed them that way?

Forbidden Journey in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, King Kong and Transformers family rooms seem to be among the scariest for kids.

What If My Child is Scared of the Waiting Rooms?

If the aesthetics and design of the family room is an issue for your kids and causes problems, kindly ask for a paper child swap pass. This will allow you to watch your kids outdoors where they can run around and not be overstimulated in a multi-sensory environment.

When using a child swap paper pass, generally you will reenter the attraction at the exit after swapping with the first adult.

You might encounter resistance from some employees about giving you a paper pass without going through the line. Just explain that your kids get unhappy being stuck in the rooms waiting. They usually will end up giving you the pass.

Can I Bring My Backpack or Diaper Bag With Me in Line if Using Child Swap?

Yes, you usually are able to bring the items that you need to take care of the kids with you in line. These items cannot be carried by the person who is riding the attraction.

Are Strollers Allowed in the Lines?

Strollers are not allowed in the queue lines for the attractions. If you need to bring a stroller, because your child is asleep, ask the attraction attendant for options, including a paper child swap pass.

Are There Bathrooms or Changing Tables in the Waiting Rooms?

No. If your child needs the bathroom or you need to change diapers, ask an employee how to get a paper child swap pass so that you can use the facilities outside of the line.

Can Big Kids Ride Twice with the Swapping Adults?

Yes, if you are traveling with a bigger kid that is able to ride the attraction, they might be able to ride twice. For instance, the big kid rides with the first adult on the attraction. When the adults switch, the big kid can go with the second adult and get to ride again.

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