TumbleMonkeys' August 2022 Offsite, Extended Family Trip Report!

Pictures for Day 2, Part 1:


Oh wow, doing F&F as your last ride isn’t going to leave the best impression :joy::joy: Lovely pics.


That’s one people don’t like, right? :joy: I thought so but I couldn’t remember!

We definitely missed some iconic Universal rides, but I thought it was important to follow their family’s lead, since I was going to be calling a lot of the shots on our Disney days. Just a reason to go back! We were bummed about Hagrid’s, but the rest can wait. :blush:



We managed to hit both rush hour traffic and a thunderstorm on our way from Universal to Emerald Island, so our 20 minute drive took 90. But I was tracking my groceries on the Amazon app and knew we’d make in time. It was kind a high stakes game for a planner like me because (since there was alcohol in the order) I knew they would not leave them without a signature. But we even had time to swing by the neighborhood clubhouse to get our gate key before going to the house.

We rented my friend’s 6 BR house in Emerald Island last year. We loved the community and the space for the price. But one silver lining of pushing the big family trip to 2022 was my family getting to stay in her house last year, which served as an unintentional trial run. We determined it wasn’t quite big enough for our extended family. So I found a 7 BR in the same community on VRBO. We rented that one instead.

We let ourselves in and found the house to be super cute and in excellent condition. Like last year’s house, it had a private, screened pool and a garage that had been converted to a game room. We made ourselves at home and waited for my parents to arrive from their flight into Sanford. My sister and BIL ordered Flippers pizza and salad and went and picked it up. It was excellent. Meanwhile, we found our rooms:

Mom and Dad - Main floor suite with bath, Walt Disney theme
Amy and BIL - Upstairs suite with bath, Mary Poppins theme
DN6 and DN10 - Bunk bed room, Marvel theme
DN8 - Bunk bed room, Frozen theme
Those rooms shared a Toy Story bathroom
Mike and me - Upstairs suite with bath, Vintage Disney poster theme :heart_eyes:
Megan - King room, Winnie the Pooh theme
Josh - King room, Peter Pan theme
Those rooms shared a Mickey Mouse bathroom

The upstairs rooms were split, three and three, so the families were on opposite sides of the stairs. It was really an excellent layout. The main reason we upgraded was for an extra bathroom, but my kids definitely weren’t complaining that they each got their own King room, either!

My parents arrived, we ate pizza, and we talked excitedly about our trip. I felt happy to have helped make it happen.


Picture for Day 2, Part 2:


This is what it’s all about. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


It’s the one people generally hate!! We only got to do Hagrid’s once this time and we were annoyed about that. I just didn’t have it in me to wait 2 hours. It’s not going anywhere though!


The house sounds gorgeous!!



Before I start the Disney portion of the report, I want to take a minute to talk about the objectives of the trip and how they were reflected in my planning.

Spend part of each day together as a group.

Make memories as a group, and get pictures! This is a first trip for 3, a first trip in 30 years for 2, and a once in a lifetime trip as a group.

Build in enough unscheduled time every day for everyone to have enough rest and some flexibility.

Minimize time waiting in crowds, waiting in direct sun, and waiting in line.

Minimize food hassles.

Experience as many of the best attractions as possible as a group, while honoring the other objectives above!

You don’t have to ride everything, go to every meal, etc. that we’re doing as a group. But different things will be special to different people, so please consider going, and especially, please don’t start a counter initiative to go do something else!

This was kind of a tall order, but it seemed important. Disney is great, but it’s not something my parents would have been up for without some of these considerations. And between 2021 and 2022, Genie and increased onsite perks definitely complicated matters. Luckily I already spend a large portion of my time thinking about Disney planning. :blush:

Now for some sappy stuff. I truly feel like Disney planning is one of my love languages, and doing this trip for my parents and my sister’s family made my heart full. The 2021 plans kept me going during some dark and boring times, and replanning everything for 2022 was a pleasure as well.

Back to planning. To meet our objectives, we agreed on the following:

We will pay to avoid lines (adding Genie Plus to all days of the ticket, buying ILL)

We will pay for an onsite advantage (one night at Pop spanning two park days) since we are not spending much for the house

We will not stand in rope drop crowds or hustle to a top headliner at rope drop. We will use early entry when we have it but we will take our time.

Robin will pick our park days, park hours, and lineup of attractions to best support our objectives. There will be extra time each day if people want to stay longer and do their own thing.

We will eat table service meals together, since this is a relaxing Disney “thing” some people enjoy. When we eat QS meals, we will Mobile Order. There will be time to buy snacks. Some meals we will eat at the house. We will generally have a plan for meals at the start of each day, to manage expectations and minimize controversy.

We had a lot of conversations over the 2.5 years of planning that led to all of this, and this is the first time it’s been in print, lest you think I am a total dictator! But I know some people might be planning offsite, big family trips using Genie Plus, and I wanted to spend a little time describing our thinking, before I dove into our park days!

Thanks for reading!


It really was! I’ve been so happy with both our rental experiences that I honestly don’t miss staying onsite anymore.


Me too! I don’t think my family understands it at all, and I would love to bring SOME extended family into that language at some point.


We used to live the villas we stayed in. But that was with extended family. I wouldn’t rent a whole house just for me and Joe and if I’m going to be in a hotel I’d rather it be Disney. Although my friend is renting a 4 bed house next year for 3 of them.


Agree resort is nicer for fewer people, and allows for things like park hopping and more dining. 6 BR house last year for 4 of us was probably a bit excessive. . . But there were supposed to be 11 of us!


I hope you get the chance! Glad you understood what I meant!

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Oh I wasn’t calling you out! I knew you rented it for a bigger group and I’m not bothered anyway if someone else wants to do it. But I would be proper spooked with just me and Joe in a big house in an area I didn’t know. I don’t think I’d sleep!

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Oh I knew you weren’t calling me out! :joy:

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The uneventful drive to Universal is exceptional on its own! :smirk:


I am LOVING the guidelines/objectives that you set for your group. It is a really smart way to approach your trip :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Yes! I think weekday commuting is way down. We learned the hard way last year that Saturday vacation traffic is as bad as ever!