"Vacations bring out the best and worst in families," says executive producer Jonathan Groff

By Michelle Tauber
Updated September 15, 2016 09:00 AM
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Credit: ABC/Gregg Newton

The Johnsons are going to Disney World – and it’s not all pixie dust and giant turkey legs. (Though the latter are a key ingredient.)

“Vacations bring out the best and worst in families,” black-ish executive producer Jonathan Groff tells PEOPLE. “It’s never not stressful and it’s never not memorable.”

In the third season premiere of the hit ABC sitcom, family patriarch Dre (Anthony Anderson) and (pregnant!) wife Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) take their four kids to the Happiest Place on Earth – with Dre trying to make sure the kids have the happiest time imaginable.

“There’s the downside to that, which is what our show looks at all the time,” says Groff. “When you give your kids all the stuff you never had, and beyond, how does that work? It can be great and it can be stressful. You learn things.”

The cast filmed the episode in Orlando shortly after learning of their Emmy nominations – Anderson, Ross and the series all scored nods.

“It’s so huge,” says Groff. “We felt we had a really good second season. All of us were feeling that we were, at times, trying to be funny, but then there were times to say something and be part of the conversation and take on issues that this family would deal with and think about.”

So what can fans expect from the upcoming season?

For twins Jack (Miles Brown) and Diane (Marsai Martin), summer came with uneven growth spurts.

“Diane is ahead of her twin brother,” says Groff. And summer also brought changes for Game of Thrones-loving Junior (Marcus Scribner). “He’s turning into a handsome young guy” – much to the embarrassment of big sister Zoey (Yara Shahidi): “Her friends are noticing him and she’s mortified.”

Rainbow’s pregnancy, meanwhile, “is going to pop up organically in every episode. We’ll be exploring the impact on the kids, and Rainbow dealing with the fact that this really has to be the last one. And we’ll do a little babymoon story where they get away for a little bit and have that fun time before the baby comes. Dre is out of practice.”

There will also be a very special storyline for grandparents Pops (Laurence Fishburne) and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis), Groff teases: “We’re gonna meets Pops’s sister this year. She and Ruby do not have an entirely harmonious relationship, as you would expect!”

black-ish kicks off its third season on ABC Sept. 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET.