Disney World’s Bath Brand is Ending
For longtime Walt Disney World fans, it’s the end of an era. The “scent of vacation” is coming to an end, as the brand that makes resort bath products has announced that it’s closing up shop.
H2O+ posted on its official website thanking customers for 33 years, along with this: “After 30+ amazing years of innovation, we have made the very difficult decision to retire the brand at the end of the year.” H2O+ also indicated that you customers can “shop your favorites on Amazon while supplies last.”
Frequent visitors of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line will instantly recognize the H2O+ name. It’s the company that makes all of those bath and body products–from shampoo and conditioner to foot scrub–that are provided in resort rooms and staterooms.
Featured items at Walt Disney World and beyond include the H2O Plus premium Sea Salt and Sea Marine SPA lines, signature blue Bath Aquatics collection, and bath and body care products in Blushing Orange and Grapefruit Bergamot scents. H2O Plus products are also available in resort gift shops and online at shopDisney.com.
Speaking of which, shopDisney just posted a banner indicating that it’s closing out its remaining H2O+ inventory…
Once the current inventory runs out, that’s it. The products will be “gone forever on September 30” according to shopDisney’s banner.
Through the end of 2022, you can also purchase items from the H2O Plus Storefront on Amazon. On their website, the bath products company states that “H2O+ products will be available exclusively on Amazon, and we will no longer be accepting orders on H2OPlus.com. Continue to read in-depth product information and easily find the links to your products on Amazon.”
H2O Plus is a subsidiary of Pola Orbis Holdings, based out of Tokyo, Japan. In a press release, the Pola Orbis group stated that it has positioned the expansion of its business portfolio as “the new pillar of its strategies, while aiming to further enhance profitability by pursuing reforms of its brand portfolio in the existing cosmetics business” for Vision 2029, which is its 100th Anniversary plan.
With that, Pola is eliminating H2O Plus Holdings Inc. Since joining the group, H2O Plus has been engaged in the manufacture and sale of cosmetics primarily in the US. However, the business environment surrounding the beauty brand has become “extremely difficult,” with sales falling short of expectations. Pola acquired H2O Plus in 2010. At the time of the acquisition, Pola said it would expand the brand in Asia.
According to the company, H2O Plus will fulfill its contractual obligations to supply products in accordance with agreements with its business partners, and proceed with dissolution procedures during the second half of 2023. Subsequently, the liquidation will be concluded upon the completion of the necessary procedures.
Given that, it’s likely that H2O+ products will be available in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and DCL rooms through at least the end of 2022. No word yet from the Walt Disney Company on what brand will replace H2O, but our “vote” goes to another Japanese brand: Kao Corporation, sponsor of Tokyo Disney Resort and producer of the iconic Mickey Mouse head soap dispensers (which smell great).
The Walt Disney Company and H2O Plus have had a fruitful relationship for over 15 years. The two began working together in 2006, when Walt Disney World teamed with H2O Plus to “provide our guests with high-quality, in-room amenities such as shampoos, conditioners and body lotions,” said Michael Cohen, vice president, Disney Corporate Alliances.
If I recall correctly, H2O products were only offered at Deluxe Resorts and Disney Vacation Club properties initially. Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I could swear we still received the old school Mickey Mouse stuff at the All Stars and Port Orleans Resorts in 2007.
Back in 2013, the two partners announced a multi-year strategic relationship that took that even further. At the time, Cohen said that Disney was “excited to expand upon this relationship and look forward to introducing H2O Plus products to Disney guests around the globe.”
Then, H2O+ went from the primary in-room amenities provider for Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club properties, to extend the H2O Plus presence internationally.
Through that deal, H2O Plus products were added to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. In addition, H2O Plus became sponsor of multiple runDisney races at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
“We’ve enjoyed a wonderful, long-standing relationship with Disney and we are pleased with the opportunity to further collaborate with one of the most beloved companies in the world” said H2O Plus CEO, Rick Ruffolo at the time. “This expanded agreement will enable us to provide H2O Plus to an even broader Disney audience who can now enjoy the best in marine-based skincare products.”
While that partnership was significant news at the time, the biggest story involving H2O Plus and Walt Disney World was, naturally, a controversy. A minor change that garnered disproportionate backlash.
Back in 2017, Walt Disney World began replacing individually-packaged soaps and shampoos with larger, refillable dispensers in the shower. This was one of several unpopular changes made at the resorts in 2017-2018, overshadowed only by the addition of hotel parking fees and pet-friendly resorts. (Parking fees are still a big deal, but the other two “issues” seem downright quaint as compared to the changes of the last couple years.)
These refillable dispensers were first added at Value and Moderate Resorts and eventually extended to Disney Vacation Club Resorts and beyond.
For those keeping score at home, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser officially became the most expensive “hotel” to have the refillable dispensers when it debuted earlier this year.
This has been a bit hit or miss, though. Some Deluxe and Villa resorts have the refillable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash dispensers, whereas others do not.
During our most recent stay in the Grand New Rooms at Walt Disney World’s Flagship Resort, we were surprised to find individual toiletries. (Not that any of you actually care–but I find it fascinating to see which new rooms do and don’t do things like this and bed runners.)
I’ve been of two minds about this. On the one hand, this is more environmentally-friendly, and is a trend in the larger hotel industry far beyond Disney. It’s especially popular in Europe (we’ve experienced this even at high end and boutique hotels there), but has been standard practice in U.S. National Park lodges for a while, too.
The flip side to that is it’s another cut at hotels with ever-increasing prices. It’s one of those things that just feels like a cost-savings measure being implemented under the guise of environmentality. It’d be one thing if this savings were passed along to guests or used to improve another amenity, but I think we all know that’s not how it has played out.
Whenever we stay in a resort at Walt Disney World, we stock up on H2O+ products.
A while back, I admitted in our Top 10 Scents of Walt Disney World that I hadn’t bought shampoo in years. While that’s no longer true, it’s not due to the refillable dispenser switch–I still have enough H2O Plus products to last a lifetime.
As firm believers in scent-evoked nostalgia, that’s why we continue to collect the little bottles and have quite the stockpile.
We use various H2O+ bath products on “special occasions” or when wanting to start our day off on the right foot. Certain discontinued scents or bath products from specific hotels still conjure up memories and emotion from past trips, and it’s nice to revisit those from time to time.
Sarah and I began visiting Walt Disney World together in 2006, just before H2O Plus began its relationship with Disney. (I assume–our first trip featured the old school black and red Mickey Mouse toiletries.)
Ever since then, H2O Plus products have been a defining scent of our vacations. The “turquoise flavor” still instantly transports me to staying at Saratoga Springs in 2007-2009, the “green flavor” is associated with our first stay at the Grand Californian. And so on. This is probably very inconsequential news to most normal people or even casual visitors, but it’s huge to us. Calling it the end of an era might seem hyperbolic–and probably is–but that’s a bit how this feels for us.
Ultimately, that’s precisely why the news of Walt Disney World’s bath products brand being retired is such “big” news despite being relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. It’s why so many other fans also stockpile these toiletries (if you thought it was frugality, you’ve missed the point–no one who can afford a $200+ hotel room can’t afford a $2 bottle of Suave). It’s also why it was such a big deal for so many when the switch was made to refillable dispensers.
The good news is that Walt Disney World and the other destinations will replace H2O Plus with different bath products (presumably–probably shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves with that assumption given recent penny-pinching) and that brand will have its own distinct smells (also presumably). It’ll take some time before nostalgia is formed around those new scents, but it will happen eventually. Here’s hoping they’re as good as the ones made by H2O Plus. Truly the end of an era…and hopefully the beginning of another!
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Will you miss the nostalgic scents of H2O+ bath products at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line? Is this the ‘end of an era’ for you…or is this inconsequential news? Are you a fan of H2O Plus, or ready for something different? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
So sad just another thing gone that was great at Disney…this is a huge disappointment to me and my kids! When I ran out of the lotion samples I spent a lot of money for a bottle of this just to remind me of Disney! When I have this on my kids say smells like Disney. Sounds so stupid but it is nostalgic to us and will be missed!
I loved some of the scents as did my daughter! Over the years, we both developed allergies to synthetic fragrance and sensitivity to strong scents. I’ve had to bring my own products for years. My extended family will definitely miss the products we brought home for them. Lol! I look forward to seeing what replaces the collection and seeing if they go with an essential oil based line instead.
I’d looooove if they switched to Kao and we got the Mickey dispensers around the resorts! Also, this may be a hot take, but I don’t really care why they switched to refillables. It should have happened regardless. Refillable is the future and should be the standard for anything where it is possible. Non-perishable gorceries? Refillable. Chemicals/cleaning products? Refillable. Toiletries? Refillable. Get as much packaging out of the equation as possible.
I wrote a similar commentary when it came to the “controversy” about reusable bags. The underlying motivation is immaterial to me, as the end result is a net positive.
With that said, paper straws are where I draw the line on environmentality. Utterly unusable and the difference they make is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Those seem more like a ‘signifier’ than a practical solution.
I use the reusable bags for gift wrapping now. And yes, it’s one more thing from WDW to collect.
Completely agree on paper straws. They SUCK!
Bottled water? Also completely unnecessary and a huge environmental issue compared to almost anything else. Now while it never used to bother me, over the last couple years I have begun to be less than thrilled about the character of Orlando area tap water. Since they are installing more and more of the filtered water bottle filling stations and any restaurant will give you a cup of filtered ice water for free, there’s no point in them selling hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles of water every day. Yes, we do buy it at home, but only to have on hand for emergency situations like the winterpocalypse of last year where we were without power or water for a week. Besides, there are no standards for that bottled water either, and they can literally just fill the bottles with municipal tap water and sell it…
Agreed – although we don’t buy bottled water mostly because it’s a colossal waste of money. Buy a high quality filter and you’re coming out ahead (and with better water) after only a few uses.
Disney needs to install more bottle refill stations. Don’t even get me started on that, though.
Oh, yeah. I keep expecting to hear about metal straws being banned by the parks or TSA because they could be used as a weapon. Theoretically…
I read a rumor elsewhere that Disney terminated the contract and that’s why H2O is closing–too much of their revenue was wrapped up with Disney. Not sure if there’s any evidence of that, but it would be an interesting twist.
While impossible to disprove or prove, that sounds more like an assumption by someone with an axe to grind and desire to shift the blame to Disney.
H2O is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a company that will remain in business–it’s basically a product line that’s being discontinued. If it were otherwise viable and the contract with Disney came to an end, it would make sense to keep producing it and selling on Amazon–take advantage of nostalgic Disney guests who want their “fix” of their favorite bath products brand.
Personally, I’d take the press release from Pola Orbis at face value. Likely nothing deeper to this than that.
Hm, I wonder if the Starcruiser specialty products will also disappear…
Oh Boo Disney! I also enjoyed the H2O+ line. We stayed at BLT in February and had the individual shampoos and conditioners. Couldn’t believe the prices when we investigated purchasing the products outside of Disney. Wowza!
I am shocked at how many people love these toiletries. I think they’re absolutely mediocre at best. Painful at worst. Does no one else have a problem with sea salt body wash on their privates? That’s just plain uncomfortable every time, leaving me mad I forgot I had to pack my own.
And the shampoo and conditioner are USELESS. I was really disappointed to be at a “Deluxe” hotel and find that it left my hair feeling the way it did. Universal’s toiletries are better! As is their in-park toilet paper 😀
I so agree with you! Will not miss them in the least, especially the Sea Marine line. Just hated the smell of the shampoo. Very medicinal, not what I want my hair to smell like.
Well I hate to break it to you, but a number of higher end hotels in the last year or so have products which seem more akin to the strong dandruff shampoos, with the tingling and strong odors… Argan Oil or something similar branding.
I’m really upset. I have them on subscription from Amazon and get new bottles every month! Now I have to go back to Bath and Body Works. Boo Hoo!!
One time I left a bar of the H2O soap at my daughter’s apartment and she said she walked in the bathroom and went “oh mom”!
She associated that nice Disney scent with me!
Thanks for the heads up; I had no idea!! Just placed an order on shopDisney. I love to pour the sea marine shampoo in my bath water whenever I want a relaxing soak in the tub. The scent is so soothing! I associate this brand with my Disney cruise because those tiny bottles with the character faces on them made me smile every time I used them. I also miss the individual bottles with the Mickey ears on them. Hoping Disney partners with a brand that is on par with H2O.
“I also miss the individual bottles with the Mickey ears on them.”
I’m guessing that cost slightly more to manufacture, so we won’t ever see them again.
Ha, we always bring our own toiletries but when they switched from the little bottles to the refillable large bottles strapped to the shower wall it definitely cheapened the atmosphere of the deluxe resort for us. Hopefully they bring back the small bottles (not likely).
Yup, there’s another Chapekening. I’m sure they’ll replace it with something that has all of the quality and charm that you might find in a Motel 6. My wife really loved the mint foot scrub.
Chapek isn’t the one retiring this third party brand, and he almost certainly will have nothing to do with picking the replacement.
I get the frustrations with Chapek, but he’s becoming the boogeyman for anything people don’t like. Might as well blame him for high gas prices and the McRib’s disappear while we’re at it!
And Chapek hasn’t even begun to get the hate that Eisner did. Eisner did some bad things, as all CEOs do, but he (along with the late Frank Wells) did help save the company from hostile takeovers twice. I’m more mad at Frank for doing dumb things like helicopter skiing that get you killed. If that hadn’t happened, I can only imagine how things could’ve improved…
While I take the toiletries from all hotels I stay in, I separate most of them out for donation to the Fisher House, etc while keeping the WDW ones for myself and guests.
Yes, I recall the crying when the bulk-refillable dispensers were added, people paranoid about folks adding other things to them or the laughable fear of virus or other contamination. For those who wanted more of them, you could refill small bottles to take home with you, such as all those 5 Hour Energy bottles you drink throughout the day…just rinse them out first!
Agreed, I expect the new brand to be at least somewhat unique to Disney, but fear it could be more generic and sad, like most of the resort refurbs have been.
“I recall the crying when the bulk-refillable dispensers were added, people paranoid about folks adding other things to them or the laughable fear of virus or other contamination.”
Oh man, I totally forgot about that until now.
I bite my tongue a lot, but do wonder how some people with crippling paranoia function in society.
I know, right? I really tried to be nice, but sometimes I couldn’t resist. Most of these dispensers have at least rudimentary childproof security features, and most people don’t travel with tools and most of those that do are not criminally inclined, so I never have worried about it.
Plus, if it’s soap or shampoo and you’re worried about viruses, well…it’s soap, a natural antibacterial and such.
Also I look at it this way. I don’t like spiders, but they are everywhere. Also not into eating bugs. So when I eat crab legs I have to just not think that I’m eating a large sea spider essentially, or that shrimp are like little sea cockroaches…
You’ll think it’s crying until you use shampoo that someone tampered with, than you’ll long for those little bottles. Countless stories of bad things done to these dispensers.
Bob you’ve given me just another reason to dread my up coming Disney vacation. I’d bring my own shampoo to be on the safe side but since I’m flying in on Delta and trying to get by with just a carry on and personal item bag I am very limited on the amount of toiletry items I’m allowed to have in my carry on. Its not only about the 60 dollar extra charge for checked luggage that I am angry about its the time it takes to wait for and pick up my checked bags from luggage claim now since the Mouse jerked Magical Express out from under us. Disney giveith and Disney taketh away. I loose about 45 extra minutes waiting for my luggage at the airport so I’m determined to get by with only my carry on and a back pack that is the exact measurements The Nazis, excuse me, Delta airlines, allows me to bring with me.
@Carol_E. don’t worry about it. Nothing like that has happened, and certainly not on Disney property. Bob just worries about getting too much fresh air or having a good time.
Oh, really? Let’s have some. Or even one actual report. I have yet to see a single news story about anything like that. You can’t go through life worried about any and every possible thing out there, my friend.
I did originally think that the refillable bath products were because Disney was trying to be more environmentally friendly. It isn’t surprising that no matter what they chose it would be controversial. We are big fans of the H2O+ line and have purchased them for our guest rooms, given them as gifts, etc. I would have thought that the refillable sizes would have encouraged more people to buy the products in regular sizes since they could no longer take the small ones home with them. Sadly, another good thing coming to an end.
To Disney’s credit, the company has done PLENTY of things in the name of environmentality that end up costing them more.
I think the change to refillable bath products was likely driven more by cost and convenience than environmentality, but both things can be true at once.
I agree with your assessment. If they continued with the small ones environmentalists wouldn’t be happy. It seems like Disney has become a target for numerous complaints (sort of like Chapek) and someone would be unhappy with their decision either way. This has to be environmentally better and cost effective too. We will all adjust just like we did when they discontinued the toiletries with Mickey on them.
I just got home from Disney World last night. My first time staying in a Disney hotel with the refillable dispenser, I was sad not to be able to restock my home supply after bringing home several individual-sized bottles per year for the last 10+ years! But the gift shop had the H2O brand shampoo, so I figured I’d just buy it… until they told me it was $41 for a small bottle! Guess I’ll stick to Herbal Essence at home and just get my Disney scent once a year when we visit. The H2O shampoo smell definitely makes me smile anytime I smell it and reminds me of Disney, I really hope they switch to a great-smelling brand and don’t just cut costs with a low end brand. Especially since Florida water is so drying, we need a shampoo and conditioner that really work!
Might want to check the shopDisney deals if you’re still interested. H2O stuff isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely less than $41/bottle right now.
That’s a shame. Since 2006 I knew I didn’t need to worry about packing those items due to how good the H20 line was. I am curious to see what the replacement will be and what we will be charged to use them.
I will absolutely miss the H2O+ products! Toiletries are one of my favourites parts of travel, especially in Asia where you often get toothbrushes and tiny tubes of toothpaste in your bathroom. I’m curious to see which brand Disney will partner with.
I’m sure it isn’t at all practical, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if the resorts started using bath products that smell like the lobbies?
Now that is a BRILLIANT idea!! Could we ever get that lucky with all of the unfavorable changes in the name of cutting costs? Here’s hoping…
i, too, have been surviving solely on my stockpile of various hotel toiletries. the end of an era.