Disney Girl Names: The Next Generation
By Abby Sandel
The live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continues to dominate at the box office. The 1991 animated version is a classic; it looks like the update is every bit as loved.
There’s one question on our minds, of course: will the movie’s success impact names?
And why not? The Disney cinematic universe is huge, including Pixar, as well as the successful Star Wars and Avengers franchises. Plus, a movie isn’t just a movie in their world. It’s a line of merchandise, a theme park ride, and, potentially, sequel after sequel. The big screen blockbusters get most of the attention, but Disney Channel movies and original series can be every bit as influential, too.
Let’s take a look at nine Disney-inspired girl names we might hear much more of in the next few years.
Belle – Here’s a curious fact: even as Isabella reached the top spot in the US, and parents embraced Annabelle, too, we somehow overlooked Belle. The name last appeared in the US Top 1000 back in the 1930s. That makes Belle familiar and rare at once. Every bit as spare as Sloane or Mae, but as effortlessly pretty as Lily, Belle could be the next breakout star of Disney baby names.
Carina – Pirates of the Caribbean has given us the unforgettable Jack Sparrow. The fifth installment of the series introduces Carina, an aspiring astronomer. Her quest intersects with Jack’s latest adventure in this summer’s Dead Men Tell No Tales. In Latin, Carina refers to the keel of a ship. A constellation by the name is said to be the keel of Jason’s ship, the Argo. That ties this name to the ocean, but also makes it a sister to night sky names like Stella and Luna.
Coco – In 2004, Courteney Cox gave her nickname to daughter Coco. Since then, the fashionable name has slowly risen in use. Now the next offering from Pixar Animations Studios is titled Coco. It’s not clear if Coco is a single character. We know the story focuses on aspiring musician Miguel. We’ll have to wait until November 2017 to learn more – and to see if parents embrace this short, stylish name.
Elena – Maybe the newest example of Disney naming influences comes from the small screen. Elena of Avalor debuted as a Disney Channel series in 2016. Elena is the first Latina princess in the pantheon. The Spanish and Italian form of Helen was already racing up charts in the US. A popular princess could take this name to the top.
Nakia – Chadwick Boseman first appeared as the Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. He’ll headline his own Avengers movie next year. Lupita Nyong’o will co-star as Nakia, a special forces member and love interest for the superhero. Nakia means pure in Arabic. Nyong’o is a Disney veteran – she’s had roles in the live action remake of The Jungle Book as well as the new Star Wars movies.
Rey – Speaking of Star Wars, how can we overlook Rey? Played by Daisy Ridley, the character is at the center of the new trilogy. Rey is one of many short names favored in the Star Wars universe – there’s also Finn, Hux, Poe, and Rogue One’s Jyn. We might see more parents embrace Rey, but with spellings including Rae, Ray, and Raye to choose from, it might be tougher to guess how many were inspired by the fearless heroine.
Trixie – We met Trixie in Toy Story 3. The plastic triceratops returns in the fourth installment of the franchise that started it all for Pixar. Due out in 2019, Toy Story 4 brings back Woody and Buzz, too. But Trixie seems like it could be a name on the verge. Beatrice and Beatrix continue to trend, plus we love nickname names like Sadie and Elsie. And if you think an animated dinosaur makes for unlikely inspiration? Well, tell that to Arlo.
Uma – If you have school-aged kids, there’s a good chance you know all about The Descendants. In 2015, we met the teenaged children of classic Disney villains, thanks to the Disney Channel movie. We’ll meet a new crew this summer, including Uma, daughter of sea witch Ursula. It fits right in with Ava and Mia, Lucy and Ruby. The Descendants’ Uma is a fierce, blue-haired pirate. Actress Uma Thurman has owned her unusual Sanskrit name, but a Disney character might help parents see it in a different light.
Valkyrie – November’s Thor: Ragnarok introduces us to another comic book character, Valkyrie. In Norse myth, Valkyrie is a term rather than a given name. In fact, the character was also known as Brunnhilde in the comics. But the movie seems to call her just Valkyrie. If it seems an unlikely choice for a child’s name, remember that over 1,000 girls have been named Khaleesi since Game of Thrones’ 2011 debut.
Do any of these names appeal to you? What are your favorite Disney-inspired names for a daughter?
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on March 27th, 2017 at 1:38 am
Mmkay, but where’s Moana on this list, yo?
That said, I love Carina, and Rey is sweet though I think I’d only ever use it as a nickname rather than a stand-alone.
Favorite (animated) Disney-inspired names (boys and girls):
Rajah, Cassim (Aladdin & Aladdin 3)
Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
Esmeralda, Zephyr (The Hunchback of Notre Dame & 2)
Violet (The Incredibles)
Shanti (The Jungle Book)
Wendy, Tiger Lily (Peter Pan)
Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)
Elsa, Kristoff (Frozen)
Olivia, Toby (The Great Mouse Detective)
on March 27th, 2017 at 3:44 am
Favorite Disney-inspired names:
Snow (although Disney isn’t my reason for loving this name; I like it because of snow in New York)
William (nn Will)
Dashiell (nn Dash)
on March 27th, 2017 at 4:30 am
Where is Moana? Tiana is my favorite princess so it would be my favorite Disney related name too.
on March 27th, 2017 at 10:05 am
I know of a real life little girl named Valkyrie Rose. I thought it was stunning when I heard it, but it didn’t occur to me they might have been influenced by comics/movies. I’m in Minnesota so we have a lot of Norse influence already.
on March 27th, 2017 at 12:20 pm
I’ve never understood people naming their children after Disney characters. Having a name used by a Disney character is enough reason for me to take a name off my list. Arielle is a name I’ve liked for a long time but feel I could never use because, well, she’s a mermaid.
on March 27th, 2017 at 12:40 pm
I’ve always loved Elena because a family friend (and my godmother) is my “Auntie” Elena. Can’t use it because it’s too close to the name of our daughter, Elise.
I knew a Carina in high school who was an exchange student; I like that name, too.
on March 28th, 2017 at 11:29 am
Belle is on my list to use 🙂 I’ve always loved it! And Belle is my favorite Disney Princess.
Elena and Rey are very cool.
I also have been really liking Moana!
Ella is my 2nd favorite, since it is inspired by Cinderella.
And I do like Ariel, Aurora and Elsa.
Violet is lovely as well.
For boys I like
Eugene, Flynn, Ryder and Maximus (All from Tangled)
Oliver, Arlo, Dashiell (Dash), Cassian, Anakin and Clayton
on March 29th, 2017 at 4:07 am
I think Valkyrie is extremely useful in terms of sound. It’s almost Valerie-with-an-added-k, and the Kyrie-part of the name seems familiar enough through the Kyrie-prayer and its closeness to Kira.
on March 29th, 2017 at 3:44 pm
Rey has been on my naming radar since I was twelve, because my grandfather’s middle name was Reyes. Now, every time I mention that name to someone, they bring up Star Wars. It’s actually made me pretty wary of using it…
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