Nameberry Picks: Twelve Best Disney Names

In early Disney cartoons, characters had silly, alliterative names like Horace Horsefeather, and Clarabelle Cow. The first character name to actually catch on with parents was Bambi–a male deer that became a popular namesake for girls. More recently, the real winners have been Princess names: The Little Mermaid’s Ariel reached #66 on the popularity lists two years after the movie’s release and Jasmine from Aladdin has gotten as high as #23.  Other Disney heroine names, like Belle (Beauty and the Beast) have also been boosted by their Disney connections.

Here are nameberry’s top picks of Disney  names that move beyond Nemo and Nala:

Adelaide—The dramatic Madame Adelaide Bonfamille is one of the few human characters in The Aristocats. When actress Rachel Griffiths picked the name for her daughter, she said she’d been inspired by the Australian city, Miss Adelaide in Guys & Dolls and, yes, the Disney character.

AuroraAurora was the name of the princess in the 1959 Sleeping Beauty, but is only now rising in popularity. In ancient mythology, Aurora was the lovely Roman goddess of the dawn, whose tears turned into the morning dew. In the Disney film, her alternate name was Briar Rose, a combination sometimes adopted by modern parents.

Bianca –Miss Bianca was an elegant mouse (voiced by Eva Gabor) in the 1977 The Rescuer. The Italian version of Blanche, this still somewhat exotic name was brought to prominence by the first Mrs. Mick Jagger, and features in two Shakespeare plays. Actress Tia Carrere chose it for her daughter.

Eudora – This name of Tiana’s mother in Princess and the Frog, who was voiced by Oprah Winfrey, is one Old Lady Name that hasn’t yet been revived, but certainly could, along with others like others like Amelia and Adeline. It was long associated with Southern writer Eudora Welty.

Flynn Rider is the dashing bandit who eventually marries Rapunzel in Tangled. At one point it is revealed that his real name Eugene—not the coolest of names.  But Flynn (think Errol) is a charming Irish surname name with a lot of the appeal of the popular Finn.

Gideon—Though Gideon may be a crafty villain in Pinocchio, his name has quite the opposite image.  In the Old Testament Gideon was both a judge and military leader of the Israelites, and his name is one of those rising on the Biblical popularity list.

JasperJasper Badun (his surname tells it all) was one of Cruella De Vil’s henchmen in 101 Dalmatians, but that hasn’t hurt the name any: It’s jumped over one hundred places in the last year. Along with being the name of one of the Three Wise Men, Jasper is also a reddish semiprecious stone.

Lilo is the spunky young Hawaiian girl protagonist of Lilo & Stitch. This is an energetic name found in the Hawaiian, German and Hebrew cultures—and is also the nickname of Lindsay Lohan.

Milo has leading roles the in two Disney Atlantis films: The Lost Empire and Milo’s Return. A jaunty Anglo-Irish import, also with ties to ancient Greece, Milo is a favorite with celebrities that is rising in popularity.

ThaddeusJ. Thaddeus Toad is the hero of the Wind in the Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad—an incurable, idiosyncratic adventurer. Thaddeus is a distinguished, long-neglected appellation with a solid New Testament legacy and a nice antique feel.

ThaliaIn the Disney film Hercules, Thalia plays her classic role as the Muse of Comedy—she is also one of the Three Graces and a poetic Muse. This is a pretty Greek name, meaning “to flourish,”  that is underused in this country.

Willow—The character Grandmother Willow is in fact an actual weeping willow tree, who serves as a wise advisor to the heroine of Pocahontas. The name Willow has lost its old hippie aura to move into the realm of re-appreciated nature names, helped along by the high profile of Willow Smith.

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ANNOUNCING A GREAT NEW FEATURE!!

We’ve all enjoyed the wit and wisdom of Abby (Appellation Mountain) Sandel as displayed on her site and in the many guests blogs she’s written for nameberry–well now she will be appearing here on a regular basis.  Starting this week, Abby will be presenting her round-up and thoughts on the week’s naming news every Monday.  We’re very excited to welcome her!

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35 Responses to “Nameberry Picks: Twelve Best Disney Names”

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AnnaMarie Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 3:45 am

Yay Abby!

Jennie Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 3:53 am

In the original Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, her name is Rosamond. LOVE.

I remember that I loved the name Penny growing up for two reasons: Inspector Gadget and The Rescuers. Kind of a sad movie, but I really liked the name. (Also I wanted Inspector Gadget Penny’s calculator book so badly that I used to have dreams about it!) 🙂

Persephone Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 5:30 am

I actually bear a grudge against Disney for forever ruining the wonderful name of Ursula. I wouldn’t let it stop me from using it but people’s predictable reactions “Oh you mean the witch from The Little Mermaid? Ewwww!” to it are so tiresome.

Kim W Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 7:13 am

Congratulations, Abby! Looking forward to Mondays!

sadiesadie Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 9:05 am

I love Disney movie names. I love Sebastian from the little mermaid! My nieces name is Ariana and I always thought that that could be a Disney name.

Lola Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oh, Penny’s a favorite because of the Rescuers too! I like Bianca too. I also much prefer Sleeping Beauty’s original name, Rosamond, as pointed out above. Aurora gives me fits, it’s hard to say, especially for kids under 6!
And Congratulations Abby! You’ve given me a reason to look forward to Mondays! Huzzah Abby! 🙂

Livi Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 9:32 am

I couldn’t help noticing that Pocahontas is misspelled up there…
Anyway, I was so happy to see this as a blog post, as I’m a huge Disney fan. I also like Faline (or Falina).

Livi Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 9:43 am

Oh, and I just remembered – Evangeline, Charlotte, Ray(mond), and Louis are all good names from Princess and the Frog!

linda Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 11:57 am

Thanks, Livi–it’s been corrected.

Robyn Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Has anyone else noticed how much Disney is loving on the name “Flynn” right now? Besides being the name of the character in “Tangled” as mentioned above, the name is also currently in use on the Disney Channel shows “Phineas and Ferb” (as part of the kid’s surname “Flynn-Fletcher”) and “Shake It Up” (Cece’s little brother is named “Flynn”). And now it also appears in the film “Tron” (surname of character, “Sam Flynn”). I really like the name, it just seems to be getting a bit repetitive with Disney, in my opinion.

Out of curiousity, does the film “Tangled” make “Rapunzel” any more accessible or useable for anyone? Or is it a name that should continue to stay in the realm of Fairy?

Thanks for a great blog!

Lisa Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

My then 4.5 year old son wanted to name his baby sister “Sleeping Beauty Aurora {last name}” (didn’t do that)…

Whitney Gigandet Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It’s live-action and not an original Disney flick, but their “Chronicles of Narnia” movies made me fall hard for Caspian.

Em Says:

January 14th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Aladdin and Peter are my favorites. Peter I would (will) use as a first name. Aladdin I’m not sure about. Could it be used as a first or should it stay in the middle?

Saranel Says:

January 15th, 2011 at 2:53 am

@Robyn I also have harbored a secret crush on the name Rapunzel. I doubt it will ever go mainstream but I have told my brother & sister that if they end up using Hazel I will be calling her Zel.

pdxlibrarian Says:

January 16th, 2011 at 10:18 am

Bianca was actually one of my first name crushes because of the Rescuers. As a kid watching the movie, it struck me as very lyrical and exotic.

Nephele Says:

January 16th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Robyn asked: “Out of curiousity, does the film “Tangled” make “Rapunzel” any more accessible or useable for anyone? Or is it a name that should continue to stay in the realm of Fairy?”

Robyn, it’s very likely that we may see some instances of the name “Rapunzel” being used as a name on account of the Disney movie. It wouldn’t be the first time that a beloved American icon (such as Disney) made “Rapunzel” a likely baby name.

For the year 1959, the U.S. Social Security Administration reported a total of nine baby girls who had been given the name of “Rapunzel.” In the 130-year span of SSA name reporting (1880 through 2009), this was the only year that the name “Rapunzel” appears in the available records a a name given to baby girls.

So, what was going on in the U.S. around that time, to influence some parents to name their baby girls “Rapunzel”? Well, on October 27th, 1958, the highly rated television series Shirley Temple’s Storybook broadcast the episode titled “Rapunzel.” Shirley Temple (like Disney, another beloved American icon) had already been a huge influence on American culture for many years. Clearly, the charm of Ms. Temple’s narration of that story, and the character of Rapunzel herself, must have struck a responsive chord in nine mothers-to-be.

linda Says:

January 16th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Excellent analysis, as always, Nephele! Personally, I would be surprised to see a great many Rapunzels–but you never know.

Nephele Says:

January 16th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Thanks, Linda! I agree with you — it’ll certainly be a surprise to see as many Rapunzels generated from this Disney movie as we had Ariels from The Little Mermaid. But we may get at least nine. 🙂

I happen to personally know a set of parents who named their baby daughter “Ariel,” who was born around the time that Disney movie came out– and it was because the father was totally besotted with Ariel in the movie.

Claire Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 1:11 am

If Cinderella can catch on as a name (and it’s true, I’ve heard of a few) there’s no reason why Rapunzel couldn’t.

Sunday Summary: 1/16/10 | Appellation Mountain Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 7:20 am

[…] back to Finn – Nameberry mentioned Flynn in their 12 Best Disney Names list.  One of the comments mentioned that Disney has been using Flynn constantly in recent years.  […]

Megan Says:

January 18th, 2011 at 1:05 am

I love the name Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron… I still can’t believe she isn’t considered one of the Disney Princesses!

Starbaby News: Welcome Flynn | Appellation Mountain Says:

January 19th, 2011 at 12:00 am

[…] all the talk of Flynn here and elsewhere, it seems almost inevitable that it would turn up in Hollywood.  It really couldn’t be a […]

Demi Says:

May 20th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I love Flynn Rider. If I ever had twin boys I probably would name them Flynn Rider and Maksim Alexander (or something like that). The only thing I would be afraid of is if Maks would get made fun of because it’s so close to Maximus.

Eliza Says:

July 7th, 2011 at 12:58 am

I would name my daughter Rapunzel, although I have a classic name style. Ariel, Ursula, Aurora, and Bianca are big favs. I agree with Persephone about Ursula.

Megan Ashley Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I’ve been a fan of Disney movies as far back as I can remember. My all-time favorite is Hercules, because I love Greek mythology. I think Megara nn Meg, the name of Hercules’ love interest, should’ve been on this list! She’s awesome! If, of course, you can forget what the real myth says. I’d name my future daughter Megara if it weren’t for the fact that my name’s Megan!
And where’s Lilo (Lilo and Stitch)?

Amethyst Says:

July 23rd, 2011 at 2:49 am

I am 14 weeks pregnant, if we have a girl we would love to name her Rapunzel (Zel for short). I am sure we would get a lot of negative feedback, but I just don’t see how that’s fair! I went to school with two Ariels, 3 Jasmines and an Aurora, so why not a Rapunzel??

Rory Says:

August 9th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

My faves from Disney movies are………….

– Aurora

-Jasmine

-Tiana

– Belle

-Willow

-Nala

– Rose (Briar Rose)

MaeBear24 Says:

April 6th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Oliver (from Oliver and Company)
Christopher (as in Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh)
Todd (the fox in Fox and the Hound)
Georgette (Oliver and Company)
Kala (Tarzan)
Marian (Robin Hood)

Haili73 Says:

June 25th, 2012 at 11:59 am

@Sadiesadie If I’m not mistaken, Ariana could easily be one of Ariel’s sisters… have to re-watch that movie now…
@Amethyst- we had a cat named Rapunzel- she was named for the Barbie version because of her paintbrush tail, and we called her Punzie. However adorable the name Rapunzel is, I think it works best as a pet name, or if you must, a middle name. I suppose you could also use Rae as a nickname.

I love Briar Rose and Belle, though Belle is pretty trendy right now with the Isabelles and Bellas. Maybe by the time I have kids it won’t be so popular. Otherwise, Belle’s a gorgeous middle name and isn’t as boring as Ann, Marie, or Lynn. I always liked that my middle name was Christine and not Rose…

I also love Briar for a boy- as in Briar Moss and Prince Briarre (from books-Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic and “The House on Falling Star Hill”) Jasper’s a favorite, too…

Haili73 Says:

June 25th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I also know an Aurora- it fits her very well, and I don’t think it’s too weird, just hard to say sometimes.

Mara_lyn86 Says:

July 25th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Favorites from this list:
Aurora- Family name, too trendy now
Bianca
Eudora
Flynn- He was awesome. I wouldn’t use it though because of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr.
Thalia

Others:
Belle- My great grandmother’s middle name. Maybe one of my kids can use it when the Twilight phase is long gone.
Flora
Rosetta- One of the fairies with tinker bell.
Annette
Bruno- Awesome name for a dog
Dinah
Figaro- Would never use, but would love to name a cat this just because he was funny
Giselle
Louis
Oliver
Otto
Pearl
Phillip

jazz1509 Says:

October 14th, 2012 at 7:23 am

I’m really surprised Belle and Jasmine didn’t make the list!

EmilyVA Says:

January 14th, 2013 at 12:12 am

Mickey (Mouse)
Donald (Duck)
and
Daisy (Duck)
are my favorite Disney names.

Barbie Games What’s hot today Says:

October 17th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Here is more about Barbie…

Barbie is my dream doll…

Honoring a Rainbow Baby – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

August 15th, 2017 at 10:45 pm

[…] as being full of joy, and long before we ever suspected our story would end this way. Selecting a Disney character name could remind us of the special time we did have with our angel. Perhaps Ariel, Flynn, or the unisex […]

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