Ariel, Belle, Mulan: Baby names from Disney movies

Disney has put out nearly fifty animated feature films, and many of these films have ended up popularizing particular baby names.

The best example of this is Ariel, which was only able to rank among the top 100 U.S. baby names in 1990, 1991 and 1992 — no doubt due to the success of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (released in November of 1989).

Esmeralda may have also been assisted by Disney. It was already on its way up in terms of popularity, but seemed to peak early in the years following the release of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Here are 25 Disney character names that might also make good baby names:

AliAladdin (1992)
AliceAlice in Wonderland (1951)
ArielThe Little Mermaid (1989)
AuroraSleeping Beauty (1959)
BagheeraThe Jungle Book (1967)
BasilThe Great Mouse Detective (1986)
BelleBeauty and the Beast (1991)
BernardThe Rescuers (1977)
BiancaThe Rescuers (1977)
EricThe Little Mermaid (1989)
EsmeraldaThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
JasmineAladdin (1992)
KalaTarzan (1999)
KenaiBrother Bear (2003)
LiloLilo & Stitch (2002)
MulanMulan (1998)
NalaThe Lion King (1994)
OliverOliver & Company (1988)
PeterPeter Pan (1953)
PhilipSleeping Beauty (1959)
SebastianThe Little Mermaid (1989)
SimbaThe Lion King (1994)
TaranThe Black Cauldron (1985)
TodThe Fox and the Hound (1981)
WendyPeter Pan (1953)

5 thoughts on “Ariel, Belle, Mulan: Baby names from Disney movies

  1. I’ve always thought Ariel sounds like a pretty name and so does Belle but Simba would have my quietly chuckling. I would feel sorry for anyone carryint that name.

  2. I love Ariel as a girl’s name, but I think of the spirit in the Tempest, not The Little Mermaid, when I hear it. I just couldn’t bear to watch Disney’s perky version of the sad sad story.

  3. When I hear Miranda or Ophelia, I think Shakespeare…but the Disney association is just too strong for me to think of anything but The Little Mermaid when I hear Ariel.

  4. I love Ariel as a girl’s name as well. When I hear the name Ariel (and pronounced in english as ‘air-ee-ul’), I think of it’s original meaning: an Angel. The name Ariel may have entered into popular culture because Disney chose it for it’s little mermaid, but it is actually a biblical name from the old testament with great meaning. Most people know that Michael and Gabriel are names of archangels, so is Ariel. Ariel is known as the Angel of healing and the Angel of new beginnings.

    I also think of the movie Footloose (long before the little mermaid came out) when I hear the name Ariel. It was classic movie from the eighties, with a gorgeous young woman named Ariel.

  5. I’m a pre-Disney Esmeralda (and not in America). I was named for my mother, and it is a common name in Portugal, where I am from. When I see Ariel I think of the Jewish male name not the Disney (i.e. Ariel Sharon, former leader of Israel).

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