A Pointless Exercise in Disney-ism

Yesterday I took an “ebb day,” a day to relax and do nothing but self-care. I slept in until noon. When I woke up, I poked around on the computer a little bit. As I was playing on Pinterest, I saw a list of 51 Disney Baby Names for Girls. For some reason, as I looked at some of the names, I became incensed…I mean sure, you expect Elsa, Ariel, and Aurora…but Maleficent, really? Silvermist? Vanellope? And while most of them were from animated feature films, two were from Enchanted (which was mostly live action) and one was from a Disney Jr. show (Sofia the First). I don’t know why this hodge-podge bothered me so much, but it did. So for some reason, I spent the rest of the day compiling my own list.

I kept it to three classic Disney characters, and the rest were from animated feature films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios or Pixar. Some were popular names in obscure films (like Olivia from the Great Mouse Detective or Amelia from Treasure Planet) and some are obscure names from the most treasured movies (like Dory in Finding Nemo and Ursula in The Little Mermaid). There are old-fashioned names (Edna, The Incredibles) and blatantly modern ones (Riley, In and Out).

They’re all (in my unimaginative opinion) real names. I found  along the way that I’m not the only one that has a traditional view of names. In 2016, of all girls born in the U.S., 67% shared names from the list of the 1000 most popular that year. So only 23% had one of the tens of thousands of other names chosen that year. Of course I really shouldn’t make any judgements on that count. Hey, my kids are named Elizabeth, #9 from her birth year (2000) and James, #17 in 2004.

I did take a more creative approach when it came to who belonged to the name, besides people and animals, I’ve included a tree, a car, and a couple of robots.

I’ve always been fascinated by names. As a kid, I would read baby name books for fun and make lists. I’m still not completely sure why I’m sharing this list of 53 baby names (or grown-up names for that matter), but here it is in chronological order…

Starting with Disney’s classic stock characters:

Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle

Minnie Mouse (first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928), Daisy Duck (first appeared in Mr. Duck Steps Out in 1940) , and Clarabelle Cow (first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928)

Then 50 characters from animated feature films:


Anastasia Tremain (Cinderella, 1950)


Alice (Alice in Wonderland,1951)


Wendy Darling (Peter Pan,1953)

Aurora and Flora

Princess Aurora and Flora (Sleeping Beauty,1959)


Marie (The Aristocats,1970)


Maid Marian (Robin Hood,1973)


Miss Bianca (The Rescuers,1977)


Penny (The Rescuers, 1977), Penny (Bolt, 2008)


Olivia Flaversham (The Great Mouse Detective, 1986)


Rita (Oliver and Company, 1988)

Ariel and Ursula

Ariel and Ursula the Sea Witch (The LIttle Mermaid, 1989)


Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)


Princess Jasmine (Aladdin, 1992)


Nala (The Lion King, 1994)


Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas, 1995)


Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996)


Meg/Megara (Hercules, 1997)

Jane and Kala

Jand and Kala (Tarzan, 1999)


Jessie (Toy Story 2, 1999 and Toy Story 3, 2010)


Audrey Rocio Ramirez (Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 2001)

Celia and Roz

Celia Mae and Roz (Monsters, Inc., 2001)


Captain Amelia (Treasure Planet, 2002)


Lilo (Lilo & Stitch, 2002)


Dory (Finding Nemo, 2003 and Finding Dory, 2016)


Maggie (Home on the Range, 2004)

Edna, Helen, and Violet

Edna E. Mode, Helen Parr/Elastigirl, Violet Parr (The Incredibles, 2004)


Sally Carrera (Cars, 2006, Cars 2, 2001 and Cars 3, 2007)


Doris (Meet the Robinsons, 2007)


Colette (Ratatouille, 2007)


E.V.E (WALL-E, 2008)

Tiana and Charlotte

Tiana and Charlotte La Bouff (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)


Ellie (Up, 2009)


Bonnie (Toy Story 3, 2010)

Merida and Elinor

Merida and Elinor (Brave, 2012)

Anna  and Elsa

Anna and Elsa (Frozen, 2013)


Honey Lemon (Big Hero 6, 2014)

Joy and Riley

Joy and Riley (Inside Out, 2015)


Judy Hopps (Zootopia, 2016)


Destiny (Finding Dory, 2016)


Moana (Moana, 2016)


And just to prove that yes,  I’m just that much of a name geek, here is the list in order by popularity for girls born in the U.S. in 2016:

Olivia (#2) Charlotte (#7) Amelia (#11) Riley (#22) Audrey (#39) Ellie (#43) Violet (#47) Anna (#51) Aurora (#66) Alice (#76) Willow (#96) Jasmine (#122) Ariel (#140) Daisy (#190) Anastasia (#193) Destiny (#203) Maggie (#242) Jane (#280) Joy (#351) Bianca (#386) Helen (#408) Eve (#456) Colette (#469) Marie (#583) Elsa (#623) Tiana (#628)  Jessie (#643) Penny (#693) Nala (#783) Celia (#838) Wendy (#854) Bonnie (#896) Belle (#934) Sally (#1178) Rita (#1184) Marian (#1215) Flora (#1261) Elinor (#1370) Judy (#1537) Doris (#1762) Merida (#1966) Edna (#2335) Minnie (#2662) Moana (#2973) Honey (#3234) Clarabelle (#4265) Ursula (#4764) Kala (#4888) Lilo (#4888) Esmeralda (#5495) Roz (#6009) Meg (#6486) Dory (# 15,174)

While there weren’t too many surprises for me right at the top, I was surprised at how high Jane came in. And while they weren’t the most popular, I didn’t expect other old-fashioned names like Doris and Edna too do so well. Even though it’s a nickname, I would have guessed that Meg would rank higher than Clarabelle  and Moana. Even so, it was still listed ahead of Dory at the bottom of the list.

And OMG! Maleficent came in at 15, 499 in 2015 (couldn’t find any stats from 2016), just behind Fauna (another character from Sleeping Beauty) at 15, 354. Vanellope was at #3282 (that came in ahead of Ursula and Esmerelda – names I had actually heard of) in 2016. Sorry, no Silvermist

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