Names That Disney Made More Popular

September 02, 2021

Did you know that the popularity of some American baby names has been influenced by Disney movies? Check out these charts which show how the popularity of these names increased after the release of a Disney movie featuring a character with that name.

#1: Ariel

Disney Movie: The Little Mermaid (1989)

Originally a boy's name, Ariel is Hebrew for "Lion of God". Around 1980 it started to become a common name for girls, and then it exploded in popularity after the release of "The Little Mermaid" in 1989.

Thanks to the movie, some people have named their children Triton as well. Sebastian also got a huge bump. Sadly, the Social Security administration does not record any children named Flounder.

#2: Nala

Disney Movie: The Lion King (1994)

Nala is a Swahili word that means "gift". Before the release of "The Lion King" in 1994 there were only a tiny handful of people named Nala in the whole United States. Today there are more than four thousand.

Unfortunately, Simba has failed to catch on in the same way.

#3: Belle

Disney Movie: The Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Belle is a French word that means "beautiful". Once upon a time, Belle was one of the 100 most popular names for baby girls. Yet, by the 1980s, the name was considered very out-of-date. Only about 10 girls were named Belle each year. Disney's 1991 film "The Beauty and the Beast" plucked the name from obscurity and made it popular once again.

#4: Elsa

Disney Movie: Frozen (2013)

Disney's "Frozen" came out in 2013. The next year, the number of girls named Elsa more than doubled. It was a very brief spike, but I have a feeling there will be an Esla echo in ten years or so when girls who grew up watching the movie start having kids of their own.

#5: Mulan

Disney Movie: Mulan (1998)

There aren't a lot of girls named Mulan, but Disney's 1998 movie is responsible for most of them.

Fun fact: Mulan (木蘭) is Chinese for "magnolia".

#6: Bambi

Disney Movie: Bambi (1942)

Lest you think that only modern parents look to Disney for baby name inspiration...