Pixar baby namesPixar baby names come from the movies the game-changing studio has produced since its founding in 1986.

Most of the names on this list are from the twenty-first century, meaning that they’re Disney-Pixar baby names, from movies that debuted after the long-time storytelling giant paired up with the innovative new studio.

Some have clearly influenced parents; others played a small part in the rise of a popular name. And a few have yet to catch on – but could be the next big thing.

Interestingly, names from traditional Disney legend and lore seem less likely to spark trends.

Maybe it’s because they’ve been around forever – Mickey Mouse and Daisy Duck are household names, after all.

Or possibly it’s because they’re borrowed from existing stories. Peter Pan and Wendy, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Pocahontas were all part of our collective imagination long before they became Disney characters.

Still, Disney names do offer a little bit of extra pixie dust. From Lion King’s Nala to Frozen’s Elsa, we recognize them as part of the stories everybody knows. Pixar baby names are part of that tradition. After all, today’s parents grew up with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, just as much as they did Aladdin and Tiana and The Little Mermaid. And a few, like Ariel and Jasmine, have made an impact.

Elemental, the twenty-seventh feature-length film from the studio, debuted in the summer of 2023.

So let’s take a look at Pixar girl names and boy names we’re hearing on the playgrounds – and a few that could be next.

ARLO (2015)

Current US popularity rank: #169

What would you name a friendly apatosaurus? Disney-Pixar went with Arlo for 2015’s The Good Dinosaur. While it wasn’t a mega-hit like many a Pixar movie, it helped the already-rising Arlo climb in use. Credit also goes to the name’s friendly, upbeat sound, an alternative to other popular picks like Milo and Leo. But the timing suggests that the adventures of Arlo, and his eventual transformation from the runt of the litter to selfless hero – played a part, too.

BONNIE (2010 and 2019)

Current US popularity rank: #529

Toy Story kick-started Pixar’s reign as a movie-making giant. But the names of the original movie’s characters, like Woody and Buzz, haven’t caught on – yet. But how ’bout Bonnie? In Toy Story 3, she’s the young girl who rescues Woody while the rest of the toys end up at Sunnyside Daycare. After much adventure, most of the toys make a new home with Bonnie. The 2010 movie bumped the sweet vintage nickname in use a bit, bringing it back into the US Top 1000. Toy Story 4 debuted in 2019, adding more to the story of Bonnie and her toys.

COLETTE (2007)

Current US popularity rank: #448

Ratatouille gave us a gourmet rat, but little Remy needed human help to make his kitchen work. Alfredo Linguini is the hapless kitchen assistant who serves as Remy’s hands. Colette Tatou is a talented chef who advocates for Linguini – and plays an important part in the story’s happily ever after.

COCO (2017)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Coco centers around Dia de los Muertos – a Mexican holiday related to All Saints’ Day – and a young boy’s dreams of becoming a musician. The boy is named Miguel; Coco is his great-grandmother. She plays a critical role in the story. in fact, it’s Coco’s story that ultimately explains much of Miguel’s family history. The name has gained steadily in use, and we do love our girl names ending in -o. It also brings to mind an earlier Disney heroine: Liloof Lilo and Stitch. 

DASH (2004 and 2018)

Current US popularity rank: #827

In 2004, we met The Incredibles, a family of former superhero parents Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, and kids who didn’t know they weren’t regular kids. In the movie, Dash is the fast-moving middle child and his full name is Dashiell. But just Dash ranks in the current US Top 1000, a former rarity that rose sharply following the movie’s 2004 release. Some of it has to do with our affection for word names, and some of it is down to sound – Cash and Nash also feature in the US Top 1000, along with Asher and Ashton. But the numbers show that Pixar played a part, too.

DOT (1998)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

In 1998, Pixar’s sophomore effort, A Bug’s Life, followed Toy Story to theaters. It’s the story of an aging Queen Ant, her daughter Princess Atta, and the bumbling Flik who hires a team of circus performer bugs to defend Atta’s ant colony. Dot is the younger sister to Princess Atta. It’s a mini name in every sense of the word, and seldom bestowed independently. But it’s also a nickname for storybook Dorothy – or possibly the related Theodora – two classics enjoying newfound popularity.

ELLIE (2009)

Current US popularity rank: #33

Ellie ranked in the US Top 200 before we ever met the curmudgeonly Carl of Up and his beloved, adventurous wifeGiven the popularity of so many El- names, it’s tough to attribute the rise in Ellie solely to the 2009 Pixar film. And yet, there’s no question Ellie gained in use, doubling from 2008 to 2014. The movie details the love story between Carl and Ellie Fredricksen, and while it is sad, it’s also deeply moving. The character’s name came from director Pete Docter’s daughter – who voiced the daring child Ellie in the movie. In her case, it’s short for Elizabeth.

EMBER (2023)

Current US popularity rank: #160

The twenty-seventh Pixar film takes us to a world populated by nature’s elements. Fiery Ember Lumen and watery Wade Ripple meet in a world where elements aren’t supposed to mix. Elemental is an all-new story, featuring plenty of nature-themed character names. Besides Ember and Wade, there’s Brook, Gale, and Fern – to name a few.  

EVE (2008)

Current US popularity rank: #554

2008’s WALL-E was a love story – and an environmental cautionary tale with a hopeful ending. WALL-E is a Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class; Eve is an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator. From such unlikely beginnings, an outer-space adventure and timeless tale of possibility emerges. While Eve isn’t particularly popular as a girl’s name, it’s worth noting that the Ev- names – including Evelyn, Everly, and Evagneline – all gained in popularity in the years immediately following.

HANK (2016)

Current US popularity rank: #445

Finding Dory brought back many of our favorite Finding Nemo characters, but we also met plenty of new aquatic friends. Hank reluctantly helps Dory when she arrives at the Marine Life Institute. He’s an octopus – or maybe a septopus, as he’s missing a tentacle. Hank is kind of a grouch, but he helps Dory escape, and eventually reunite with her family and friends on the reef – and then joins them in the ocean. Other character names, like Destiny and Bailey, were more popular back when the first Finding Nemo movie debuted. Hank, though, enjoyed a tiny boost from the movie’s success, but it’s tough to gauge. Why? Hank is often short for the mega-popular Henry, and the data on how many Henrys are sometimes Hank doesn’t exist.

JOY (2015)

Current US popularity rank: #467

Inside Out debuted in the summer of 2015, and we all fell in love with Joy, the emotion at the center of young Riley’s brain. Voiced by Amy Poehler, the movie tells the story of Riley’s move from Minnesota to San Francisco, and her struggles to grow up and find her place in her new hometown. Along with Up, it’s one of the more emotional of the Disney-Pixar movies, and one that seems less likely to inspire sequels and spin-offs. But it has encouraged parents to embrace Pixar baby names. Already popular Riley rocketed up the charts, reaching the Top 25, following Inside Out’s release. And Joy briefly rose in use, too. Though for now, this brief and upbeat name remains quietly underused.

LAKE (2023)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

A relatively minor character in 2023’s Elemental, Lake might still make a splash. It’s an obvious nature name choice in our era of River and Ocean. Lake is also the studio’s first acknowledged non-binary character. Lake is Wade Ripple’s sibling, and like Wade, is made of water, with wavy – literally! – hair.

LUCA (2021)

Current US popularity rank: #28

The Italian form of classic and enduring Luke, Luca has been gaining in use for years. That’s down to our love of vowel-ending names for boys. Just ask the parents of Elijah and Noah, Mateo and Giovanni, Dakota and Kai. Names that once felt a little too different are now exactly different enough. But it’s possible that a recent Disney-Pixar character will this name a boost. 2021’s Luca introduced us to a timid, 12 year old sea monster, dreaming of life on land.

MEI (2022)

Current US popularity rank: unranked, Mae is #510

Turning Red introduces us to Mei, a 13 year old girl with a very unusual reaction to strong emotions. She transforms into a red panda. Turns out the panda-transformation glitch is a family heirloom of sorts. Mei is pronounced like Mae, but it’s not related. The character is Chinese-Canadian, and her name means beautiful. Well, actually, her full name is Meilin Lee, and the compound name can have multiple meanings.

MERIDA (2012)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Most Disney princesses aren’t Pixar heroines. But 2007’s Brave gave us Merida, a Scottish princess and skilled archer, too. But this is the Middle Ages, and so Merida is expected to marry. She’d rather not. Adventure follows, but Merida ultimately saves the day. Despite the character’s considerable appeal, this is one of those Pixar girl names that has never caught on – though it’s more common now than prior to 2012.

REMY (2007)

Current US popularity rank: #356 for boys; #601 for girls

In 2007, we met Remy, a rat who loved great food. The star of Ratatouille seems like strange inspiration for a child’s name, but there’s no question about the link. Seldom heard in the US prior to 2007, it rose steadily for boys and girls following the movie’s release. Remy brought along longer names, too, like surname name Remington. While there’s no talk of a Ratatouille sequel, an amusement park ride recently opened at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, modeled on a popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. At this point, Remy has momentum beyond the Pixar character.

RUSSELL (2009)

Current US popularity rank: #374

Another name from Up, Russell is the oh-so-helpful Wilderness Explorer scout who, along with his pet dog Dug, ultimately joins Carl on his adventures. Surname name Russell appeared in the US Top 100 from the 1890s through the 1980s, making it a traditional pick that feels just a little dated today – but might be worth a second look. As for Dug, he’s among the Disney tradition of talking dogs, in the key of 1955’s Lady and the Tramp and 1981’s The Fox and the Hound … only Dug can talk to humans, thanks to his translator collar. The spelling of Dug’s name brings to mind dashing Douglas. Like Russell, it’s a traditional choice that’s long been overlooked.

SALLY (2006 and 2017)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

1930s favorite Sally usually brings to mind another animated character: Charlie Brown’s little sister. But in 2006’s Cars, we met Sally, a blue Porsche. She’s a lawyer who left behind Los Angeles to settle in sleepy Radiator Springs, where she operates the Cozy Cone Motel. (And, of course, eventually helps Lightning McQueen find his way to true greatness.) She’s loyal, fearless, and very smart. So far, the movie hasn’t increased the name’s use – but she’d make a great role model. If you love Molly and Sadie, but want something less popular for a baby girl, Sally belongs on your list.

SULLIVAN (2001 and 2013)

Current US popularity rank: #365

Monsters, Inc. featured just one human character – a girl called Boo. But it also starred John Goodman as a furry blue monster known by the very human name James P. Sullivan. Most of his fellow monsters, including BFF Mike Wazowski, call him Sulley. The movie debuted in 2004, just two years after Sullivan entered the US Top 1000. Since then, we’ve enjoyed 2013 prequel Monsters University, again featuring Sulley – and the name has gained in use. Credit goes to our preference for longer boy names, but also – at least in part – to the Pixar flicks.

WADE (2023)

Current US popularity rank: #346

The other main character in Elemental, Wade has potential. Not only is it a nature-adjacent name in the key of River and Ocean, but it’s an action verb like Chase. But Wade also has a certain amount of Old West swagger. In fact, Yellowstone prequel 1883 includes a character called Wade.

WOODY (1995)

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Perhaps the best known Pixar character of them all, Sheriff Woody is the linchpin of the long-running Toy Story franchise, the head toy who leads his team so capably, from one household to another and ultimately on a life-changing road trip. Chances are that most of today’s parents have seen at least one of the movies. Despite that, Woody remains rare among baby boy names.

What are your favorite Pixar baby names? Would you consider any of these for a child? What would you add to the list?

First published November 17, 2017, this post was revised substantially and re-posted on March 8, 2022; July 14, 2022; June 8, 2023; and September 25, 2023.

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About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. In the Chinese version of the movie Turning Red, the Chinese characters of Meilin is 美蓮, with Lin (蓮) meaning lotus or water Lily.

  2. I love reading the long list of “production babies” at the end of the credits of Pixar films. Creative folks choose a lot of great baby names!

  3. The only movie in which I’ve ever encountered someone with my name is a Pixar one. The character? The freaked-out babysitter in the Incredibles, unfortunately. 🙂