Wall Street Watch: Disney's Turnstiles Are Clicking Faster Than Its Studios

Mickey Mouse Disney Earnings
Mickey Mouse Disney Earnings

Disney (DIS) is still benefiting from vacationers flocking to its global chain of theme parks. Even so, the family entertainment giant posted mixed quarterly results after Thursday's market close.

Revenue climbed just 3% to $42.3 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, but net income soared 18%. But perhaps the most surprising nugget for Disney is that, of its five segments, theme parks continue to be its fastest growing segment.

Disney's parks and resorts posted a 9% uptick in revenue for the quarter and a 10% boost for the entire fiscal year. It was the fastest growing division at Disney for both the quarter and the entire fiscal year.

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Those assuming that Disney's ESPN-led networks, movies studios, interactive software, or consumer products divisions would be leading the way in terms of top-line growth now just look goofy -- or Goofy.

Despite Disney's beefy investments in expanding its theme park attractions and fortifying its fleet of cruise ships, operating profits actually soared 22% for the recently concluded fiscal 2012. With the New Fantasyland expansion in the Magic Kingdom set to officially open in a few weeks, investors are hoping that they will be the ones living happily ever after.

Other Things Worth Watching

• Zipcar (ZIP) is putting the pedal to the metal. The country's leading auto-sharing service continues to woo drivers that prefer hassle-free car rentals over the high costs of automobile ownership. Revenue climbed by a better than expected 15% in its latest quarter, and its user based expanded 18% to 767,000 members. Zipcar's profit of $0.10 a share sped past the $0.01 a share that the pros were targeting. Despite what may be a challenging fourth quarter given the company's strong northeastern presence, Zipcar is still raising its revenue, earnings, and adjusted EBITDA guidance for all of 2012.

• Priceline.com (PCLN) is learning to paddle. The "name your own price" travel portal turned heads on Thursday night by announcing a deal to acquire Kayak Software (KYAK). The $1.8 billion purchase will nab Priceline the popular website that sifts through various websites to offer the best fares and rates for hotels, flights, car rentals, and other travel services. Wonder where they'll go on their honeymoon?

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Disney and Zipcar. The Motley Fool owns shares of Zipcar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zipcar, priceline.com, and Walt Disney.

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