Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that third-quarter profit rose 9 percent as traffic at its theme parks as well as increased ad revenues from its ESPN network helped the company weather the tough U.S. economy.


Disney reported net income of $1.28 billion (66 cents per share), up 8.5 percent from $1.18 billion (57 cents) in the same periods a year earlier. Wall Street was expecting a profit of 61 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.


Revenues for the Burbank-based entertainment company grew 2 percent to $9.24 billion, which also beat analysts' expectations of $9.1 billion.


Sales at Disney's parks and resorts grew 5 percent to $3.04 billion and the company added that room rates were rising even as hotel bookings at its parks resorts were flat in the quarter.


Sales at Disney's media networks grew 8 percent to $4.12 billion, as ad revenue at ESPN grew more than 10 percent, the company said in a statement.


Disney's movie revenue plunged 19 percent to $1.43 billion after "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" made $140 million in the U.S an underwhelming performance versus last year's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which took in $309 million.


Disney's consumer products division saw a 20 percent jump in revenue to $642 million, thanks mainly to the acquisition of 225 Disney Stores from The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. earlier this year.


Shares in Disney closed up 2.4 percent to $31.67 but quickly lost 2.6 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday.


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