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Disney profit boosted by theme park visitors, 'Frozen' toys

The water tank of The Walt Disney Co Studios is pictured in Burbank, California February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

By Lehar Maan and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) quarterly revenue and profit topped Wall Street estimates as visits to its theme parks rose and last year's animated film hit "Frozen" drove home video and toy sales.

Disney's shares rose 4.4 percent to $98.23 after the bell on Tuesday. The stock reached record highs in recent months as the company reported strong performances across its TV networks, theme parks and movie studio. Each of its five divisions reported higher operating income for the quarter.

Operating income at Disney's parks and resorts rose 20 percent to $805 million in the company's fiscal first quarter, ended Dec. 27, when more people visited its parks in the United States. They also spent more on tickets, merchandise, food and drinks.

Chief Executive Bob Iger told CNBC that there had been no discernable impact on parks from a measles outbreak that health officials have said began at Disneyland in Anaheim in December.

Disney now plans to open its Shanghai Disneyland theme park in the spring of 2016, Iger told analysts. The company had earlier set a target of a late 2015 opening but decided to add attractions to the park, a $5.5 billion joint venture with China's state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group.

"Frozen" toys sold particularly well during the holiday shopping quarter, leading Disney's consumer products division to a profit of $626 million, a 46 percent increase from a year earlier.

Disney's movie studio recorded a 33 percent jump in profit, driven by an increase in DVD sales. Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Frozen" and "Maleficent" sold well, the company said.

Disney said the studio also profited from lower home entertainment production and distribution costs in the quarter.

Profit at the company's biggest unit, cable networks, fell 2 percent, hurt by higher programming and production costs and lower advertising revenue at its sports channel, ESPN.

Net income attributable to Walt Disney rose to $2.18 billion, or $1.27 per share, in the first quarter, from $1.84 billion, or $1.03 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.27 per share.

Revenue rose 8.8 percent to $13.39 billion from $12.31 billion.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.07 per share on revenue of $12.87 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting By Lehar Maan in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in New York; Editing by Peter Henderson, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Robin Paxton and Steve Orlofsky)