Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) needs no introduction. The entertainment powerhouse reports earnings Tuesday night. This Fool is wearing mouse ears under the jingly cap today to help you get the picture.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? Twenty-five analysts follow the Mouse. Thirteen want to buy what he's selling, and the other 12 are holding out for better days, but there are no sell recommendations. In our Motley Fool CAPS investor database, Disney's a four-star stock, based on more than 1,400 user ratings.

  • Revenue. The average forecast says $8.13 billion, barely budging from the year-ago $8.03 billion.

  • Earnings. The Wall Street consensus points to about $0.38 per share, nearly flat from the $0.37 produced last year. Keep in mind that the target range covers a lot of ground, between $0.32 and $0.47 per share.

What management says:
In the last earnings call, CFO Tom Staggs highlighted the importance of Disney's movies above all else. "Any discussion of the quarter has to start with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Cars," he said. "The success of the Cars and Pirates films is tremendous, but the benefits that these franchises will continue to deliver to the entire company and the Disney brand well into the future is the real value creation story."

Hold that thought.

What management does:
Oh my, this is a pretty picture. I dare say that the inflection point is close to Bob Iger's ascension to the CEO seat. But wait -- there's more!

Margins

10/2005

12/2005

4/2006

7/2006

9/2006

12/2006

Gross

14.0%

14.1%

14.3%

15.4%

17.1%

18.4%

Operating

15.6%

15.6%

15.7%

16.8%

18.5%

19.7%

Net

7.9%

8.0%

8.2%

8.9%

9.8%

12.3%

FCF/Revenue

7.7%

9.4%

11.8%

10.8%

13.9%

13.2%

The takeoff here is a bit delayed, but still a thing of beauty.

YOY Growth

10/2005

12/2005

4/2006

7/2006

9/2006

12/2006

Revenue

3.9%

4.1%

2.6%

4.7%

7.3%

9.4%

Earnings

9.6%

11.7%

9.3%

12.6%

31.3%

65.9%

All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
I'm reminded of a couple of key points when I look at those gorgeous growth and margin trends.

First, we still haven't seen much impact from the Pixar acquisition. As animated features with a touch of bouncy-desk-lamp genius make their way into theaters, the foundation of the company itself firms up. Everything at the House of Mouse starts with great characters and great stories, which then keep us coming back to the movie theater, the DVD stores, theme parks, hotels, cruises, and all the rest.

And there's no question in my mind that Mssrs. Bird, Lasseter, et al, will have a massive impact on the movie quality. Meet the Robinsons was by most accounts the first instance of their influence, and head and shoulders above recent Disney fare like Chicken Little or The Wild. Bambi II, anyone? Didn't think so.

Second, this is an entertainment company explicitly treating piracy like another competitor, and meeting it with the tools of the market -- not with a deluge of lawsuits and other questionable tactics of oppression. Stop one pirate, and a thousand others crowd in to board the ship. But give the prospective pirate legal, usable, and revenue-producing alternatives to swashbuckling raids, and most will do the right thing. How novel!

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation, by way of the original Pixar pick. The Gardner brothers still believe in the stock, and a free 30-day trial pass can show you why.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Disney shareholder -- another converted Pixar owner -- but holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure stays with you to infinity -- and beyond!