It was a rough quarter for Disney (NYSE:DIS), but it could have been worse.

The company on Tuesday night posted uninspiring numbers. Revenue fell by 7% to $8.1 billion compared with the same quarter last year, as earnings before charges fell by 26% on a per-share basis to $0.43. Free cash flow took a 40% dive, coming in at $1.3 billion.

The arrows are all pointing down, but analysts figured that Disney would earn just $0.40 a share for its fiscal second quarter. In short, it's a stinker on an absolute basis, but a welcome surprise on a relative basis.

Beyond Disney's cable operations, business slipped throughout most of the company's key segments. Let's look at the revenue and operating income performances of the five main subsidiaries.

 

Revenue

Operating Income

Media Networks

2%

(4%)

Parks and Resorts

(12%)

(50%)

Studio Entertainment

(21%)

(97%)

Consumer Products

9%

(24%)

Interactive Media

(17%)

(2%)

Media was the most stable performer, as a small drop in the company's ad-sensitive broadcasting business was offset by the strength of its steadier subscriber-based cable properties. As long as cash-strapped cable and satellite television subscribers don't begin canceling their accounts -- something that we saw at DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) last year -- this should continue to be a steady producer.

Disney's theme parks were going to take a hit. For starters, the busy Easter travel season took place in April this year, so it will be part of the company's third-quarter results. The holiday was in late March last year. Disney has also been battling the "staycation" mind-set by offering ridiculous deals to fill up its resorts and keep its turnstiles clicking. That is going to leave a mark on operating profits, naturally.

The studio entertainment arm can be faulted for putting out lousy theatrical releases like Bedtime Stories and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Bolt and High School Musical 3 came out on DVD, but it clearly wasn't enough.

The top-line improvement at the company's merchandising arm is an illusion. Children's Place (NASDAQ:PLCE) handed back the emaciated Disney Store chain last year, so it helped boost revenue at the expense of dinging operating profits.

The revenue slide in the company's interactive division is a bit of a surprise, but it's just another cruel reminder that just because video game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) and software leader Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) are growing, it doesn't mean that all developers are doing well.

In sum, it's hard to chastise a company that managed to drum up $1.3 billion in free cash flow during three of the most painful months in this recession. Analysts don't see a turnaround at Disney until next year, but the stock is also essentially trading where it was five years ago.

A lot has happened in that time, like High School Musical, Hannah Montana, and the turnstile recovery at Animal Kingdom.

The company isn't standing still, even if it appears as though its stock might have been.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can usually be found at Walt Disney World. Not today, though. He does own shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.