Disney (NYSE:DIS) has long been known for its box office movies and media networks, but the real driver of the company outperforming rivals is its theme parks. These parks create a waterfall effect, allowing Disney to generate revenue from the box office, home theater, toy sales, TV networks, and finally, theme parks. In fact, this is Disney's second-biggest business behind networks.

Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL) and Comcast's (UNKNOWN:CMCSK.DL) NBC Universal just don't have the same exposure to these downstream profit generators as Disney. Long term, this is how Disney can buy franchises like Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, staying ahead in the race to build the next great characters. 

Erin Miller sat down with Fool contributor Travis Hoium to see how big a deal this theme park business is to Disney.