The Walt Disney Co posted a 26 percent lower profit on Thursday as the global economic woes pulled down operating profits by double digits at its powerhouse media networks and theme parks.

The third-quarter profit result was in line with Wall Street expectations, but revenue missed, and Disney's share price dropped 3.5 percent in after-hours trade.

Still, the 19 percent decline in park profits compared favorably with last quarter's 50 percent decline, and cable networks were pushed lower by a shift in revenue recognition at ESPN, rather than pure weakness in the advertising market, Disney officials said.

Net income was $954 million, or 51 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 27, compared with $1.3 billion, or 66 cents a share, in the year-ago third quarter.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $8.59 billion from $9.24 billion a year ago. That was below analysts' average forecast of revenue of $8.84 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of Disney dropped to $25.30 after closing at $26.22 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Disney shares rose 31 percent in its third fiscal quarter.

(Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Gary Hill)