The big bet on Disney ahead of earnings

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Tragic Kingdom? The big bet against Disney

One trader is placing a big bet that Walt Disney, the best performing stock in the Dow Jones industrial average this year, will see some pain when it reports earnings after the bell Tuesday.

As the stock saw six times its average daily options volume on Monday, one trader bought 8,500 August 115-strike put contracts at 68 cents, expecting the stock to fall more than 5 percent by Aug. 21. This is a $578,000 bet on serious short-term downside for the popular stock, and may well have been put on to hedge a big position.

"Maybe it's a holder looking for disaster protection and they think it's cheap in the options market," Dan Nathan of RiskReversal.com said Monday on CNBC's "Fast Money." "[The stock]'s kind of expensive here, so maybe just some cheap protection against a long [position] that's worked."

Options prices imply that the stock will move 3 percent on earnings, according to Nathan. Disney shares have moved an average of 2.5 percent on earnings over the last four quarters.

Read More Disney's earnings projections looking magical

In a research note Monday, Stifel Nicolaus equity derivative strategist Brian Donlin also recommended using options to hedge risk.

"We believe valuation and FX headwinds present an opportunity to use options to hedge DIS in the context of a risk adjusted portfolio," Donlin wrote.

Analyst expectations for Disney's report on Tuesday are for revenue growth of 6 percent and earnings growth of 11 percent.

Read More Analyst: Here's why the force is with Disney