As vice president, Global Public Relations for Disney Destinations, Craig Dezern directs the consumer public relations work for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment, a $10 billion family vacation business that spans three continents and includes five world-class vacation destinations, a top-rated family cruise line and a guided vacation business.
Based in Celebration, Fla., Dezern sets the strategic direction for teams around the world, with a goal of driving positive exposure about the Disney guest experience in all media, whether traditional, online or social.
Dezern joined the Walt Disney World Public Relations team in 1996, just in time to lead preparations for the Park’s 25th anniversary. He was promoted to Director, Walt Disney World Media Relations and PR Events in 2001, and took his present role as vice president, Global Public Relations Disney Destinations in 2005. He has overseen strategic PR plans for yearlong celebrations of Walt Disney’s birth and the 60th anniversary of Disneyland; the opening of major attractions, such as Star Tours at Walt Disney World Resort and Tower of Terror at Disneyland Paris Resort; and classic PR stunts such as celebrating the star of the Super Bowl in the long-running “I’m Going to Disney World!” campaign, setting a world record with a 16-foot-tall Cinderella Castle made of theme park tickets, sailing a Pirate Mickey junk into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, and swearing in a thousand new U.S. citizens during a ceremony on Main Street, U.S.A in the Magic Kingdom.
Under Dezern’s leadership, the Disney Parks PR team has broken new ground in consumer engagement through social media. Among the initiatives: a Walt Disney World Moms Panel that dispenses unfiltered C2C advice; the first official blog to bear the Disney name (disneyparksblog.com); and a Social Media Moms Celebration attended by hundreds of the most influential moms online.
Before joining Disney, Dezern was a national award-winning journalist for The Orlando Sentinel, earning accolades for feature writing (American Society of Newspaper Editors, Society of Professional Journalists), environmental reporting (Scripps-Howard Meeman Award) and public service (Associated Press Managing Editors). He also served on the Sentinel editorial board and edited the Sunday commentary section.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Dezern earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University, with a major in journalism and English. In 1992, Dezern was a journalism fellow at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn., earning a Master of Studies in Law.
Dezern lives in Orlando with his wife, Cheryl, and three children.