Oldest Living Graduate of Bethune-Cookman University Visits Disney To Celebrate Her 106th Birthday


March 18, 2024

Magnolia Jackson had a birthday wish come true when she was able to visit Walt Disney World for the first time ever to celebrate her 106th birthday! 

Jackson developed a love for all things Disney after seeing Mickey Mouse perform as a drum major during the halftime show at the Florida Classic college football game last Fall. She had never been to Disney World even though she is a lifelong Florida resident and the oldest living graduate of Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU located in nearby Daytona Beach. On March 13, a day before her 106th birthday, Walt Disney World Resort made her wish come true and spirited Jackson away for a birthday celebration in the Most Magical Place on Earth. 

Surrounded by family and friends and plenty of balloons, Jackson blew out the candles on her birthday cake, then took a tour of the Magic Kingdom, where she saw the iconic Cinderella castle and was greeted by park staff, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse. She spent some time with Princess Tiana, Disney’s first African American princess, and got a sneak peek at the upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction ahead of its Summer 2024 opening.  After that, she was off to EPCOT, where she embraced her lifelong love of gardening by attending the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.


Before she fell in love with Disney, Jackson held a lifelong passion for education. She spent 40 years as an educator and is credited with inspiring countless students as well as teachers in underserved communities. At her alma mater, Jackson even had the opportunity to meet the school’s founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune herself, a former advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a celebrated Civil Rights activist. 

After a lifetime of service, Disney was able to give Jackson a birthday fit for a princess. 

Cover photo: Oldest Living Graduate of Bethune-Cookman University Visits Disney To Celebrate Her 106th Birthday / Photo credit: Walt Disney World Resort


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