16:00 PM

Buckle Your Seat Belt and Enjoy the Ride!

“Buckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride” is a motto many people live by; but no one I have ever met has lived this motto more than Nick Pantalone.

I think that life is measured in moments and in all the people you meet and influence along the course of your life. Some lives, sadly, end much too soon. Nick Pantalone was one of those people; his life ended at the young age of 19 following a bout with a rare form of cancer.

But, that’s the sad part of the story. The wonderful, amazing and uplifting part of Nick’s story is how he chose to live his short life and the number of people he touched along his journey.

As the youngest of five children, Nick was the only Pantalone sibling who was not “into” sports and athletics. Instead he choose the path of music, drama and theme parks. Theme parks?

Yes, the love of theme parks began at Kennywood park in Pittsburgh where his first ride on Jack Rabbit roller coaster and those moments of air time started his life-long love of all things amusement parks, especially roller coasters.

At age 12, Nick was planning his amusement park empire, building models of coasters and rides in the family basement, and creating Excel spreadsheets of the costs.

Living near Hersheypark was an opportunity for Nick, whose father drove him to a gas station near the Park to watch construction of a roller coaster. Later, at age 14, Nick got his first job at the Park where he would become one of the youngest ride supervisors in the Park’s history.

His enthusiasm for his job and the roller coasters almost matched his enthusiasm for living his life. Nick’s energy and love of the job influenced the entire Park Ride Operations Team during his time at the Park.

All of us at Hersheypark who met Nick feel blessed to have been touched by his passion for life and his beautiful, undaunted spirit.

Our local ABC affiliate devoted an entire 30-minute special edition of "Good Day PA!" to Nick, his family and his legacy:


On behalf of all of us at Hersheypark, please remember Nick.

Remember him in your good times but, also, in your bad times. He was always there for all of us--- with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. “Enjoy the ride!”