I saw the commercials for the first game on TV when I was 11 or 12, and thought it looked awesome because of the Disney characters, but since I didn't have a PS2 (the only game systems I had were Gameboys) I couldn't buy it and forgot about it. The I saw a commercial for Chain of Memories a few years later and got excited since I actually had a GBA. So I bought it, but one of the boss fights was way too hard for me (I think it was one of the Repliku fights) so I ragequit and never went back to it. Then when KH2 came out I saw the commercials and thought "this looks amazing." There was some interview with the voice actors (I think I saw it on AOL or something) that I saw with my brother and I got interested in the series again. My brother and I came up with this plan to raise money for our "Kingdom Hearts Fund," where we basically did all these odd jobs (helping our grandpa with gardening, babysitting, etc. for cash). Then, when we were finally so freakin' close he decides to pull out at the last minute to buy something else (I wish I could remember what was so "important").
So now I was down half the money and it was about the middle of July. I didn't want my whole summer to go by with no Kingdom Hearts, and once school started I knew my mom wouldn't want me playing it every day. Then I remembered: I had a crapload of birthday money stashed away somewhere in my room. So I basically turned my room inside out looking for it and then I finally found it. It was enough for the system and the first game. I think my mom was impressed by my dedication, because she said she'd get me the second one as an early birthday present. So we drove the next day to Gamestop (I think?) and bought a used PS2 and the two Kingdom Hearts games. My brother wanted to play it but I told him he'd have to wait until I finished >
I let him watch the cutscenes with me though.
I played and adored the first two games. The first one felt...magical, I guess. It was my first console RPG, as well as my introduction to Final Fantasy. I thought the FF characters were so cool and badass. After I beat the games I bought used copies of the Final Fantasy games, and loved them all (except VIII). Although I can easily see its flaws now, I thought KH2 was amazing when I first played it. The gameplay was fun, the camera wasn't crap, and I loved Org XIII and thought there was a lot of moral ambiguity (which of course is no longer an issue since DDD >_>)
This series will always have a special place in my heart. If you see me criticize the series, know that I do so out of love.