We had several character meals at Disney, but with the exception of our dinner at The Royal Table (hello, Cinderella's castle!), they were mostly with big stuffed animal characters who couldn't talk. Not that they weren't fun, but my kids were just a tad old to be in awe of them.
I think the general idea is that Disney has characters everywhere, and you meet and greet all the time out on the street. That was definitely not our experience - there were characters available, but there were very long lines to go along with them.
On Friday morning we were surprised to run into Mary Poppins as we walked into Magic Kingdom, and she was spectacular. It was like we had the real live Mary Poppins walk off the movie screen into our world. She was beautiful, so engaged with the kids, and full of cute little Mary Poppins quips.
(he did not stick around for a hug)
my favorite :)
We had several more character experiences later on: Cinderella's stepmother was awesome; Elsa and Anna were pretty outstanding as well; Belle was beautiful. But Mary Poppins was the first character that made me really dig Disney.