Garden Grill has characters, but they visit behind a plexiglass that goes behind the tables. We went to Chef Mickey’s in December, and although the characters didn’t come close to each table to give hugs/high fives, they still interacted with each table and we were able to get selfies. Same with Hollywood and Vine character dining. CRT has cinderella come out and awkwardly wave from the side of the dining room. For us the character meals were worth it even with the less personal “meets” because there is no other way to see the characters in the parks besides cavalcades and from afar- which is even less personal. For our upcoming trip, we are trying to go the cheaper route, but also I was talked into trying to get a Topolino’s Terrace ADR by this group, just because saying hello to Mickey and Minnie is such a quintessential part of WDW… even if it is 6 feet away.
I hope this information helps with your decision