I used a character pan to make this Scooby-Doo cake. And I have to tell you, this is a lot of work!
Making the cake part...easy, peasy. But the decorating... Zoinks! I wouldn't want to do this again, not even for a million scooby-snacks!
I think I got carpal tunnel on my wrist having to constantly squeeze out the little blossoms of icing all over the cake. It was really exhausting. And it was frustrating having to make different colors of icing. I changed the design and color on Scooby's dog collar because I was not interested in making more colors. The kids didn't seem to notice at all.
I can imagine for a person who doesn't really bake or usually make their own birthday cakes, that choosing a character birthday pan would seem easier and cheaper than buying the same cake from a bakery, but to me, it isn't really worth it. Cake supplies, buying the pan, making icing and don't forget all the (wo)man hours to complete it. I would also say, I hate having to "draw or color between the lines". So these character pans are definitely not for me.
I would rather free-style my cakes, like my monster truck cake, construction scene cake or dump truck cake. Less variety of colored icing can be made, little toys can be used to decorate the cake and mistakes/imperfections are less visible or easily covered up in comparison to a character pan cake.
Plus, you got free reign to do what you want! Let the creativity flow!
But, that's just my opinion. No two jinkies about it, I'm sticking with my own homemade designs.