One good thing has come out of it though. Ever since the various dining plans have ruined the on-site dining experience for us, we have ventured further afield for dinner and found some fabulous restaurants outside WDW, many of which are a darned sight less expensive also.
the DDP worked out cost wise when we stayed in OKW in 2011 as they also gave 40% off.
Free dining was an awesome deal for us when it first cane out. We would stay at Pop and were able to get the regular dining plan without an up charge. We could stay for a week with 2 adults and 2 teens, buy a 1 day base ticket for less than $1000. Now it's a 2 day ticket and about $2300. Not a good value for us any longer.
I loved free dining I went to many restaurants and had some great meals and did not have to worry about the cost
The free dining was/is a great discount for us, I think it was less than 2,500 for 7nights,tickets and food for the four of us in August. If they do away with free dining I would be more inclined to stay and eat off property. I would also split my time between US and WDW. When the kids were younger I felt like we needed to be on property to have that 24 hour magical feeling but now that they are older I'm okay to stay off property.
It definitely is a big seller. If I had a big family, I would probably use it more.
Personally I think Disney could have come up with better ideas than giving away food to draw people in. One thing I like about dining at Disney is that I generally don't have to worry about having too much to drink and then driving back "home". However, the menus are starting to get boring with practically every restaurant offering the same items.
if they do get rid of the free dining do you think people will buy it out of pocket because from my calculations you'd have to eat the most expensive things at the most expensive restaurants to get your monies worth. And if people don't buy it will the restaurants have less people eating at them- i certainly wouldn't pay a lot of the prices and therefore go out of business or would they reduce their prices meaning more people that didn't have the dining plan would eat there?