they are doing it to supplement lower attendance than they'd like in what has been a pretty awful travel environment for the last 5 years... and they are doing it to make sure that the discretionary spending during a trip for your average vacationer goes almost exclusively to giftshops...where the profit margins are off the chart. everybody still shows up with a "piggy bank" to spend while they're there...even if the up front cost with a paid dining plan is much higher... but its higher months or even years in advance...not at the time of the trip. and the dial resets. That is the evil genius behind the dining plan. they've haven't been able to implement it fully because that pesky "free dining" is still around and cuts into the cash a little...but if they manage to eliminate it and still get most people to bite on the dining plan - i would bet that aggregate spending for the average vacation will probably be up somewhere at or above 20% from what their pre-dining plan levels were... Operation Vulcan has commenced!