I have to agree with you on the deserts in France at Epcot. There were four of us late for our bus because of the line there back when I was in HS, which was I think the second year Epcot was open. I'm sure it's still just as drool worthy.
You can also get that Thanksgiving dinner (or you used to) at Liberty Tree Tavern. How much better or worse it is than Holiday World I do not know.
But I really agree with your idea of the kinetics of making the food or certain foods that have a reputation. I miss the beaver tails at Canada for example.
The one I do not really agree with is changing the menu up between Lunch and Dinner. Case in point: the Blue Bayou which only carries its very famous Monte Cristo Sandwich at Lunch and Bruno's Porkchop at Cinderella's Royal Table which is only at Dinner (and the best thing on a pretty iffy menu). I get your point, but some places are just known for their stuff.
Here is my list of things I think of at the parks (some don't exsist anymore):
Magic Kingdom: Dole Whip and Turkey LegsEPCOT: Cheddar Cheese Soup, Beaver Tails, Red Bean Ice CreamDHS: Mom's MeatloafSFGA: Funnel CakesBusch Parks: DA Brats! (Gotta go with the midwestern thing!)AK: Peanut Crusted Chicken
They will even cut up the apple for you and then pour caramel and nuts ontop! Then they wrap it up for our trip home.
I have never had a caramel apple so fresh and so delish!:PIt's under 2$ for that and it's very worth it!
And while Disney, Universal and Busch do many of the things I've suggested, even they could do them more consistently.
I understand there may be a higher cost to operate a store within a park (or airport), and I don't mind paying a small premium for food I know, but doubling the price keeps me from purchasing the food. I'll leave early and stop at the Skyline Chili restaurant about a mile from the park on the way home.
Drinks are even more outrageously priced than food at $3-4 for a soft drink or $7-8 for a beer. I'll bring a water bottle and fill it up all day. If prices were more in line with what I can purchase outside the park, I would be spending a lot more at the park.
On another note, I avoid like the plague purchasing the all-you-can-drink souvenir cups at Six Flags. The reason being is that some rides will not allow storage of personal items (except shoes) on the loading dock, but rather require that all such items be stowed away in a rental locker, which are located at the entrance to the queue house. While purchasing the cup seems like a good deal on a hot summer day, the deal becomes not-so-good when you have to spend $2 on a locker for storage of your cup every time you get on certain rides. This is nickel-and-diming at its worst and no doubt hurts the sales (and value) of purchasing a souvenir cup.
These places need to focus not just on the people who pick a dining plan, but on those who want a quick meal. Offer more places to go and more variety. People will spend money if they perceive that they will get value for their dollar and not have to wait in line to get food.