Like many U.K visitors to Orlando I tend to stay for ten to fourteen days, meaning whilst I will be spending time at WDW I'll also be going to Universal, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and other attractions, meaning on a number of days my dining plan will be wasted as I'm not on-site.
If you are doing a Disney only trip and plan on eating onsite, it really can save money.
BUT, there are two problems associated with the plan.
1. Due to so many people eating at the restaurants due to the plan, many of the restaurant menus are becoming too similar and food quality is suffering.
2. While the gratuity and app went away, the cost has gone up significantly.
I voted "tried it and would recommend it" but with the caveat that my recommendation is to try it once -- then compare your actual receipts to what you would have paid OoP. Add that to your hotel bill, and compare it to what your trip would have cost had you taken advantage of available discounted lodging. This will give you the data you need to decide if the "free dining" option actually works for you.
In our case, we used four of our six TSs to enjoy the premium experiences of the Candlelight Processional Package and the Fantasmic! Dinner Package during our latest visit, along with the delightful all-you-care-to-consume dinners at the Biergarten and Liberty Tree Tavern.
All in all, it's nice not having to worry about what to order, as everything but lobster is available using the plan, but with the elimination of the gratuity from the plan, and the price increases over the past few years (along with the elimination of the breakfast "dessert" option which we used to acquire extra drinks at counter service breakfast locations), the regular Dining Plan is much less attractive to us than it used to be. That, and the ubiquitous nature of the offer means that unless you're willing to eat at the lesser venues, you pretty much have to plan all your meals 180 days prior to arrival and secure Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) to ensure you'll be seated within a reasonable window of expectation for those meals. (Caveat -- As in other aspects of theme park attendance, "reservation" doesn't have the same meaning in Disney-controlled restaurants that it has in the real world -- ADRs don't guarantee a set time for seating, they only guarantee you'll get the next available table, after you check in, after your ADR time, which can mean waits of several minutes to half-an-hour. Some horror stories I've read online about miscues at the more popular venues include waits of up to 90 minutes -- but who would do *that* in the real world???)
So, again, as I suggested -- try it and see for yourself.
So do I recommend it, yes, because it allows you really eat good quality items.
I can totally see how a dining plan would be a good thing for people with different needs and wants. That's the cool thing about Disney -- there's something for everyone!