The 'bean counters' at WDW also provide much more free entertainment in the parks than at other Disney properties. I agree that maintenance is a problem, among others, but I am not sure why you are bitter about Disney Dining: it is either popular or not, but nobody has to dine out at all; there are many counter service options with no reservations. If it is popular, that's because Disney has made their dining into a 'destination.'
The fact is that a value resort customer can get free transportation from the airport plus all the benefits of staying onsite. A pretty good deal I'd say.
As fas as MK feeling like a shopping mall.... the walkways are roomier (no 'wall of strollers' come at you like at DL) and the castle is a lot bigger and more impressive.