LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Fans of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival “premium events” can get the party started even before the 45-day festival kicks off. At the First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29, 2011 — the eve of the festival start — Chef Keegan Gerhard of The Food Network will chat with guests during a culinary demonstration that includes a taste of his featured dish. During the 6:30-9 p.m. event, guests can preview epicurean samplings from international marketplaces along with wines and other beverages to be served throughout the Sept. 30-Nov. 13 festival. Entertainment will include pop diva Taylor Dayne. Once the festival is fully underway, here are some special events guests can enjoy via advance reservation: Fridays beginning Sept. 30, 2011, the new Kitchen Memories event features a three-course lunch by a celebrated chef demonstrating preparation of an appetizer, main course and dessert. A winery representative pairs each course with a special wine during the 10 a.m.-noon events. Throughout October and into mid-November, guests can travel to Asia Mondays (Tokyo Dining, Japan pavilion) or Africa Tuesdays (Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco pavilion) for the festival’s popular Food & Wine Pairings. From 3:30-5 p.m., event hosts will present three regional wines paired with three tasting-size portions of cuisine. Wrapping a day at the festival with a sweet ending is easy to do at “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on designated Fridays at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Participants enjoy a variety of desserts and samplings of cordials certain to please any sweet tooth and top off the experience with VIP viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth evening entertainment extravaganza. “Sweet Seats” is an exclusive upgraded “3D” experience that includes a private reserved table, early entry, a specialty beverage and an exclusive dessert offering. Special wine and culinary programs, including Party for the Senses grand tasting events, require reservations and separate event admission.