For the first time in four years, there will be no Disneynature film to see over Earth Day weekend.  

The nature documentary arm of the Walt Disney Company has had great success since 2009 with a slate of films that includes "Earth," "Oceans," "African Cats" and "Chimpanzee." Beyond the stunning visuals and heartwarming stories, each film also acted as a fundraiser, with a portion of tickets sales during Earth Day weekend (and sometimes beyond) benefiting charities connected to the projects. For instance, as a result of ticket sales over two weeks at theaters for "Chimpanzee," Disneynature was able to raise enough money to protect more than 100,000 acres of threatened chimp habitat

Thankfully, it appears that this year's absence is simply the result of a production gap. The studio recently announced filming on a documentary chronicling the lives of North American brown bears (also known as grizzly bears) for spring 2014. 

“Our commitment to the production of Disneynature films is to capture nature on its own terms and its own schedule. These films are never rushed so that we can tell never-before-seen stories in our natural world that both astound and charm audiences,” said Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios. “Disneynature’s next adventure, 'Bears,' promises to continue this storytelling tradition by introducing audiences to a phenomenal variety of wildlife and offering rare glimpses into the day-to-day lives of these incredible animals.”

Directed by Keith Scholey ("African Cats") and Alastair Fothergill ("Earth," "African Cats" and "Chimpanzee"), the new film will be set against the backdrop of Alaska’s Katmai National Park,  providing "the most spectacular visuals ever," according to the studio. 

Look for "Bears" to arrive Earth Day weekend 2014.  

Related on MNN: Alaskan bears enjoy the salmon run [Photo essay]

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Disneynature to return in 2014 with 'Bears'
New feature-length documentary will capture the lives of brown bears in Alaska, revealing a softer side to the animal better known for its 'grizzly' reputation.