Absorbent articles such as disposable diapers, incontinent briefs, diaper holders, training pants, feminine hygiene garments, and the like, having extensible side panel features that improve the dynamic fit of the diaper around the legs and waist of the wearer. Such absorbent articles include a containment assembly including a liquid pervious topsheet; a liquid impervious backsheet; an absorbent core disposed between the topsheet and the backsheet; and extensible side panels, each including a waist panel and a thigh panel disposed along each longitudinal edge of the containment assembly in the first waist region. The waist panel and the thigh panel are operatively associated so that the waist panel has a primary direction of extensibility in one direction and the thigh panel has a primary direction of extensibility in a different direction. This forms a multi-directional extensible side panel wherein the waist panel provides tension around the wearer's waist to maintain fit about the waist and to hold the diaper on the wearer, and the thigh panel expands and contracts to maintain a dynamic fit around the leg of the wearer. Thus, the waist and thigh panels reduce the negative effects of the dynamic forces on the absorbent article, such as sagging and gapping that can cause leakage, while increasing freedom of motion and wearer comfort.