MySQL-Sandbox is a great tool for testing a new release, and in fact this is what I do when a new MySQL tarball becomes available. I don't think many people are aware of the full testing capabilities of the sandbox, though.
When you think about testing, you may just think of creating a sandbox with the new tarball, and then hammering it with your pet procedure. That works, of course, as the main purpose of MySQL-Sandbox is to allow you to do just that. There is, however, a full test suite that can tell you in a short while if your tarball is compatible with the past or not.