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We have used differential magneto-optical (MO) imaging to investigate the mixed state of superconducting Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+delta (BSCCO) microdisks fabricated on a single-crystal sample. MO difference images of the stray field distribution over a range of out-of-plane fields allow us to distinguish between flux that is penetrating the disks and that entering the underlying BSCCO platelet. We find that flux preferentially flows along linear defects into the interstitial platelet regions up to a characteristic field H-p, above which flux enters the disks. We identify this as the field of first penetration of pancake vortices over the Bean-Livingston barrier around the disks, where H-p(T) at intermediate temperatures is well described by an exponentially decaying function with a characteristic temperature T-0=19 K. At a given temperature, a minority of the disks exhibit a lower penetration field and we correlate the location of these disks with the linear defects in the BSCCO crystal.