did you ever figure out what your problem was. I am having two of the exact same problems. I have a 2000 Dodge Ram Van 1500 5.9L V8 automatic transmission. I got a transmisison service a couple months ago, and since then I can't shift into park. I got underneath and took the linkage cable off and the shift lever just won't go into Park, it feels like it only has 5 gears.
And I am also noticing the issue of having to take my foot off the pedal to shift from 1st to 2nd.
I'm stumped, let me know if you ever found what your problem was.