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I had the same problem in my 96 4runner. There's a little switch component in the automatic transmission shifter mechanism, that has a sort-of keyed slot locking mechanism. When the internal bushings get worn, and/or the shifter gets pushed a little towards the driver side, that little keyed slot mechanism gets hung up. Next time it happens, try pushing your shifter lever out towards the passenger side after as you put in park. Maybe wiggle it a little and hold it there as you try to pull the key out. Happened intermittently to me.... replaced bushings... went away for awhile... came back... bent the bracket that holds the keyed mechanism thing towards the shifter shaft.... haven't had a problem in over a year. Sorry, I never figured out what the proper name for some of the parts was. You can look up multiple articles on replacing the bushings. Fairly easy job.

If you scroll down about halfway through the photos in the bushing replacement instructions from the link above, you can see a white plastic piece, with a sort of keyed portion... then on the metal bracket next to it, there is a pin that grooves into the plastic part. That is the mechanism that when you put it in park, clicks and sends the electrical signal to your ignition and releases the key. If you clamp a big crescent wrench onto that metal bracket vertically, you can bend it slightly towards the plastic so the pin reaches all the way into the proper slot. Also grease it with some poly grease, which you should do with the bushings too.
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