This is what I have found using Premiere Elements 12 and 11....
No to your first question. The Transition Display Palette closes immediately after you drag the transition to the Timeline.
No to your second question. But, you can drag your transition to the Timeline, hold the click without placing the transition, the Transitions Display Palette disappears and you have a clear shot at placing the transition between your clips.
One of the perks that I did find was that you can expand the Transitions Display Palette (drag up) so that you can get a better view rather than having to scroll through often.
Please let us know if the above targeted your questions.
Yes thanks! I guess the also did away with the favorites section in effects?
Sorry about that but I have not found favorite transitions an option in Premiere Elements 12.
To be noted...I have not seen that favorite transition option after Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1.
You can still save an Effects Preset as before. Have you seen that?
Please let me know if you are OK with the information.
Thanks, yes I do "my presets". Not having favorites or being able to pin seems to be a miss, but It will have to work!!